April 22, 2010
Tristan Clopet Interview
On the heels of the release of his EP, “Purple”, and his first trip to SxSW, we got to chat with Miami-based singer and guitarist, Tristan Clopet.
Read along for insight into his influences, touring, and what you can expect next from this soulful singer.
1. It seems like some cities have their own unique musical DNA. What’s unique about Miami and how has it shaped your sound and songwriting?
I’ve noticed since I moved to Miami that the writing is slightly faster, happier and has better lung capacity. 90% humidity is great for a hooky chorus.
2. Here comes what may be the biggest complement we’ve ever handed out. Has anyone ever told you that there’s something about your voice that brings Jeff Buckley to mind?
That is, in fact, a huge complement. Thank you. Jeff, in my estimation, is one of the three or four greatest rock singers to ever live. It’s daunting to be compared to him in any capacity but that perhaps may mean I’m doing at least something right.
3. Who are some of your other musical influences?
I’m influenced by everything and everyone I hear. I always say, it’s important to not only learn what to do, but what not to do. Specifically, at this moment I’m listening to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald, The Strokes and Bassnectar.
4. How did you first become interested in performing and writing music?
I’ve always loved performing and get excited at the idea of preparing something for someone and then the adrenaline of carrying it out. I’ve been playing music since five or six but I didn’t record my first real song until around 16. My mom kept telling me, “that’s great you can play ‘I Am the Walrus,’ but you should write your own stuff.” It took the inspiration for a birthday present to my then-girlfriend for me to finally heed her advice.
5. You seem to be pushing a fairly positive message. What kinds of things inspire you to write?
Yeah, I like to think I’m a pretty positive dude. That’s my sister’s influence probably. I hate negativity and pessimism. Plus it’s horrible to harbor as a creative person. But that’s personally. Professionally, the writing must be truthful. Negativity is absolutely welcome and can be found in a few of my songs. Simply because it’s realistic.
6. Duende got a lot of positive attention. Did you feel any pressure from that when you started working on the songs for Purple?
No because I write for myself and for people who listen to my music. The day I feel pressure is the day that I write for someone else because it’s no longer truthful. I’m not as well versed in other things as I am in my soul.
7. Early this year you ventured out of south Florida for a tour of the entire Atlantic coast. What was that experience like?
Touring is fantastic. I love waking up in a new city everyday. There’s something very clean about it. Shedding your old skin and starting anew. Gotta take care of yourself though, it’s definitely not easy.
8. You played the tour with a smaller version of your usual backing band. What kind of issues did you face in scaling back some of the bigger studio versions of the songs.
Yeah, this past tour we set off as a trio. Rich Chwastiak, also known as “the Wig,” Ale Elizondo and I performed a more intimate set in cozier locales. It was a great experience and it really got us out of our comfort level. It’s easy playing in a quartet or quintet because if you miss a string or flub a note, the mistake might go unnoticed but when you trim away the fat and you’re left bare boned, the stakes are way higher and that’s very exciting as a performer. I think that goes along with why big movie stars love to do theater. The energy is absolutely intoxicating.
9. What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
I’m writing a new full-length album right now. Maybe a late summer release? We’ll use our impending tour (starting in June or July) to really perfect the 15 or so new songs. Though early, the whole thing sounds very bright and alive. We’ve also got a few music videos from Purple coming soon and of course, the continuation of the Living Room Series.
10. Where can people go for more information about where to see you live?
The most accurate info is always on TristanClopet.com.
Thanks Tristan, we enjoyed getting to know you a bit! Mobilers, if you love Jeff Buckley (and really, who doesn’t) you definitely need to check Tristan Clopet out.
Posted by A. Sogal at 6:53 am