Take Five: Roman Clarke

Winnipeg’s Roman Clarke has a reputation in the underground music community for being frighteningly versatile. Previously known for his work as a drummer and collaborator for the likes of The Middle Coast, Joey Landreth, and Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Clarke has quietly built up a prolific catalogue of his own music. He has successfully crafted a timeless combination of uplifting arrangement juxtaposed by sincere lyrics whilst keeping the sonic palette undeniably fresh. On his soon to be released debut full-length, Clarke wrote every lyric, played every instrument, and sang every vocal.

Tell us about your latest release ‘Someday’, how is it important to you as a song?

Someday is important to me as a song in more of a musical way than a lyrical way. I had an idea of what I wanted the song to sound and feel like, and I employed all of the skills I had been honing over the past year to achieve this weird “epic funk” thing.

 The sonic style is great! Talk us through your production inspiration and process…

In “Someday” in particular I was going for a similar feeling to that of Kimbra’s album “The Golden Echo”. The whole fun part of making a song like “Someday” is coming up with my own process to achieve a vibe that I really like. I wanted something that sounded “HUGE” and “INTENSE” and “MOODY”, and I think by kind of musically wandering towards those things I stumbled on some really fun ways to express my emotion and feeling through the arrangement. There’s a lot going on this tune, and I think it ended up that way because of how I wanted things to push and pull, especially through the second verse and the bridge… I like the way your ear gets pulled a bunch of different directions, kind of getting shuttled towards a cool musical moment like the harmonized vocal run thing in the second verse or the unison synth/bass line thing in the bridge. ANYWAYS every song is a learning experience and this one marks a very big leap for me!

What’s your writing process like?

I like it best when I can just write a song and it doesn’t really “hurt” for lack of a better word… when it just happens and I dont really have to dig too hard. That may sound a little lazy but I think my brain gets in the way of my intuition otherwise and when I work too long/too hard on a song it always leaves me feeling like I don’t wanna play it which is not the point!

If someone hasn’t heard your music before, what can they expect from listening to you?

I would say they can expect some sad funky weekend jams!!!!

Do you have any advice to anyone starting out in music?

Just don’t stop and don’t get a real job!