Evan H. Clarke is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Calgary native has been playing music for over half of his life. His story as a musician dates back to his time in the eighth grade where he delved into the world of Led Zeppelin and took inspiration from John Bonham to begin playing the drums.
As the years went on, Clarke took it upon himself to learn to play a plethora of other instruments including bass, electric and acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica and piano. Having paired this ability to play with the knowledge of mixing and mastering at a young age. In Clarke’s own words, he is “music-obsessed.”
Clarke’s most recent release was his debut to Spotify, a 10-track album, Maverick, released in April of this year. As per usual, Clarke was at the helm of production for his latest project, citing Pro Tools and Logic as his go-tos for putting together his tracks.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarke was in the process of rehearsing for shows to perform his Maverick album for the first time. It would have been his first time singing while playing the drums, seeing Clarke taking a new direction in his array of musical abilities, as he “should be coming close to my 10,000 hours.”
Now at 29, Clarke is in his final year of study at Concordia as a double major in Communications and Irish Studies. Through his twenties and his time as a Concordia student, Clarke hasn’t slowed down at all, releasing projects at a consistent pace and keeping the flame burning in his passion for music. Even with a variety of different EPs and two full-length albums under his belt, it is only the beginning for the artist. With big plans for the near future, Clarke continues to record for new projects and even aims to release electronic music someday as well.
We spoke to Clarke about his world of music.
The Concordian: Your album, Maverick, has a certain flow from the opening track all throughout the album. How did you pick your album’s tracklist arrangement and song titles?
EC: I usually write a batch of songs around the same time, so I tend to pick keys and chord progressions — which are similar — so they sound cohesive. My writing techniques vary — sometimes I will come up with the song title first, which was the case with the song “Hibernia,” and then write the song after, and sometimes I’ll pick a line from the song which holds the most meaning and use that as the title. It varies from release to release.
TC: It seems to be an open secret that you’ve got a variety of scattered works all over the internet, will we ever see any of those hit Spotify?
EC: Possibly! I’m quite proud of some of those releases, perhaps I should put them up on the big streaming platforms. My previous full-length Afterlight was released under a different name, maybe I’ll do a re-release!
TC: As a one-man show who puts up lyrics, music composition, mixing, producing and mastering, how much time are you dedicating to your craft?
EC: I try to dedicate as much time as possible to it, which can be difficult, particularly when you are a student. I usually write when the inspiration hits, which could be anytime, and then dedicate a few months to tracking and mixing when I’m happy with the batch of songs. I should be coming close to my 10,000 hours!
TC: The lone single for your first album came out the day after COVID-19 shutdowns began in Canada. Has the pandemic affected your artistic process and methods?
EC: Haha yes it did, great timing on my part. It definitely has, I had a large album release show planned with merch and everything, but I called it off. I have had more time to work on my music than ever, so I have another album nearly finished, and a couple electronic projects on the go. The shutdown has afforded me some time to experiment on finding a different sound for my future releases.
TC: For someone that plays so many different instruments, when you approach the musical part of a song how do you know where to begin?
EC: Great question! I usually write on my acoustic guitar or piano, that gives me a sense of what the song could be and which instruments to use. I start by tracking drums (this is always difficult because I don’t have a set, so when I go into the studio it’s my first time playing the song), this gives me an idea of what the bass track should be because it should correspond with the drums. From there, I’ll lay down some guitar or piano. It is usually a process of trial and error.
TC: What should the world expect from Evan H. Clarke moving forward?
EC: More music! I’ve got another album 75 per cent done, and some electronic music in the works. I am moving to Vienna next year, so I am sure that will have some effect on the music I make in the future!
Feature photo by Sabine Schoerkhuber