Jason Clarke might not be a name too familiar with local music fans, but the hotly tipped Belfast singer has supported a list of artists that would turn many a musician green with envy. Undeniably at the pop end of the musical spectrum, we were impressed with what we heard from his new EP “Undercover”. As he is set to officially launch the release this week, we sat down with Jason to find out a little bit more about him.
► Many people say that as a musician, your second release it much harder due to expectations from fans and critics, were you feeling more nervous or excited about releasing “Undercover”?
Jason: Far more excited. I’m still learning all the time with regards songwriting, so for me I am so much happier with the ‘Undercover’ EP than the ‘Sparks’ EP because I feel the songs are stronger, and myself and the band know exactly where we want to go with it musically now.
► How do you think working with songwriters the calibre of Iain Archer (formerly of Snow Patrol), Beth Nielsen Chapman and JD Souther have influenced your new EP?
I think it was a great experience and valuable lessons were learnt. Iain wrote ‘Run’ which is a timeless epic! It was great to try out co-writing, and is something I will definitely be keen do again in the future.
► Have you got anything special planned for your launch show at the Stiff Kitten (6th July)? Are we likely to see any special guests?
In a word… Yes. I hope to have some fantastic opening acts which will be confirmed on my Facebook music page in the coming days. I have also written a duet which I hope will be a little bit special too.
►There is a growing trend of solo projects in Ireland such as Jape, Rams’ Pocket Radio and Best Boy Grip. Were you ever tempted go under a moniker or try it as a band?
Well I do have my own band. The days of one man and his acoustic are over for me. I have a 5 piece comprising of keys, bass, electric guitar, drums, and acoustic guitar. There was talk of calling it ‘Jason Clarke Band’, but then that would be shortened to JCB no doubt, but I dig enough holes for myself as it is.
► Do you have a particular highlight from touring with many big name acts such as Paolo Nutini and Shayne Ward, amongst others?
Some worthy advice was taken on board of course, but most of all the craic has been mighty, and the experience of touring with amazing artists such as Paolo, etc, is priceless.
► There is a real abundance of music festivals taking place in Northern Ireland this year, is there one in particular you would be keen to attend or play at?
Over the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to play the main ones and they have been great. People here love music.. I wouldn’t turn down the chance to play the likes of Belsonic or Tennents Vital this summer though!
► Musical collaborations are always popular amongst music fans, as an artist who would you love to write a song with?
Would be cool to write a song with a female artist like Katy Perry with the aim of coming up with the perfect unisex song. If anyone’s got her number, fire it over! Other than that I like the idea of working with a rapper like Ed Sheeran did in ‘Hush Little Baby’ with Wretch 32.
► There are a lot of new bands and artists starting up in N. Ireland recently, is there any advice you would give them during their early days to get their music out there and known to the public?
I’m still taking all the advice I can get, but if I could share some, it would be to have patience as the industry is exceptionally difficult. Also to keep on writing and sharing songs as they will be touching someone out there.
► How have you found the reaction to giving away your latest EP? Is this something you would do again in the future?
The reaction thankfully has been super. I’m not sure about giving something away completely free again, but maybe yeah. I spent a lot of money on the ‘Undercover’ EP, but instead of having the mind-set of trying to recoup the cash back, I figured it best that everyone gets to hear it for free, and can share it with their friends.
► And finally, what does the future hold for Jason Clarke? Can we expect to see an album this year?
The album is in the pocket, but I still want to write a lot more songs just to be truly content and have a good selection to choose from – Maybe early 2013 for the Album. I will be doing a UK tour at the end of this year, maybe some Germany, and there is talk of going to the US to run a campaign. World domination pretty much (I wish!)
Twitter ►@jasonclarkemus Facebook ►/JasonClarkeMusic