Daily Discovery is a feature that will highlight a new or recently discovered artist that we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.
If you’ve ever spent hours scrolling through Soundcloud, you’ll probably be able to relate to that beleaguered moment when you decide that the next song is the last song for the day, and from nowhere, that song ends up becoming an instant favorite. About a year ago, this happened to me when I listened to a remix of a Die Antwoord track by someone called Claremont. And expecting the weirdest, as one might from a Die Antwoord remix, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a sleek, almost suave hip-hop club remix instead.
Last week, his debut EP surfaced and I’m confident to say that you’ll be the one pleasantly surprised this time, assuming you haven’t yet heard of him. Titled …As the Sun at the Evening Hour, the free release via Italian label Midnight Side sees Claremont (Manchester-based musician James Green) expanding and defining his sound, even as he is someone relatively new to the scene.
You can listen to the EP below, but for today’s Daily Discovery we’re helping you get to know Claremont a bit better with an interview and exclusive mix. You’re only going to be hearing more about Claremont in the coming years so read on, and enjoy the genre-spanning mix he put together, which is more than just another perfunctory DJ performance, but an introduction to his palette as a producer.
For those who don’t know you, please share a few words about yourself.
Hey! I’m James, a 21 year old musician/producer based in Manchester. I like to listen to lots of records, go to and play lots of gigs, read books and watch cartoons.
What do you remember as being your first exposure to music? And can you play any instruments?
First exposure to music would be a tricky one, but when I was younger my bedroom was above my dining room in our old house, which was where my parents’ record player was situated. My dad was really into punk, so he used to blare Clash/Buzzcocks/Ruts records until 11 at night until my mum harangued him into stopping. It seems to have served me well as an early musical education!
Really, I’m a musician by trade. I’ve played the piano since I was around six, picked up the drums aged 13 (which I went to university to study), and have kind of dabbled with guitars and other percussion stuff since then (I currently play bass in an indie band called Spring King, which has been wiiiillddd. We even popped over to NYC for CMJ’s last year!). I only picked up production in my late teens through a load of exceptionally talented friends who I used to hang around and jam with (and still do!), and whose music is still world beating.
So what was the first thing you worked on as Claremont?
The first thing I remember working on majorly under the name Claremont was a tune called “Seduction” (still lingering at the bottom of my Soundcloud page). It’s an 808 driven, dreamy kinda jam. I’m still pretty proud of it, at the time I was really into a lot of kinda left-field club and trap producers, so I tried to emulate that. Hopefully it came across…
As for your latest release—an EP via Italian label Midnight Side—it’s your official debut, right? How long did it take to record, and what’s your normal recording process?
Yeah! It’s my first release proper, having just put out a handful of individual tracks before this. The EP’s kind of a collection of new and old material, some tunes I’ve had the bare bones of for a while (probably a few months), and others that came about only a couple of weeks before I put the record out.
The process I go through when recording can vary quite a lot (especially in terms of the time between the initial idea and the finished product, as it does for all artists), though it’ll usually come about through taking to a particular sample or rhythm. Until this EP I’ve not used many samples, preferring to program my own synths and drums, but here there were a few that really stuck with me, which sparked at least two of the tunes.
Normally, I’ll start with a drum groove [usually something 808 or 909 derived], before adding samples/synths and (though rarely) vocals, and developing a fleshed out version of the track. Then I’ll work backwards to develop intro’s, fx, etc…
Which of the tracks on the EP would you say you have the strongest attachment to, and why?
My personal favourite on the release is most likely “Dindi.” I adore classic jazz standards such as “My Ship” and “Misty,” with incredibly moving chord progressions, and such soft, lilting melodies that really tug at the heart strings. The sample for “Dindi” is taken from a Frank Sinatra song of the same name (written by the great Antonio Carlos Jobim), and is an absolute gem. The strings alone are so moving, and the lyrics (written about some long, lost love), could nearly bring you to tears, before you take into consideration Frank’s classic delivery.
Me and my dad spent one night over Christmas watching documentaries and classic songs of his (along with others such as Nat King Cole and, bizarrely, the Slits…) until maybe 4 or 5 am. There’s no other voice, or character, quite like his.
Thanks for putting a mix together for us by the way! Walk me through the track listing…
I’ve tried to put together a mix that covers a whole bunch of different influences of mine, so it’s pretty varied, starting with a sample taken from a Sun Ra lecture given at UC Berkeley in 1971 (and ending with a tune by the very same, called “Song No. 1”, a beautiful bossa nova/jazz jam that’ll tug on the heart strings). This mix runs through some of my favourite artists/labels/releases of last year and previous. The first three tracks come from separate tapes released on Canadian label 1080p, and rapper Jeremih’s Late Nights with Jeremih mixtape released in 2012. It’s also a chance for me to showcase some new material, instrumentals which will be fleshed out in the coming year, alongside a favourite of mine, an old Caribou track called “Pauls Birthday”, showing off his more experimental side (I was obsessed with the album Start Breaking My Heart, from which this is taken, for practically two years when studying).
Bristol-based Oliver Wilde brings the vibe down for a moment of acoustic reflection, before Daisuke Tenabe’s “Alice.” I often DJ at around 140bpm, so it only seemed fitting to dedicate a section to some of my favorite tunes in and around that speed, from Yves’ “Finite”, through Hot Sugar’s “Erica” (an incredible producer, I can’t give him enough credit for his methods, and the beauty of his tracks… “Addiction” also deserved a spot on here), to my man Allsglass’ storming “Watermark.”
Finally, my remix of Alice Boman’s “What” rounds off a fairly trap/club inspired few moments, before ending the mix with a host of little-known musicians I’ve become infatuated with over the last year, with Ricky Eat Acid’s “p u l l,” a Beach Nurse (a side project of Manchester based artist Kiran Leonard, an incredible talent in all realms of songwriting and psychedelic music) jam called “St Elias”, and Knxwldge’s “Unkanny” leading into the aforementioned lesson in jazz.
Which musicians and/or producers would you say you’ve drawn the most inspiration from over time?
I’ve taken a lot from the likes of Joy Division and The Cure (as well as heavier bands such as Fugazi and Black Flag), but in terms of production, most of my inspiration is drawn from hip-hop groups such as A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets. Their instrumentals are largely what drew me to hip-hop, and it’s been a massive influence on my musical development, taking classic jazz grooves and breaks, to create something so utterly musical and intelligent, in a landscape that’s often so bereft of emotion.
The only other musician who completely grabbed me was Miles Davis. Though only in part, “Bitches Brew’ was the first jazz record I heard with a straight groove, laced with rhodes pianos and a great, pulsing groove, it almost reminds me of krautrock groups like Neu and Can. Alongside that, his version of “My Ship” is still one of the few songs to ever grab me so intensely, it’s one of the most beautiful arrangements of any standard I’ve ever heard.
If you could live during another era, where would you be?
Definitely the late 1970s in the UK. Punk’s such a massive cultural phenomenon that hit us musically in that era, and has massively influenced so many of the bands that I know and love. It paved the way for so much incredible guitar music, and instilled a DIY ethos that’s so evident everywhere you turn in modern music, it’s tough to think of another, similarly sized movement in the last 50 years that has had such a big impact on the musical landscape, and on society as a whole.
Also, as a humungous Joy Division fan (Unknown Pleasures almost always topping my list when favorite albums are banjo’d around), it would have been a dream to see them in their prime, before the death of Ian Curtis. His story in particular has been a source of great curiosity for me, but their music is unparalleled, a great blend of raw energy and beautiful, brooding lyricism, incredibly honest and powerful. To have seen them live would be the ultimate for me personally.
Download Claremont’s …As the Sun at the Evening Hour EP via Soundcloud here.
ATM – Colour Block
Beat Detectives – Oh That Felix
Jeremih – All Over Me (ft. Sir Michael Rocks)
Claremont – ???
Manitoba – Paul’s Birthday
Claremont – Steppin’ (Demo)
Oliver Wilde – Balance Out
Daisuke Tanabe – Alice
Yves – Finite
Hot Sugar – Erica (ft. The GTW)
Allsglass – Watermark
Alice Boman – What (Claremont Bootleg)
Ricky Eat Acid – Pull
Beach Nurse – St. Elias
Knxwldge – Unkanny
Sun Ra – Song No. 1