Interview With Clay Howard (Three Questions)

(This is part  “Three Questions With Xxxx“. If you’re interested in taking part click here and fill out the form.)

I’ve gotten to know so many cool creators in my life. The interesting thing is, you never know when you’re going to meet the next one. I encountered this particular rock demi-god at a school function. We had kids in the same school at the time. I saw someone taller than me (no mean feat) and naturally asked him what the weather was like up there.

1) As someone who has a similar lifestyle (day job, creative job, family) I often wonder about how others balance their those three things in addition to all of the other bits of life that come along. What;s that look like in your life?

For a long time I had gotten away from what I love. Even though I was writing and performing music, I thought of myself as a “insert job here” who dabbled in music rather than what I am- a musician who also has a full time job ( and a part-time job.) I finally put that back in order in my mind 2 or 3 years ago, and have found it a lot more freeing- less stress in my job, etc.

Of course, before all of this, I am a husband and a father, so my creative times flow around that. Writing music does not necessarily require tools, although I prefer to do it with a guitar in hand, so for a lot of my songs, a melody line and lyrics might be worked out internally while I work, and then fleshed out after I have seen the last kid go to bed, or in an hour or two stolen downstairs at home in my music room. My kids are very used to dad sitting downstairs and singing, and me being down there gives my wife some alone time, as well.

The kids are so used to it, in fact, I remember Ian sitting on my lap as I recorded every vocal on stratocruiser’s last 2 records!

2) I see more and more artists (be they musicians, visual artists, or writers) going independent in their production models. I think there’s a longer tradition of that in music. What are the benefits and difficulties of doing it yourself?

Being independent… I would be lying if I said I wanted to control everything. I would absolutely love for someone else to promote, pay to manufacture, etc… but that is not the way it works anymore- especially for someone who is not 24 and able to drop everything to tour. So- difficulties: money, money and then maybe…um, money. Soliciting press and reviews…soliciting independent radio/podcasts, etc. In short- the work is difficult. 🙂

Benefits: I can release something whenever I want. I can record with whoever I want. I can say no to whatever I want…control is the biggest benefit.

3) You seem to be releasing EPs rather than full albums. What’s the drive behind that?

People do not buy music anymore.

But for someone like me, a virtual unknown, releasing singles is useless- like putting a single drop of water into a pond and expecting people to find it. When I released my first solo album, I found it was very easy to get people to review it, as it was something people understand- an album, a collection of 10 songs, etc. People understand this, they just do not buy them.(well, vinyl collectors do, and old people like me..)

My decision to release EPs was truly based on being able to release things more frequently AND have something that journalists and consumers understand- a collection.. Attention spans are also pretty short these days, and the lifespan of a new release (which used to be up to a year) is now less than 90 days. Crazy, huh- a new record is old news after 3 months have passed. smh..

So, I am going back to the 70’s model of releasing product often, keeping my name in front of people, and smaller collections of songs take less time to write and record.

Clay’s website(s):

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Clay’s bio: Take one washed up college basketball player and give him a guitar and a microphone…