THE JAMES CLARK INSTITUTE – Yesterday’s Misadventures

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The James Clark Institute’s new full-length recording, ‘Yesterday’s Misadventures’ (official release date: October 24, 2016) was produced by iconic Canadian musician/producer Moe Berg (The Pursuit Of Happiness).

Clark talks about bed tracks, a Tornado Bubble Machine, Moe Berg, the explosion of social media and frozen facial expressions.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

This was the first James Clark Institute album to have the bed tracks recorded live off the floor with the live band (with the exception of me on drums). That was great fun indeed! Most of my acoustic guitar parts were played on a 1954 Gibson J-45…More fun! Also, the photo session for the album sleeve was super-duper fantastic, working with a Tornado Bubble Machine! Can it possibly get any more fun?

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

The band had been playing the majority of the songs live for a year or more before the recording began so I was really confident that we had a strong collection of songs. When Moe Berg signed on as producer, I knew that the record would be magical. He had some brilliant arrangement ideas. Everyone played and sang their hearts out on this album. I feel blessed to have worked with such talented people.

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The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

The explosion of social media has certainly helped with having my songs heard by a much larger audience than ever before. “Yesterday’s Misadventures” is my fourth independent release. The growth of the platform between my last release and this new one has been gigantic. But with all of the positivity and opportunities that the new industry offers, I have to say that I truly miss the mystery of the music artist during the days before the internet. Back when you had to wait until the new issue of “Creem” magazine arrived to read about your favourite pop stars.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman

George Harrison – What Is Life

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

The Zombies – Care Of Cell 44

Bonus Track! Harry Nilsson – You’re Breaking My Heart

 

How will 2017 look like?

 

The year began with the release of the third music video from “Yesterday’s Misadventures”. “Charlie Schulz Was Always In Love” was shot mostly outside on the coldest day in January, as you may be able to tell from some of the band’s frozen facial expressions.

Since then it’s been a steady stream of both solo and full band live shows around Toronto. Due to a family member’s health crisis, the tour isn’t going to happen this year. Hopefully next year! I’m currently in song writing mode and conjuring up the next album. Meanwhile, a fourth music video from “Yesterday’s Misadventures” is being discussed.

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THE TRAVOLTAS – Until We Hit the Shore

The Travoltas are BACK. Until We Hit the Shore will be the Pop Punk/Power Pop soundtrack to the summer of 2017. Sweet Sweet Music talked to Perry Leenhouts about the new record and how it came together.

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The music industry has changed a lot the last 10 years. What did it bring you? Now and then.

10, 15 years ago, once you hit a certain level you were really depending on the record labels. Nowadays, you have much more control over your releases and how you can promote it. With all these social media platforms, it’s much easier to reach a large, international audience that previously you would have needed a record company for to get that kind of exposure. That said, 10 to 15 years ago, the labels would bring in the big budgets to record albums and shoot videos, and get you on MTV. That’s basically gone, unless you belong to that select group of top artists. For us, it evens out. We always had a DIY approach, even when we were signed to CNR/Roadrunner. We’d still produce our own records. Now we do that on a much smaller budget, but luckily we have technology on our side, and a good set of ears!

Until We Hit The Shore, it seems you didn’t lose your craftsmanship for writing catchy tunes? How did the songs came together?

I never stopped writing songs, and after the 2014 reunion shows, I focused more on tracks for a potential new album.This time around, collaborating was a bit harder because the guys are in Holland, and I live in the States. So I’d work on demo tracks and send them to the band. Once we hit the studio, we had a clear picture of what we wanted, and how it should sound. We communicated on a daily basis throughout the process, something we do anyway, since we’ve remained good friends over the years.

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At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

I think very early on, when we started sharing ideas and demos, we knew we were on the right path. Since we’ve spent many, many years together, we have a good understanding of what we all dig, and we trust each other’s judgement. When everyone in the band reacts very positively from the get-go, you know you’re on to something good.

You are getting great reviews! What about that?

You’re always a bit nervous, because we may like the songs, but will our fans, and people who are just discovering The Travoltas? So far so good, and it’s great to see so many people are happy we are back with a new record. That means a lot. Above all, we hope people will use the record as the soundtrack of this summer.

She will decide on a 5 song mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

Ramones: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run
The Ronettes: Be My Baby
Buddy Holly: Oh Boy
Elvis Presley: One Night With You
The Beach Boys: Don’t Worry Baby

How will 2017 look like?

We’ll be doing a few shows over the summer and fall, but most of our attention will be around the record. We may release another video as well. It’s hard for us to get together and go on tour, at this point in our lives and because of where we are located. But for the right show at the right time, we’ll team up and hit the stage. Like I said, I really hope people will associate this record with the summer of 2017, that’s the goal. Anything else is a big plus. In the meantime, I’ve started writing new tunes again, so I promise you won’t have to wait 13 years for the next album !