Claire Cotrill is a singer, songwriter, and producer who goes by the name Clairo. She started releasing music in 2014 as a teenager. A few years later, songs she had uploaded to YouTube had racked up over 40 million views. This year, Clairo put out her debut album, Immunity. She’s recently performed on Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel, and played arenas, opening for Khalid. In this episode, Clairo breaks down her song “Alewife.” I spoke to Claire and her co-producer Rostam Batmanglij about how the song was made.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. My name is Richie Cash. Your way song, Butter is brought to you by progressive. We thinking more about how to tighten up your budget. These days drivers who save by switching to progressive, save over seven hundred dollars on average and customers. qualified for an average of six discounts on they sign up a little off your rate each month goes a long way get a quote. Today: a progressive dot com progressive casualty, insurance company in affiliates NASH. Annual average insurance savings by new customers. Surveyed who saved with Progressive between two, twenty twenty and may twenty twenty one potential savings will vary: discount, very and are not available in all states and situations. This up toad, is sponsored by indeed, indeed It easy to hire great talent, and you can
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is available for free. You can call the National suicide Prevention Lifeline at eight hundred two, seven three talk that eight hundred Two hundred and seventy three talk. You can also text the crisis text line just text hello to seven hundred one seven hundred one you're, not alone put a link up to these resources on the song exploder website want to join me in making a donation to the American Foundation for suicide prevention. You can find info on the website as well I'll mention it again at the end of this episode, alright, here clear, is a singer songwriter producer who goes by the name, Clara, she started releasing music in two thousand and fourteen a few years later, Song sheet uploaded to Youtube had racked up over forty million views this year, Clara put out her debut album community she's real. Performed on Ellen and Jimmy Camel and played a Rina opening for clean in this episode Clare,
breaks down her song Elway. I spoke to clear under CO, producer Roston, but monkish, whose form if the band vampire weekend the producing credits include I'm Maggie Rogers and trial. here's clearer on song explode the famous Claire Cottrill Clara. This I was born to studios, in LOS Angeles, I spent and out in LOS Angeles writing them record and spent every day in the studio, occasionally landing on songs. So I was writing
some guitar and came up with. I have been talking to my best friend Alexa alongside the time just texting her while I was doing guitar She was there for me in a really difficult time, I was going through a lot of depression and anxiety throughout middle. School in high school and it really hit a low point in eighth grade they got to a point where I was like I just couldn't really leave my room. I wasn't really even closer the legs at the time, but I remember talk into her one night time that you know want to be here anymore. the rough night. For me, it was like I was afraid. What was going to happen
before I knew it. There were police officers at my door because the lochside called for them you she was with me the whole I calling me and texting me and trying to be for me, which is something I never had in my whole life never had a best. Friend like that or someone you would drop everything to make sure that I was okay, especially at that time and for a while I was mad that they were officers involved in that I had to go to therapy and it was this whole ordeal. Without her. I have no idea how my life would be now so when I was writing the guitar. I decided that it was time for me to talk about this. experience plus about how sad it was a more about how grateful I am for Alexa.
hmm buzz buzz. Hang! No thanks, then save me into something soon, so that night I just was like too impatient to go into the booth and record the vocals so just decided to pull out the good Voice, memos The only reason I recorded it on my phone was to send her the song, so she knew that I'd written a song about it. My name is Alexa I was sitting in the dining room with my mom and dad text from Claire, and she goes. I wrote this fund about you and I was
okay, wait. What and she sent me the demo and I go okay, mom, I'm going to play something Claire sent me and I play it off my phone and we both just started crying hm hm. I just so many things going through my body of just all these emotions, and it took me back to the night that that song was about which we don't really talk about a lot but now that it was there. It still felt pretty fresh data. About, I guess I was thirteen at the time and I'm twenty one. Now is something that my family and I talked about, but early products must, unless we had to never really Brian. After my friends.
especially in music and made me feel really seen to write a song about that specific night, and then I courted it for real with a drum machine. I've been listening to love, Elliot Elliott, Smith, and Important for me to double check the vocals. I think that was like, where my favorite things highlights with music. now is kind of like The evolved demo for Rosson was involved. My name is Rostam Batmanglij I was at a party, and someone mentioned Clare, this music and they were like. Have you heard Clara and then I
home, and I listen to her music, but I was like well link about this person's voice. It sounded like of voice that I had heard my whole life or something like it felt familiar in a way and drawn to it. So then I I think I damned her and just said, hey. What's up, I like your music I know think he knew I existed. That was like a he's a big moment for me just because I've always been such a big fan, so I think we're both kind of like. Should we try to make some music? brought me the sessions of the songs that she'd started on her own, and I hadn't actually had very much experience working in that way where the vocals are recorded and the artist says, I
don't wanna rerecord the variables I'm happy with them. So all the votes on the song are the ones that clear recorded at truth, you can see. didn't mean to yes, Is it such a huge part of not It's the song writing of this song, which she wrote, but also the production. I loved getting these songs. Clare and getting the whole pro tools session and too. sit together in a room and really take something that she had started. The production and then put our heads together, oh all, the guitar on the song ill wife, is played by Clare. The one thing I asked her to do when we got to my studio was to he play her electric guitar parts on acoustic guitar.
Because to me that First, it more into the world of Elliot Psmith, just because the signs that, that I connect the most strongly with. Are his acoustic, guitar songs, yeah, exactly the the we recorded the acoustics. I start Playing the chords the piano. I didn't know that that be the start of the song. It was just kind of like another way of activating the cords. I was thinking like there's something about the way that the chord progression interacts with the Ok, melody, that's really powerful, so I didn't change anything the rhythm or it I a hint change any of the cards. it's kind of activated them differently on the piano it felt
really good to hear the piano with guitar for the first time, The I heard the sonic. I was kind of like picturing, a drummer holding down on the Tom. The sixth Knows that image pops into my mind. So when we were in the studio together, that's how I kind of started the beat with just that Tom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom. All the individual samples are recorded
tat machine and there's three different velocities and three different samples for every velocities for each hit. There's nine different samples that you could trigger with your keyboard. So, even though the drums aren't real because it does it actually, when you hear it in isolation, it does kind of sound fake. But if you hear it in the song, it doesn't sound fake. They sound like the could be real, eyeing the drums or everything. halfway through the song. There's a high hat that comes in it's just, drummer clamping, the two HI hats together it kind of opens up this portal, like you, can hear the beat a few different ways: the kind of stuff that I'm always trying to do with drums just trying to If you hear rhythm differently
if throughout the song like so it's like a chapter, you know it's like a new chapter unfolds where it's suddenly, this high hat comes in and keeping time in a different way, and it's adding an emphasis in a different place: movement the course don't change at the whole song and there's no like bridge. there's no real structure to the song, and I always tend to do that. Rosamond ever afraid of that he also found ways to bring movement into the song, I mean the biggest things about this whole record in general was taking songs that were almost there and then bringing them there was so great at not no way the things that I had made, but just elevating them. Yes,
then electric guitar is still actually in the song. I copied and pasted it over to the very end of the song, and then I also put a fuzz distortion effect. I guess like most about the song is that there are moments that are so soft. But then Also really harsh moment. It's like the distortion having that both on one song is really special to me. Cuz here, the lyrics this experience We feel really soft and personal and hard to talk about, but then those emotions can also feel really harsh and can feel like everything crashing down on you and having. Both of those moments in the song did a for me What is that gray area?
the. No yeah, last line. You know I'll, be all right. A trade was ever that time. Slaked is some humor into something That's just the timorous thing in the world. I find my favorite. Songs are just honest. doesn't necessarily feel like everything else to rhyme Murphy Thing ass to sound like a ground breaking lyric, you can just talk directly to the person listening and they can understand talking to them like your friend or like someone that you're actually telling the story to is important, but it's also
for entering knowledge that, like no one might eat grade, no one anyone who does like eighth grade is a psychopath. So the thing is I there original title for the song was eighth grade and naming it alewife became really important, I imagine a life only once in the sun and it's not as a surly about it. A wife was train station in Massachusetts that I would drive to, my small town had park there and I would take the tea. Two different parts of the city Wherever I wanted to go, I could get there. from alewife.
I think the reason why I started this song with those words was because It just became this kind of portal, Two different world growing up small town of like five thousand people can you really hard to feel understood. And when I started to be more involved in the music scene in Boston. Going to house shows like meeting kids from there going to flea markets are meeting kids they're just like talking. I ended up music and them knowing the same stuff. I know I was First time I was like. Oh, I left a really small town, and there are so many people in the world that are just like me, thirty minutes from alewife wife from the thirty year old me I'm like damn. That's so far, I don't have a car
don't drive. My mom will drive me thirty minutes to a train station. but then now it's like I was only thirty minutes from this place that and up so much. For me, a lot of my growing up was in solitude and something that I just never did was I never changed for other people. That's what drove a lot of people away and that's what made me want to seclude myself but I just kind of like until Alexa just felt kind of lost she just like really gave me the confidence to continue to be myself and cheese, why I even music a lot of ways. It's really important that I talk about how amazing people like Alexa are and how, our people have those people whether they know it or not. There's
I'm like Alexa. That will come out of the woodwork to make sure that you're, okay, and that was what I wanted to do, at the most kind of like a it's onto her in November on my birthday last year, she sent me the suit, this message and acknowledged that night. We know everything that had happened and wrote this really heartfelt said to me kind of thanking me for our friendship and how, without what had happened, that night things probably, would have been very different, and you know maybe she wouldn't have been here, but album came out. I took the time to put in my headphones and sit down and just to be with the song and. It made me, so emotional, but so thankful that I had this friendship with such an incredible person and I will forever be grateful for what she did.
There's nothing more, nothing less issues grateful forever; and now here's L wife by Clara in its entirety.
visit song exploded, dot net for more information about Clara and rostrum. You'll also find a link to buy or stream L wife, thanks so much you Alexa for speaking to me for this episode as well and again, if having thoughts about suicide or, if you're, worried or a friend or loved one or if, like emotional support, then national suicide prevention. Lifeline is available, twenty four seven across the: U S, s can. doubt more at sue, and prevention lifeline dot, o r g and you can call Eight hundred and two three talk, the word hello to seven hundred one, seven hundred one if you'd like to make a donation to the American Foundation for suicide prevention. Their website is F S p. That orgy. song exploder is sponsored by Dave's killer, bread, actually love Dave's killer bread, but they gave me a script to read so appeared his attention Others. We now have taste in the bread, I'll Dave's were bred, that's right and organic bread
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their Christian Koontz Olivia would helped with production assistance. Carlos Lemme is our illustrator from us. this year, filling in for me has been guest host to when she'll be back. Next episode song exploder is a proud member of Radio Tokyo from PR acts. The curated collective independent, creative casks. You can learn not all of our shows at Radio Toby Fm you can also follow song exploder on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, at song exploder Irish. A your way thanks for listening radio to. There's a brand new show joining Radio Tokyo called Oprah demagogues every week, history. when Leah Wright, Rigueur and Kelly Carter Jackson are going die,
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.