Interview with Collin Clowes
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Well, I believe it was a chain of small events. I have this dream-like image in my mind of seeing my grandpa playing a guitar. He passed away when I was young so whenever I thought of him, that image would come to mind & I think that's one of the main reasons why I wanted to learn guitar so badly as I grew older.
As I got better at guitar, I started obsessing over lyrics & poetry so naturally, I began writing songs that I kept to myself.
At 17, I became sick from an unknown illness that apparently has been with me since birth. This was a brutal time & it resulted in me getting a liver transplant at 20.
That whole experience made me want to finally share the songs I've been writing all my life so I threw myself into the local music scene & started playing live quite a bit.
It's hard to say where I'd be if I never got into making music. I'm very into woodworking & I always wanted to have my own space to make furniture & decorations, so I imagine I'd be going all in on that!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Playing different video games! I absolutely love getting lost in different worlds & exploring them. I think it comes from my obsession with travel. My family used to travel lots together & ever since the pandemic began, I never really travel anywhere too special.
I really love getting lost & exploring different places. When I first moved to Toronto, I'd spend a lot of nights walking around getting lost in the city while listening to music.
I think learning how others live, learning about different places, real or fiction, is a huge source of inspiration for me because It's so easy to get stuck inside our own bubble & get comfortable but in my opinion, learning from others is the best way to gain inspiration as well as different perspectives!
How long have you been making music?
I've been making music for around 10 years. This time consists of writing songs, studying other music, trying to teach myself different instruments, learning about recording, going to school for music & then finally making my own studio where I can basically learn how to produce, record, mix & master on my own in hopes I can get better than I was yesterday.
They probably won't ever sound as good as I'd like to but my goal is to try my hardest to learn & turn these songs into good demos.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I am from a small township in Ontario just outside of Thunder Bay, called Gorham.
It was a great place to grow up because you are surrounded by beautiful nature & sights. The stillness & quietness is something that has been embedded into my personality which in turn, shapes my sound.
When I think of my songs, it just reminds me of the cold winters & beautiful falls I experienced growing up here.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I've played quite a bit around Thunder Bay as well as Toronto & most of the shows were really great but if I'm being honest, my most memorable show wasn't a good one!
It was a showcase at this beautiful venue in Toronto. I had to sell tickets for it & wasn't even able to sell one. I emailed the organizers & asked if there was any chance to still play. They decided to put me on last & as I was getting ready to start, the whole place began walking out!
I was left there playing to no crowd other than the industry people in the far back where I couldn't even see, so who knows if anyone was actually there! I still gave it my all but that was a huge defeated feeling that will always stick with me. Humiliation is something I constantly face but at the end of the day It really grows you & I'm super grateful for those types of experiences because I learnt a lot.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue to play at is a battle between The Foundry, a bar here in Thunder Bay & then a small spot in the University of Toronto. I only played these venues once or twice but I always adored the architecture as well as the atmosphere in these spots.
It's an honor for me to even be considered for any venue or event & I'm so grateful for all the people who gave me a chance but yes I have a huge list of venues that would be amazing to play at.
The Thunder Bay Auditorium & Massey Hall would be my top two!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If I could play any show with any lineup, the show would probably never end! Some immediate artists that come mind would be:
I could keep going but it's basically a festival at this point, haha!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
My advice for both someone just starting out as well as my younger self would always be to buy a computer & start messing around in a DAW. The sooner the better because production, recording, mixing & mastering are all separate, important beasts that every musician should know a little bit about.
This will also allow you to explore different sounds & your ability to explain what you want to collaborators will be a lot more coherent which is super important!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Definitely 'Break This Way'. It's a song that I wrote & recorded quickly compared to my past songs.
The production is very stripped back & I love the little elements that spice it up. It was really fun to make & the lyrics are some of the best I've ever written, in my opinion.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite songs to play would have be "go", "break this way" & a new song that I'm trying to get done in the studio! As for requests, I get zero, haha!
I don't really have a huge following so it's hard for me to even know if people like something I put out but with this illness of mine, I live with this mindset of just wanting to get these songs out somewhere so they actually exist. It's a "don't die with your songs" kind of thought process.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I'm constantly thinking of different lyrics as well as what I wish I could write about. A lot of my songs are based off of one line I wrote that seemed to fit into a chord progression either on piano or guitar.
Hearing other music I love, especially when it's something I haven't heard before, really inspires me.
I'd have to say, movies & video games are my favorite sources of inspiration though!
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I don't really think I have any messages in my music.. I just want someone out there to connect strongly with something I made from of my own experiences & pain.
I want these songs to make someone feel a bit less lonely like how other artists have done for me throughout my life.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My current plan is basically to finish recording all of these songs I have & make them available for anyone who's ever interested in giving it a chance.
I should be having a new song coming out early in the new year so that's something I'm excited for!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
The best way for anyone to keep up to date is following me on social media! You can find me @collinclowesmusic.
I also have a website, www.collinclowes.com if anyone wants to learn more about me & my music.