After finding minor success in her home country of Australia by appearing on The Voice Australia, the musician who would come to be known as CLOVES decided to change things up and discover who she really wanted to be as an artist...a process she has now ventured through on more than one occasion.
For several years now, CLOVES has been slowly growing in popularity all around the world based off the excellently-crafted pop songs featured on her debut EP XII, but all the while, fans wanted more. It took her three years to perfect her first full-length, which she just recently gifted to the world after a waiting period that saw her become one of the most closely-watched indie-pop acts on the planet.
Now, the singer-songwriter is promoting her album One Big Nothing, we spoke with her about the project.
Your debut album is out now--congrats! How does it feel to finally have it out in the world?
I remember thinking to myself towards the end of making the album that once it was finished I wanted to take a break from making music. It had been such a wobbly album process and I was really struggling to feel energized and to be creative, and being honest, I really thought I would come out the other side of it feeling burned out.
Once the album came out it was like a weight had been lifted, like closing a chapter and opening another. I now feel re-inspired to do and be more, inspired to change and move forward. I know I could’ve kept working on the album forever; that's just who I am. I’m obsessive and never satisfied, though I will say that One Big Nothing is an album about finding yourself through tough lessons. It offers confidence and insecurity. It doesn’t give a fuck and cares too much. It's overwhelmed by questions and offers little answers, but it never gives up looking for them, and I am proud of that.
What do you want people to take away from this album?
I just want people to be able to feel like this album is a safe place where you don’t have to try, you don’t need to put a front on. It's okay to not really have your shit together, to one day be happy and the next day be a moody wreck. It's all okay and it’s important to be yourself. This record is human.
How does this differ from your breakout EP?
The EP sounds like little me, the tracks were borderline demos, it wasn’t a considered idea, they were songs I liked and wanted to put out. The album is far more self-aware. I feel like I used to hide myself in other people’s company as a way to distract myself from being left alone with my own thoughts and that's why the EP is so boyfriend-orientated, but the album goes deeper than that.
Over the last three years I’ve tried harder to understand myself, why things can feel so cloudy and how to deal with it. Also, sonically and arrangement-wise it's more thoughtful. I like to describe the record as “gritty grandeur.”
Several years passed between the release of your debut EP and your album. Why such a long time?
To be honest with you, I think a chunk of the difficulty with this album process was down to me being my own worst enemy, which is frustrating for me to admit. I've always been really ambitious and I went into making this album wanting to make something that I could be truly proud of.
I think such a strict mindset ended up bringing too much self-pressure and in turn self-doubt. A year into making the record I’d lost so much self-confidence that I found myself not being able to write without doubting that it was good enough. It took a while before I realized that I needed to work harder with myself to break the cycle. A couple of breakthroughs completing some choruses helped me build my confidence back. Then I wrote “Wasted Time” and was genuinely proud of it as a song, but also it's helped me channel something negative into something productive.
What changed for you in those years?
If I’m totally honest I don’t even know where to start answering this question, everything changed. I feel like a totally different person and artist.
Is there one track on the record that's a standout for you?
I think “Wasted Time” because it's such a personal track for me.
What does the rest of the year and next year bring for you?
Well One Big Nothing is out, so that and touring, some European shows and some other gigs soon to be announced.
Photo Credit: Fabien Montique