D//E Interviews: Clawing // Track Premiere: Plastic Glowing Stars

Look out for Clawing, a brand new noise/dark ambient band based in Montgomery, Alabama and comprised of Austin Gaines who releases music as Calques, guitar improvising wizard Jeff McLeod and usual suspect, spoken word poet Matt Finney.

The trio's first piece of music was just released and it is soon expected on cassette by Dullest Records. It is a concept album titled Spectral Estate and themed on the idea of a haunted house where child abuse, night terrors and dreadful stuff take place. It is a distressing, agonizing and profound listen, and beyond doubt one of the darkest things you'll get to hear in a very long while.

All three members of Clawing speak to D//E about their new project and hot off the press album.

How did Clawing came to be, and how different is it from your other projects?

Jeff: Austin and I have always talked about making some music together. When Matt got in touch with him, it all just fell into place. Clawing feels like home to me. I think it's in line with everything I've done. It's currently sitting on top of the pile.

Austin: Both these guys are great at making dark music and don't really have genre boundaries on what they wanting Clawing to sound like. We haven't set any rules on sound as long as it gets the bummer vibes across and it's something we would listen to if we hadn't made it.

Matt: I think Austin messaged me on Facebook and I heard what him and Jeff were doing and I was blown away that guys from around here were making this kind of music. I felt so alone in it for a long time. It's nice to have a little group of friends who are passionate about this kind of stuff.

Do you treat this project as an one-off collaboration or is it going to be an ongoing thing?

J: I think we immediately knew that we had a shared deep black pool to dip into that will still be there long after we're gone.

M: It's definitely a long term thing or as long as these guys want to put up with me, for sure. We've already got a ton of different things in the works. It's nice being around other workaholics.

A: We should be around for a bit. Unless one of us gets in a good mood and starts playing uplifting music. But I doubt that.

Night terrors, child abuse and a haunted house... The concept and themes behind Spectral Estate are extremely bleak. What sparked the inspiration for such darkness?

M: A lot of recurring dreams I was having at the time. I normally don't remember them but there were a few I couldn't shake. I wanted to explore them but wasn't sure how until I met these guys. I'd also recommend the comics of Emily Carroll. Her book Through the Woods is delightfully terrifying.

A: We originally wanted to make an album about that feeling you have in dark surreal dreams. Then Matt grounded the album in a more specific terror with his lyrics and we fit the music around that vibe.

Is the album more grounded on fiction or the harshness of real life?

J: I won't do anything unless it's real. It's a (real) problem.

M: Very much real life experience but I wanted to take a surrealist approach to it. Blurring dreams and actual things that happened together. I'd never done anything like it before.

A: It seemed real to me while we were making it. It definitely wasn't somewhere that I wanted my mind and concentration to linger. I'm glad we are done with the album and working on some other stuff. Although, we aren't working on anything any happier. We are probably always going to make bad trips. I just don't want to explore the same one too long. That's when you start living there. I'll visit the Spectral Estate house but I don't want to live there.

The album is certainly a profound and horrifying listening experience. If Spectral Estate was a horror movie, what would it be like?

J: A debilitating cosmic horror of the mind that comes to you in the quiet moments.

M:  Andrzej ZuĊ‚awski's Possession was the first thing that came to mind. Not really the plot but more of the feeling.

A: A cross between Sunset Boulevard and The People Under The Stairs.

Everything I hear sounds original beyond question and pretty tough to compare to anything else. If you had to parallel the sound of Clawing to other bands and musicians, which would those be?

M: I was listening to a lot of Genocide Organ around that time. The Twilight Sad's Forget the Night Ahead was a big influence as well

J: I'm inspired by artists who tap into The Void that I'm familiar with. I know and love them immediately when I hear that kind of music, and I'm always looking for it. I'm completely inspired by stuff that comes from that Void . . . or from beyond it, if I can ever find that sort of thing.

A: We do pull from a ton of stuff. If you like Clawing then you probably listen to a lot of the same things that we do. But most of the music was just working with the instruments until they matched up with the vibe we were going for.

The cover art looks like a fine representation of the album's content. We'd love to know more about it.

J: When we got that image back from Stephen, we knew it was exactly what we were going for.

A: Matt and that Unknown Relic guy discussed it and that's he came up with. I think it fits perfectly.

M; It's all Stephen Wilson (Unknown Relic). He's been a dear friend of mine for years. I told him what we were doing, the content of the album and he came up with this. He knocked it out of the park with this.

Do you plan on doing live shows or is Clawing limited to being a recording band only?

J: I'd love to do it live. Perhaps a short, intense set that really taps into the moment. I'd hope there'd be someone there who dug it enough to sit through it.

A: We are working on some things to see if we can get it right or not. I hate standing on stage in front of people. But I love the energy from loud sound and from a group of people being challenged by a live performance.

M; It's definitely something we're all interested in. I'm reaching out and talking to people, seeing what can happen. I've never played live or had a realistic chance to do that with other people I work with. I think it'd be a blast to bring Clawing to life like that.

Become acquainted with the album and the unfathomable darkness Clawing deliver through the track premiere of Plastic Glowing Stars which follows below, and immerse your soul in the song's harshness and biting spoken word delivery.

Clawing on Facebook | Bandcamp

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