Photo by @DrewLevin
Cloves pulls no punches in ‘Better Now’, a new song that doubles up as the first song to be announced from her debut album to be released in 2017.
The track was written in February of this year over the course of a single day in London alongside her long-term writing collaborator Justin Parker (Banks, Bat For Lashes). Fresh from returning home to Melbourne she created the song which is about “feeling misunderstood and claustrophobic in a relationship.”
“I swear that Better Now is written almost sarcastically to move the conversation on” explains the singer-songwriter, continuing “I had given up trying to talk about how I was feeling and instead started distancing myself. The lyrics touch on the internal conflict I was having about weighing-up if a long term relationship was still working, the back and forth between obligation to someone and the desire to be alone.”
Previous listeners of Cloves’ debut EP ‘XIII’ will find familiarity in the honesty found in her lyrics that help her standout alongside her lofty, forever gripping vocals that are supported by a melody that mesmerises. This song with its introduction of rumbustious drums and soaring “woo’s” hint towards a whole new side of her music, which along with much of her upcoming debut album tracks yet to be revealed, draws upon her influences that include Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Mazzy Star and Nina Simone.
Jen had the chance to ask Cloves some questions about her new single.
Your single ‘Better Now’ is a song about “feeling misunderstood and claustrophobic in a relationship.” This is certainly relatable to many people including myself. Was this song from personal experience and if so was it therapeutic for you to write it?
“Better now” is definitely a very personal song. The whole album is very personal and written in the same headspace. I do find writing very therapeutic, it helps me make sense of my erratic mind.
I have listened to some of your older songs and I find a real honesty in your lyrics. Is there any song that you have written that you feel is not a true and honest story?
No, I think I always try to be as honest as possible.
You have been called ‘the female Bon Iver’ how do you feel about that comparison?
I could think of worse people to be called./
I think it’s a very humbling comparison. Though I do think the new music has moved away from that style slightly, it’s now a lot blunter musically and lyrically.
Better now was released a few days ago, how has the response been?
The response has been really good, I’m happy to be finally putting out new music!
You are heading to London in Feb, for a headline show, are there any other plans to do shows in the UK?
I think at the moment it’s just the one headline show in London but we will keep you posted!
How was the Corona Capital Festival in Mexico? What a line up!
It was fucking great. I absolutely LOVE Mexico!
From looking at your facebook it is clear to me that you love to tour! What is your favourite part of touring?
Playing for all kinds of people in all different places is something that I am very grateful for. I would also say adding new songs to the live set and experimenting is really exciting for me! You only really know you like a new song once you’ve played it live.
What is your least fav part of touring?
My least favourite part of touring would be I get really nervous before shows and put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well.
Your song ‘Don’t Forget About Me’ was used in the movie “Me Before You” Just wondering when something like this happens that clearly has helped your exposure to people all over the world, do you do a happy dance? Have a glass of champagne? Is there a way you celebrate things like this?
We went to the cinema to watch it with multiple drinks! I always say multiple drinks is a great way to celebrate. My mum went to see the film about 100 times lol
Will you have some time of over Christmas and New years to rest from your hard work in 2016?
I’m back home in Australia for Christmas and New years so I do get a little time to relax! Though to be honest I love to work and I’m already looking forward to getting back into it in the new year!
What is next for you, I know you have loads of tour dates, is there another song that you are getting ready to release?
Next for me is releasing another single and putting out a new music video!
With only one EP to her name to date, Cloves has enjoyed one of the best introductions to the world of music in 2016. In her live set-up, where she continues to win people over show-by-show, there has been spots at some of the biggest festivals on the planet including Coachella and Lollapalooza while also touring the States with current BRITs Male Solo Artist Of The Year winner, James Bay. This month North American fans can catch her playing live supporting Michael Kiwanuka. She has been hailed online with strong praise from the likes of Pigeons & Planes, i-D and Noisey with the latter labelling her “the female Bon Iver”. At the turn of the year Annie Mac selected her as one of her New Faces to look out for in 2016.
To top off a great year Cloves’ song “Don’t Forget About Me” was selected for a crucial spot in the film “Me Before You” starring Emilia Clarke which saw many new immediate fans pick her music up, mostly evident from strong numbers on Shazam, 40k record sales on iTunes and impressive early streaming numbers on Spotify (17m) and Vevo (5m).
All of this feels very much the beginning of a true artist’s career whose music does all the talking.