Interview with Jon Ian Clarke Aka ‘The Genie’: Jon’s music strikes for the balance between engaging rhythms and endearing melodies. While his tracks remain appealing to a mainstream audience looking for catchy and memorable hooks, his song arrangements are deep and insightful, adding a sense of credibility and artistic accomplishment that is often associated with the underground scene.
Stephen Vicino – Music Existence – Blog
Where are you from?
I’m from Harlow, Essex, England, in the UK. About twenty five minutes outside of London.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making music since the age of twelve. The first song I ever wrote was on a stolen acoustic guitar, with vocal melodies & a set of lyrics, it’s called ‘Listen to me’ It shares the same title as a Buddy Holly song; which I can honestly say didn’t even know existed. Rock n’ Roll ay!
How many songs /albums have you released to date?
The first thing I published was a five track E.P titled ’90’s Four Track Demos’ I recorded it on an old analogue portastudio back in the 90’s. There’s three other studio albums; that are a mixture of styles & influences. There’s thirty six songs out there in total, five new ones on there way with an E.P scheduled for August 13th. There’s some real early recordings out there as well, which I can’t F*****G stand! Because it’s me finding my way & learning my craft. The song writing is spot on, but the production & engineering is F*****G appalling!
Can you tell us about your latest release and the background and inspirations behind it?
My next release is titled ‘The Repressing Laws of Nothingness’ which reflects, isolation, loneliness & having no F*****G money! This ones different, I’ve tried to veer away from the roaring 90’s British guitar sound, that I inherited on a lot of early recordings (which I still F*****G love by the way!) this new E.P is more pop orientated, there’s elements of EDM, Hip-Hop breaks; & even some Deep House on there, while still staying loyal to the songwriting process & melodies. I listened to ‘Amnesiac’ by Radiohead, ‘The Eraser’ by Thom Yorke, & was recommended a listen by a musician called Tim Bowness; through him I discovered ‘Milosh’ I can’t remember the F*****G name of he’s album, but it’s kinda like the opposite product of ‘The Eraser’ by Thom Yorke, but still within it’s elements, like EDM.
How have you ended up in the music industry?
I picked up my first guitar when I was thirteen years old; socialising with other local musicians by teaching & sharing. I began to have guitar lessons at the age of fifteen; with a local musician, who had success throughout the nineties with a cover of Bryan Adams ‘Run to You’; & he’s band Rage. He taught me how to play what I know on guitar, and embedded the theory behind Songwriting. I performed as lead guitarist & songwriter, in two local bands throughout the nineties; Aqualung & Bluebaker. It never really took off to be honest, I was the only C**T who was serious about it! it was like a Malcom McLaren & ‘The Sex Pistols’ punk rock thing, yer know; where F*****G S**T but everyone still loves us. The other band members were half A***D about it to be honest. Those two bands were a stepping stone, to play my songs to the public & improve my live act. I much prefer my solo act as a live thing, because then i get it to sound how I like, without arguing with some T**T! I wanted to be involved in the music industry, as soon as I pressed play on my old stereo system, and could hear Oasis ‘Digsy’s Dinner’ coming back at me through my speakers! It sounded F*****G amazing! I am a product of the 90’s Britpop phenomena, That period & decade of music, was defiantly unique, I will probably never experience anything like it again, in my lifetime. To have British guitar bands like ‘Cast’ in the UK charts doing there thing was great! You literally had to go into a record shop to buy your music on CD, Cassette or Vinyl. The live band & gig thing went through the roof as well! These days, if you’ve got a half decent mobile phone or computer your laughing!
What do you think of the music industry in 2016?
I don’t like it to be honest. Like I say, i was inspired by music & popular culture in Britain, throughout the 90’s with nostalgic elements of 60’s & 70’s culture. The music industry in this day and age in my opinion is S**T! where are all the decent bands? name me one band who has a decent record in the charts these days? I think it’s F*****G atrocious! Turn back time!
Who do you think the most influential artist?
In this day & age…? I don’t mind Kanye West, I genuinely like some of he’s music. I like the way he ego trips as well, i find that cool & inspiring. I’m only saying that because of the attention Richard Ashcroft & Liam Gallagher have shown him. Drake? Panda? Skepta? I don’t know! I tell yer something, I can’t F*****G Rap or MC! I have my own preferences & inspirations; The band that done it for me were ‘Oasis’ & ‘The Verve’ ‘John Lennon’, ‘The Beatles’, ‘The Rolling Stones’, ‘The Sex Pistols’, ‘The Who’, ‘The La’s’ & ‘Cast’. The dance & pop elements come from the likes of ‘Aphex Twin’, ‘Orbital’, ‘808 State’, ‘The Chemical Brothers’ & ‘Thom Yorke’. I’m into some Hip-Hop as well; ’N.W.A’, ‘Ice Cube’, ‘Public Enemy’, ‘Boogie Down Productions’, ‘KRS-1’, yer know, music really. Richard Ashcroft’s last record was amazing! ‘These People’ so go & buy it!
Who have you collaborated with so far in your career?
People in my home town really. It has to be that way, I can’t F*****G drive a car, or own a drivers license! ‘Jamie Taylor’ when I was part of ‘Aqualung’ He was the lead singer, & he had a F*****G amazing voice! he could’ve been in ‘Back Street Boys’ or something! honestly, he was a popstar! ‘Kieran Mitchell’ when I was part of ‘Bluebaker’ we had similar influences, we both got off on the 90’s rock n’ roll band thing, He was a great songwriter. I’m currently collaborating with ‘James Gormley’ & we operate as ‘Summit™’ I’ve produced & performed on a numerous mixture of covers & originals for us; again, we have similar influences & inspirations. ‘Summit™’ have performed two live shows in the capital, one at the famous ‘Dublin Castle’ in Camden Town, and another at the iconic ‘Spice of Life’ in Soho, London.
How do you think you differ from other artists?
I like to think of myself as diverse & experimental as an artist. Instead of publishing the same kind of record, every time some work is released. Then again saying that, some of my favourite artist and inspirations have sounded repetitive and similar, record after record; ‘Oasis’, ‘The Jam’, ‘Paul Weller’. It’s that mod thing I suppose, “really? i’m not aloud to play a G major chord?” do you know what I mean? there are no rules or limitations to follow when creating music.
Dead or alive, who would be your dream collaboration?
What was the first album you bought?
I think it was some compilation CD, double album of Drum n’ Bass, or Jungle or something. I only bought it because I liked the artwork in the sleeve. The actual music sounded like complete B******S at the time. I’d probably appreciate it more now.
What’s your favourite song at the moment?
Richard Ashcroft – ‘They Don’t Own Me’ taken from the ‘These People’ record.
If you had to sell your music collection tomorrow, what album would you leave in your draw?
‘Oasis’ – ‘Definitely Maybe’
What is your favourite saying?
“Never judge a book by it’s cover”
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I’m a huge West Ham United F.C fan actually. In past times, I liked going to the Boleyn Ground to watch them play there home matches in the Barclays Premier League. But of course, they’ve now moved home to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which I’ve not attended yet, I’m sure I will this coming season, a league game or something, ay.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
Yes, plenty! some S**T tattoos, but some fantastic art on my back!
Tell us more about your upcoming project or this new project?
Im just looking forward to it being published, & out there, available to the world, in the laps of the gods. August 13th people! please show your support & buy it. ‘The Repressing Laws of Nothingness’
What’s in the pipeline after this project?
To keep writing producing & recording music as ‘The Genie’ & with ‘Summit™’
maybe some local live gigs, who knows? we’ll have to wait & see.
Thank you for your time and may you carry on making great, fresh music.
Anytime, love & peace, & god bless. Peace out , ‘The Genie’.