We think Claire Welles has made her point in fine style with a prolific back catalogue and a strong live gig history, she is one to follow.
One of Liverpool’s finest underground provocateurs. Fiercely singular in her approach to music yet with a musical nous you simply can’t teach.
A long history of recording music, Claire has straddled almost every musical style yet imbues her music with a rich melodic tendency which makes her experimental pop ease into your being over time. If you let it.
It seemed like the time to have a word. And her fave football team had just bagged themselves a dream tie in the FA Cup. Off to Zoom we go.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Claire: Just been watching Match of the Day 2. I’m in Waterloo, Crosby and I’m drinking a cup of coffee. And I’ve just spilt some, so that’s a great start.
We were meant to go and see Marine FC tonight, but their ground is completely waterlogged. So, we’ll go and watch them play Hyde United on Saturday instead.
P3dro: Have you got tickets for the Spurs game?
Claire: They’re not on sale yet, but because we’ve had tickets for previous matches this season, we’re eligible. So we should be able to get tickets.
P3dro: It should be a good one?
Claire: I can’t wait. We’ll have to get sausage rolls and pasties from Satterthwaites beforehand. It’s an old school Greggs. It’s a really good place for sausage rolls. They also do Branston Pickle meat pies. Not very healthy, but who cares.
P3dro: So what have you been doing for the last few months?
Claire: Well, I’ve recorded a new album called ‘Dazed’ which is coming out on 1 February. I started doing that in June, but then my Mum got sick, so I had to care for her for two months. And then she died at the end of August, which was horrendous, but I started recording again after her funeral in September.
P3dro: What’s your recording process?
Claire: I do it mostly at home, or at my partner, David’s. I tend to start on an acoustic guitar, which is a bit of a cringe. And then I make them more electronic and make them sound a bit more like full songs, on my iPad, mainly. Then it goes on to Ableton.
But I used to record on four track cassettes until a few years ago.
P3dro: How’s your guitar playing now, given you’ve had the last 8 months to practise?
Claire: I’ve been playing for 25 years, but I’m still rubbish! I still can’t play. I can do basic rhythm and beats, but I’m not a guitarist.
I was big Blur fan and Pulp and Suede in the 90s. The usual Britpop stuff. But you’re probably 20 years older than me, so you’d probably have hated all that stuff. But that was my entry into music.
P3dro: [Avoiding the previous comment] What’s your motivation? What drives you to make music?
Claire: I think it’s proving people wrong, mainly. I wasn’t very good 10 years ago and I’d put out quite a lot of scatty stuff, but in the last three or four years I’ve put out much better stuff. And wanting to put out as much as possible because I’m in a really good vein at the moment.
I’m trying to prove a point. I can, actually make decent music. Probably not the best reason to make music, but …
P3dro: You’ve mentioned Blur, Pulp and Suede. Who do you think are your musical influences?
Claire: Nowadays, I love The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The vibe and the feel of their songs. Anton Newcombe has been a big influence.
I also love Bleached Heat – he’s similar to what I do, he’s really good!
P3dro: Looking at your timeline on Facebook, you have quite a few references to ZX Spectrum computers, video games and the thing with Marine FC. There’s a bit of a leftfield thing going on with Claire Welles? You don’t really conform do you?
Claire: Well, I don’t have any children, so I can play games. And be like a 15 year old in the body of a 37 year old. I have a lot of weird hobbies.
P3dro: Go on.
Claire: I collect Barcode Battlers and old computer games from the 80s and 90s. Toys and things to re-live my youth that I never had.
P3dro: Have you got any plans for the next year? Any gigs?
Claire: Well, I think all my gigs have been socially distanced for the last 25 years, to be honest!
I’m pencilled in for Kendal Calling next summer, but, we’ll see. Tim Burgess has been a big champion of my work for the last two years. I played there in 2019, but this year got cancelled. Obviously. We’ll see.
P3dro: Plans for 2021?
Claire: I’ll get the album out. I’m really happy with it. It’s the most emotional thing I’ve done because my Mum died in the middle of it. She would have loved it. She was a big fan.
That’s a picture of her on the cover when she was 15. Young, free and happy. It’s a shame she’s not here.
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album we should be listening to right now.
Claire: We should be listening to to Bleached Heat. And Keel Her as well.
And, obviously Lonesaw.
Dazed will be released on 1 February 2021. In the meantime, check out Claire Welles on Bandcamp.
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