Days after the release of his new full-length album It's Not How It Sounds, and his nomination on SOCAN's song of the year, we've had a post-quarantine chat with Canadian rapper Clairmont The Second.
1. Hey Clairmont, how's it going in these weird times?
Not bad. Sometimes it gets to me and weighs on my brain so I try to stay off social media as much as I can and do things that make me feel happy.
2. What have you been up to in the past few months?
I've been getting things together for the recent album release. Watching cartoons, anime, movies. Also been playing video games, unfortunately not as much as I want to so I'm about to hop back on it heavily. Last week I got back into producing as well so that was great, I'm getting back on that heavily as well. Usually leading up to the release of an album I''m not doing much else other than prep.
3. You just released your fifth studio album ''It's Not How It Sounds'', how does it feel?
It's pretty cool. It doesn't feel particularly unique yet other than the fact I caused a stir online a couple weeks before dropping it. People are talking about how this will launch me to another level and I hope so as well. I don't have much expectations anymore because I don't like setting myself up for disappointment. It still happens sometimes though. So we'll see how this goes.
4. How did you discover yourself in this album? Have you experienced anything since ''Do You Drive?''
Nothing is really different on this project other than I'm a better song creator now, a better writer, a better producer. I always experience new things all the time which inspires different ideas, new lyrics, etc. Nothing particular happened in between the albums which sparked a direction for the latest project. My stories are a mix of new and old stories, some are the same written differently. I will say though, I had another album I was going to put out that I felt like the world wasn't ready for, so I have that in the chamber. A good chunk of it is already done but I'm still working on it.
5. On this album, you produced, mixed, and played all the instruments. Tell me about the importance for you to do everything on your own.
Me doing the majority of everything on my own allows me to execute my ideas just the way I want them. Once too many hands start getting into the pot a lot of the time it can hinder the vision. Sometimes when you get something like a 'machine' involved, consisting of people who don't even make music, it can get ten times more frustrating them trying to give you advice on how to create or what you should do artistically. Sometimes people get opportunities to keep their vision and just have people put money behind it so sometimes it's not all bad.
6. This new album shows different genres blended together, something we hear a lot these days. What do you think about music genres?
All my albums have different genres blended together so this is nothing new to me. Since the beginning of my career I've had an array of sounds. I'm just way more polished and skilled now. Music genres are cool I guess. Sometimes I don't like being put in a box though since I bridge so many sounds together. Who's to say "It's Not How It Sounds" is a rap album? Maybe it's a Jazz album with Rap verses on it, or a Soul album with southern inspired Hip-Hop drum patterns. I don't like being put into a box.
7. In the weeks leading up to the release of the album, you shared some words on Twitter about your frustrations of being slept on. What factors lead you to this reflection?
I just felt like I needed to start something. Start a bigger conversation. Some people missed the point and ultimately gave me advice that had to do with selfish gain like getting famous immediately, or going viral. I never wanted nor needed advice on how to get famous. I know how to do that. Doing what some people were offering ultimately compromises who I am. I ultimately just wanted to be respected on a bigger scale for what I've done. I wanted to be respected by the majority of my hometown. I wanted people to stop letting award shows, bigger media outlets, and money, decide what they like or don't like. A lot of people are force fed things and don't even know it. However, I was never mad or anything, I don't need the validation from any major company, but it seems like a lot of "tastemakers" whatever the hell that means, have ties to labels or something. It all seems fishy to me.
8. What keeps you motivated to keep creating?
My family, my friends, and ultimately the love of art. That's what I'm in this for. I just know I'll be able to live comfortably off of it one day. In due time.
9. Did quarantine and the past events reflect on your work or life?
Quarantine didn't really affect my work. All the songs I've written were before the virus really hit the world hard so it's coincidental that the lyrics sound very "quarantine-y." My personal life was hit a bit harder because I wasn't able to do a string of shows I was lined up for which really put me in a financial deficit as well. However it forced me to get my business a bit more in order, I learned a lot more about taxes this year, and I cleaned up a lot of aspects in my life.