Meet Clever Girls: the band you've been waiting your whole life for. Just releasing their new record " Luck" the group have been enticing from the very start with their melodic instrumentation, intriguing lyricism and good vibes. Hailing from Vermont, the band is made up of Diane Reilly, Winfield Holt, Tobias Sullivan and Robert Slater the group construct a sound that is very much their own.
Kicking off the record's essence with the lead single "Loom," the band have been garnering critical acclaim for the past few weeks. We dove deep with front-woman Diane Reilly to get inside the making of their latest masterpiece below.
When it came to creating the new record, what was the in depth inspiration and influence of the record?
There definitely is not one inspiration. I spent a lot of the time when the record was being written in a weird place mentally. I was alone a lot, and reflecting a lot. A lot of the writing is autobiographical but some of it is just stories I have created. The song "Junior," for instance, is about a character I made up. "Junior," is about the guy who does everything right, but secretly has a gambling problem... I guess it's about being fallible. Maybe that's the whole record, actually. Maybe the whole record is about realizing people are fallible. I think i just realized that.
How do you craft your songs? What elements go into each piece that we will hear consistent throughout the record?
Most of the time I write a song in under ten minutes- or at least the basic parts- you know, the verses, the hooks, the structure. Obviously the song hasn't been written to it's completion until the rest of the band has heard it. Everyone really pulls their own weight, which is why I have said I can't do Clever Girls without its current line up. I mean, Rob Slater (drums) is one of the best songwriters I have ever met. Because of that skill, he thinks about drumming in a different way than other drummers I have worked with. He is constantly thinking about what is good for the song, and how it will all function together. Toby is constantly brainstorming ways to challenge his position as a bass player- tones and rhythms that will make his pieces more interesting, more fun. Winfield is a MEAN guitar player. I have a friend who says he writes the perfect lead for each song; he just hears things that I don't- and that is special, that's a gift. But I think you will hear everybody throughout the record- I mean to say there are places throughout it where everybody shines.
What has the recent touring taught you if anything?
The recent touring has taught me to pack extra socks- you can never have too many pairs.
Sleep whenever you can. I almost feel like we can draw parallels to, like, having a baby or something. I have heard that when you have a baby, you learn to get sleep whenever you have a minute. That is sort of how I feel when I am with the band on the road. Sleep whenever I can- even if it's just a few minutes.
Do no harm, take no shit. Don't tolerate any hateful bogus from other bands or venues and make sure you're playing in safe, collective spaces and with like-minded artists. When traveling, I have realized I am spoiled by the Burlington music community because there is so much love and support up there- but everywhere else is not always like that. As a touring musician I have learned that you have to know the community you're playing as best you can. Do your homework when booking places to play and don't put up with bigotry.
Finally it has taught me to be able to read my team. First and foremost my band is like my family. Tours can become draining, but that is not the side you are supposed to show to an audience. You can't really show up to a hot gig and be like "HEY WE ARE SUPER TIRED AND EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTED HERE IS A SONG!" We are all fiercely passionate for what we do, but that also means that we all invest a lot - emotionally and physically. So you have to be able to read one another. Give an extra hug, drive an extra night shift, make sure everyone is hydrated, or whatever it is.
What was your musical upbringing like? Did you grow up with music and instruments at an early age?
I remember I would drive with my mom and we would listen to a lot of Elton John. With my dad, he would drive me around in his beat up old Tbird and I would always want to listen to Pink Floyd's "Animals" on tape. It was like a special treat. But I really must say, one of most important lessons in music I experienced was the soundtrack to The Wedding Singer. I fell in love with it when I was about seven. In hindsight, I realized it was like "intro. to cool music 101" or whatever. The Smiths, David Bowie, The Cars, Depeche Mode, New Order- it really got me into a lot of those artists- especially Bowie! As far as learning musical instruments, I got an Ibanez guitar when I was thirteen- but I don't think I actually learned how to play it until I was about 22. My little brother is a really gifted guitar player, he started on the same Ibanez guitar when he was about seven. But when I graduated college, I needed a hobby and a a creative outlet. I was going through some shit. So I learned to write and I learned to play.
What inspired the title of the album, and is there any special meaning to it?
I say this thing sometimes... "I have the odds." It is sort of my way of saying that sometimes, I feel as though really freakish things happen to me. For instance, if you know someone who's gonna win at BINGO one night or find 20 dollars in a gas station parking lot or something, it may me. But, if you know someone who is going to be struck by lightening, or lock the keys inside of a running car- well, that is also going to be me. My uncle tells me that's not how statistics or how numbers work. But I think it's fun to think about.
Moreover, I like the idea of luck. I think it is a fun thing to believe in- like Santa Clause. I was talking to Winfield and Toby when I was saying I wanted to name the record "Shit Luck," because it was a lyric in one of the songs. One of them responded, "How about just Luck?" I knew that was the title when I heard it.
When crafting your songs, do they come from a storytelling place, or more of a personal place? Is it a combination of both?
A while ago, my friend Chaimes said to me, "If you're not there for the writing, the writing won't be there for you." When I wrote this record I was living alone, so I was definitely there for the writing. I was writing all the time, every day, for hours each day. I had hundreds of voice memos in my phone of song after song after song. I would say there is not one thing that inspired this stuff, some of it is autobiographical but some of it is just made up. I think I was just in a headspace that allowed me to really go for it. Even when I was out at a bar or whatever, I would leave the room and go to the bathroom and hum a melody into my phone, record it so I could go home and write a song for it later. I would send these voice memos to Chaimes, who ended up engineering and producing the record- he would respond with "that melody is gold! But don't show anybody that other one..." I was a freak- a real crazy person for a year and a half. I mean it! I dare you to go through my iphone and listen to some of this shit. It is hysterical.
With the release of the record, what other surprises do you have up your sleeve for this year? Can we expect any coinciding video(s) or tour?
We have the videos for Loom and Dumb Smile and on the video front that will be it for a while.... BUT! We have lots of tour dates coming! We are on the road for a while this summer and we can't wait to play some shows!!!!!!!
Find Clever Girls via, Facebook alongside upcoming tour dates: