Time for another Track Of The Week. This time around, we’re loving ‘Arty Devotee’, the debut release from George Clement, BA2 Songwriting student at BIMM Bristol.
What was your inspiration when you began writing the track?
I’m a bit of a gloomy person, always verging on giving up with everything, packing up and going home. The doubt that comes along with trying to make my way in music is a heavy weight that I’m unable to lift at times. Regardless of the reason, I can’t bring myself to give up. I’m devoted to my art.
Are there any artists that inspire you when writing?
I think everyone is a collage of the things they love most. So when writing, I like to stick little pieces of the things I love together! I’m a huge fangirl of Twenty One Pilots, an influence that’s rubbed off quite clearly from the thought-based lyric writing to the rapid fire second verse of this track.
MARINA (formerly Marina and the Diamonds) is another huge influence. Her punchy and playful piano playing and production style is something I adore, thus I add it to the collage!
While those are the main two, I “artistically lift” things from a lot of my favourite artists. Joe Talbot (Idles) is a bit of a role model for me and his gravelly vocal and scarily positive demeanour is something that I find myself straying in and out of all the time!
What is key to your sound and how do you make your music stand out?
What a difficult question! I suppose if there’s a key of sorts it would have to be the piano that drives my songs.
I write mainly on keys and I follow the mantra of ‘a song is good if it sounds good acoustically’. So the writing is important. Lyrics really matter to me, and the driving, thumping piano chords that permeate each song I play.
However, I’m obviously only one piece of the puzzle. The guys that I’m lucky enough to have backing me up are just as important to my sound. The wonderful, melodic guitar of David Raymond marinated in various effects pedals, the playful bass of Freddie Palmer and both of their backing vocals combine to support my anxiety-ridden voice.
Cyril Kerouedan’s rhythmic drumming supports the piano in a similar way to how my voice is supported by Dave and Freddie! The guys are super important to me and the sound.
I think it’s almost impossible to stand out due to the sheer amount of talent that is out there. Meg White once said “The more you talk, the less people listen.” which is a statement I follow religiously (just ignore the irony of me talking quite a lot about myself within this article!).
I try to avoid standing out. Instead I focus on making something I am happy with and proud of until I can make something better.
How does your songwriting process work?
- Latch on to a concept that would be interesting to write about.
- Forget about said concept.
- Noodle about on piano while avoiding doing actual work.
- Remember said concept.
- Run downstairs and make tea!
- Perch laptop on piano to write lyrics.
- Use whatever I came up with while noodling.
- Shelve idea for a few weeks.
- Come back to idea and finish.
- Re-write a few times.
- “This is a masterpiece, such an emotional piece of music has never been created, I am a genius.”
- “Oh dear that’s quite bad.”
- “Yes, okay, good! I like this! This is good!”
- Declare piece finished before I hate it again.
Describe your sound in 3 words…
Vivid, awkward oxymorons.
How has studying at BIMM helped you develop as an artist?
I came to BIMM with pretty much nothing but a huge fear of performing. Through forcing myself and the support I’ve been given, I’ve been able to actually get up on stage and play music to people.
I never knew how to get gigs or play in a band but now all of this is second nature – it’s stuff I do for fun!
I’ve met some really great people too, tutors and staff have always been super bubbly and I appreciate the fact that they deal with me on the daily. Same with the friends I’ve made.
Releasing music was a goal I wanted to achieve by the time I left BIMM, but everything’s sort of been put on a fast track. Without the guys I’ve mentioned, plus Gabriel Templar and Alex Smith who also contributed to the song and especially Katrine Lunding who lovingly stitched the piece together through production wizardry, I wouldn’t have been able to complete this genuine goal of mine.
I feel like I’ve already come quite far and I’ve only just started.
What’s next for you?
I’m not stomping worlds but I am making little strides, so to keep going at that pace would be good!
I suppose an actual answer would be to keep gigging as a band and releasing more stuff as time trickles on. While these are all things I’m working towards, I’m going to let them come naturally rather than force them.
I want to keep meeting people, making friends and just having fun. Fun is important. It’s why we do what we do, right?
Hopefully I’ll learn to love myself a little bit more too. I’ve learned recently that’s it’s easier to love everything around you when you actually like yourself.