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Anne Clark - More than ever before, I live for the moment. Don’t count the days, make the days count

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Anne Clark - More than ever before, I live for the moment. Don’t count the days, make the days count

Anne Clark needs no introduction. For more than 40 years she has been making her mark in the world of music. In parallel with full Covid lockdown in 2020, she was also diagnosed with cancer. A celebratory “40 year anniversary tour” had to be cancelled along with all other music plans. Life became a battle, fighting the disease. Right now Anne is in a good place and is slowly returning to writing new songs with her band members, Jeff Aug and Justin Ciuche. Also the idea came up to put out classic songs from Anne’s career in new interpretations, the result being "Synaesthesia - Anne Clark Classics Re-Worked", which will be released on 28 May. Reason enough to have a nice conversation about it. We also talked about David Bowie, her time in Lokeren during the Lokerse Feesten, her connection with Belgium,  a newly developed taste for (Belgian!) beer, her opinion on social media and further plans for the future.

Anne, thanks for this nice interview, after all these years it might be a bit much to ask :) but what were the highs and lows for you personally?
That is very difficult to answer. For more than over 40 years working with music, there have been so many… One changes so much in all this time. You meet so many people and one goes through so many areas of music. There are so many individual experiences that it is impossible to exactly point out the highs and the lows. It’s a constant process of living and working. Good experiences, bad experiences. I tend not to rate them, just either enjoy or learn from them.

I‘m very also very concerned about your health and battle with cancer. How are you doing today?
At the moment I’m feeling very well. Last year was an incredibly hard experience. However, what the doctors and nurses did for me was absolutely amazing. Because I had my diagnosis at the very beginning of this pandemic, it was a difficult time for me, but also for the people who took care of me. The hospital was completely closed down. There was no possibility to receive visitors and the hospital was totally overwhelmed with Covid patients. I don’t know how the staff managed but they did. I can’t begin to tell you what heroes of mine they all are! About my health now? There is always a risk that it will come back of course. But at the moment I’m very positive about the way it goes.

We are a bit generational :) the digitalization, the more and more importance of social media are for me the big changes of these times, what is for you the biggest change in your long career of around 40 years?

I have to agree. The technology of course is one of, if not THE biggest changes over the past 40 years. When I started with music it was more analogue and acoustic. Then everything became digital and I found that transition less enjoyable. Music meant staring at computer screens and looking at modules. I loved the more tactile nature of making music. However, over the years, I have of course adapted and now feel comfortable combining both.
About social media, it is a tool and it is entirely up to us how we use it. We can use it for good or bad things. Humans tend to seem to always like to show their bad sides. I am fully aware of  how social media can be used in a bad way but I want to use it for creativity and the contact it can bring people. For example, something like Spotify enables me to discover musicians and artists I would never have been able to know about previously. Whole new worlds of music! Something like Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Skype enable people to “see” loved ones. This terrible last year has been a good example. Can you imagine what lockdown would have been like without people being able to contact their friends and families through these mediums? Unbearable.

But in the past you had more time to grow, it’s going very fast, maybe too fast?
In a way yes, but it is still up to us. We can skip through apps and programs every 5 seconds if we want to, or we can takes hours, days discovering new things. It’s our choice.

In an interview, when asked 'What are your main inspirations?', I read the answer: 'Everything is an inspiration! As a writer/musician I think you have to be open to every kind of inspiration.' Surely there are certain artists or musicians who have made you what you are today?
Life is just full of many different kinds of experience. When people tell me they only listen to dance music, or metal or this or that,  I feel it’s a shame because they never feel the experience of other things. Life is made of different emotions and reactions or stimulations. The same with influences. My influences also have been wide and varied. Different things appealing to different parts of me. From The Beatles to The Rolling Stones as a kid but also people like Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Tim Buckley, Simon & Garfunkel as I was growing up. I also loved classical music like Mozart, Chopin or Bach. Then the power of punk and post-punk. There are so many inspirations. Because life is about different experiences and  things.

For me, when I look at my personal inspirations, it goes back to one person really: David Bowie
Yes, David Bowie was so important for music and for culture in general in the 20th century. His influence is so huge and so inspirational for many people on many levels.

He is also the only idol I really cried about, it was like losing my father
I heard someone say about him that he was an artist who “allowed you to be whoever you were or wanted to be. He gave you that permission.” I think that is definitely true - especially in the 1970s.

In that same interview I also read 'I never had a great "singing" voice so it seemed a perfectly logical step to set poems to music.' I’ve always seen you as a poet too, a storyteller with a beautiful voice anyway. Can you elaborate a bit on that statement?
Thank you very much, I take that very much as a compliment. Because words are so essential for us. Our language is pretty much all we have. All we have to communicate with each other. We are all story tellers. When language doesn’t work, there is always music. On the other side of the coin, when language fails, unfortunately we have violence.

I found some questions in interviews and I found these interesting: ''You have a unique and emotional way of speaking your lyrics in your songs. How did you come up with this idea and way of expression in the first instance ?'' Can you elaborate on them?
I have always known my limitations as a singer (haha)! As I just said, I am more of a story teller, or I create settings for stories, experiences, emotions. I have always loved great orators. Just listen to great speakers like Martin Luther King, to give an example, so inspirational. As well as overloading us with information, words should give solace, strength and unity.

I wanted to ask about ‘given opinions’, in the past you were sometimes angry about things happening around you. Are you still angry?
In the past year I have certainly reassessed my relationship with the world. There is a big difference between feeling anger and being passionate about things. I have really learnt what is and what isn’t important. All these politicians and tyrants and advertisers stirring up our feelings of inadequacy! Making us feel so small and irrelevant! The situation in the world is so difficult for so many people. I can never change that. I accept that. I have to accept that. But amid it all there are millions of good people, giving everything they have for others. We have all seen that with the Covid pandemic. I have experienced human kindness, selflessness and compassion on such a vast scale in the last 12 months, I never thought possible. It is (way beyond!) time we focused on these people, these qualities, instead of all the bullshit and time-wasters. I still feel a lot frustrations but I try to react in different way. Channel it in a different way.

Another thing I’m kind of angry about: Women are still too much undervalued and underestimated in this business. It is still a man's world even after all these years?
Well, yes. It’s still a man’s world. That’s for sure. The music business … business…. buiness …any business. I have to say though, it is so refreshing to have leaders in the world such as Jacinda Arden in New Zealand and Sanna Marin in Finland. Maybe we can perform some gender reassignment surgery on Boris Johnson (haha!).

The reason for this interview is "Synaesthesia - Anne Clark Classics Re-Worked" (FDA / Anne Clark), which will be released on 28 May. Why an adaptation of songs and not a new album with new songs?
I would like to release new material and as I said earlier, I have begun writing with my band again but with my cancer diagnoses and the Corona virus last year, everything stopped. No touring. No travelling. So, I was looking for a way that I could still reach my audience and offer them something. Many people contact me about making remixes and I thought OK, let’s try something. Synaesthesia is the result.

I listened to the album, there are some very interesting arrangements that add something extra, it scared me a bit :) but the songs are reinvented because of that. Your opinion about this statement please?
Exactly! I wanted something a bit different from the usual remixes and gave all the musicians total freedom to work on the songs as they wished. I love the very radical arrangements of some of them. A bit like translating language, hopefully they keep the core of the material but also come up with something new too. Something that offers a whole new experience and interpretation.

I was a bit sceptical about it, but you've made sure that the songs still sound like they did in my youth, but you add something new that reinvents them, that's what wins me over the most
I was very definite about who and what kind of artists and musicians I wanted involved. People with their very own clear identity and who are also doing what I regard as exciting and innovative work in 2021. For example, I am a big fan of Yagya and Deadbeat, two of the musicians who worked on the album.

Are there new songs coming soon? In other words, can we expect more?
I hope so, like I said. In the last couple months I have begun writing new songs, I sure will bring them out as soon as I can!

I have seen you live three times, including twice in my hometown Lokeren, what was that experience like (I think 2004 and 2007) and also do you remember ‘Lokerse Paardenworst’?
I had a beautiful time in Lokeren. The people are so crazy (haha).  All that Belgian beer and things… The Stella and the Jupiler. It was a great time being there. I am definitely NOT a fan of Paardenworst! Sorry, that’s not for me. However, I have to say that Belgian beer is the best beer in the world!

You also have a special connection with Belgium, can you tell us something more about that?
Yes, I have had a strong link to Belgium whole my life. Since I was a child. My parents had friends in Charleroi, who I have always regarded as family. One of my oldest friends is from Sint-Niklaas. My partner is from Nieuwkerken-Waas. My first ever concerts outside of the UK were in Gent. It’s a very special country for me. Such a tiny country yet with such a big cultural life and appreciation. The music scene is so wonderful in Belgium.

I still think, despite that, that many Belgian bands, if they were English or American, would be world famous. It is difficult for a Belgian band to really break through
Yes, it seems that the USA and UK have had the most influence when it comes to pop and rock but I think that has changed a lot with club and electronic music for example. So many of the big names in those styles come from mainland Europe. The same with jazz and classical. I think the Anglo-saxon influence is definitely waning in so many areas, not just music.

My Favorite Belgium band is The Kids. Are you into Punk?
Am I into Punk? You bet I am - or rather - I was in my youth! I was at the Centre of it as a teenager growing up in London and working in a record store. Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Damned, Generation X were all in the neighborhood.
My favorite Belgian band is Motek. I love what they did. They split up unfortunately.

Now we talk about ‘live concerts’. Will there also be live performances, or is that not the intention?
I don’t know. I hope so of course. We had a huge tour planned last year, but it didn’t happen. Apart from the Covid restrictions everything depends on my health. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to do major tours again but I certainly hope to play “live” again in some way.

In these times you see a lot of streaming, are you interested in doing that too?
I am. I think it offers a wonderful solution for both musicians and audiences. Unfortunately, all of my musicians are in Germany and to travel just isn’t an option right now, so we can’t work together as I would like to.

What is your opinion about the phenomenon?
It is an essential phenomenon that fits with these times we are living through.

These are very difficult times for a musician, but also for every person. How did you experience these times?
Extremely difficultly. Aside from the Covid lockdown I was in isolation anyway because of my illness. I hope this pandemic will teach us new ways of living and respecting each other and the natural world, but I don’t believe it will unfortunately … There have been huge human catastrophes in the past that we could have learnt so much from. We could have ‘reset’ the human program so many times. The first and second world wars for example. We never learn and we will just continue from one disaster to the next. However, I have learnt the true value of every tiny detail of living during this time. The beauty and the fragility. I have learnt who the true heroes are - the nurses, the doctors, all those precious people who have taken care of us during this time.

Something else, I know it’s difficult to make plans but what are the plans for the future? After all these years, are there still goals, ambitions, things you definitely want to do?
Honestly, I nearly died last year, and for me every day is a gift. More than ever, I am really living in the moment. I’m not making long term plans, I live now. One of the things that I was told in hospital by the amazing staff was: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” This is my philosophy now.

Meer info over het nieuwe album: Anne Clark - Synaesthesia "Classics Re-Worked"
https://www.anneclarkofficial.com/2021/03/31/synaesthesia-anne-clark-classics-re-worked/


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Aanvullende informatie

  • Band Name: Anne Clark
  • Date: 2021-04-01 22:00:00
  • Rating: 8
Gelezen: 476 keer
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