Alex Clare isn’t in a rush to get on stage to promote his album The Lateness of the Hour – he’s taking his time, building a band piece by piece. After spending a whirlwind year creating it, he wants to be sure everything is perfect before his live sound reaches the masses.
For Clare, music has always been something to respect. Born and raised in Southeast London, Clare began his training on trumpet, moving on to drums as a better channel for all his nervous energy. His older siblings spent time listening to Oasis and Alanis Morisette, but Clare wanted more from music. He turned to jazz and blues and soul which undoubtedly have influenced his current sound.
Clare started training as a chef while playing and teaching himself piano and guitar, but he couldn’t resist bringing his original material to open mic nights around London. Eventually, songwriting took over as his main source of income, and Clare honed his craft while he lived on a boat traveling from Essex down the Thames, ending up in Brighton. As he delved deeper into songwriting, Clare says, “ I started putting whatever had happened to me – the women and the mistakes – into the songs.”
Some demos made it to Island Records, and two weeks later a came a deal. Clare headed to New Orleans to cut some tracks like “Up All Night” and “Tight Rope” with the likes of Switch and Diplo (who’ve worked with Major Lazer and M.I.A.) for The Lateness of the Hour.
More traveling resulted in more songs, which resulted in an album that combines his beloved soul and jazz with the trendier synth of funk and dubstep, and a little punk rock thrown in for good measure. Clare’s latest from the album, “Too Close”, has a thrumming bassline and anthem chords that are sure to project it into the chart-topping stratosphere.
Though his slow-going assembly of a tour band may seem a little obsessive, he believes in allowing music the space and time it needs to become what it’s meant to be.
Says Clare, “All you need in a song is the bass, the kick and the snare. The rest is just commentary….There are so many sounds you can put on a song….It’s all about quality, not quantity.”