You Need to Meet this Dude: Ryan Clackner Part 2
[zephyr_dropcaps style="withbg" firstcolor="#333333" bgcolor=""]Last week I had the pleasure of introducing you to my dear friend who is one of my favorite musicians - Ryan Clackner. Without further ado, here is part two of my interview with him![/zephyr_dropcaps] Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My inspiration(al) people change. Sometimes it isn't people at all, but places, or architecture, or books. I'm a student of Hermeticism so Hermes (Corpus Hermeticum) is my guy. I love the Yoga Sutras, the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, 12 Step lit, and a lot more...like a LOT more but I can't remember it all offhand. As far as places that are inspiring, it can be anywhere that's rural. Nature is the ultimate inspiration for me. As far as humans, people like Newton, Einstein, Tesla, Mozart, Coltrane, Eckhart Tolle, Joseph Campbell, Willie Nelson, Charles Lloyd, and Black Sabbath (Ozzy) lol.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced musically so far and how did you work though it or are still working through it?
Biggest Challenge: bringing my musical vision out of the murk in my mind into a tangible reality and then out to the people. The music is out and onto paper and some demo recordings, and now we're working on bringing it to the people. Forming the merger between metal and country while using jazz as a buffer was a bitch too, but not as much as finding people that get what the hell I'm talking about. I feel like a mad scientist at times, but i think it's working and all the heartache and labor will soon begin to pay off.
What's the biggest benefit, to you, for having studied jazz so extensively?
I go to a weekly jazz jam session on Wednesdays. It keeps me sane. My friend Geary Moore from NJ, great jazz guitarist and longtime mentor for me, runs it. He is a sage of life and music.
What is your music writing process like?
I write and arrange 90+% of everything currently. I usually have about half or more of it developed in my head before I even sit down with a guitar. Then it's just a matter of weighing all the different properties against each other 'til I find the balance I'm seeking. Some songs will be more jagged than others. Sometimes the balance is in how I'm weighing out the entire EP, so one song may be just totally fucked up but another one will counter it. The lyrics and vocal ideas come pretty easily, though I'm still sheepish about that aspect of the music cuz I'm newer to it. I enjoy writing and try to at least brainstorm something every day and I carry notebooks everywhere. Plus I store ideas in my phone too. It helps the sanity thing...
What advice would you give a musician just starting off fresh out of college or even to a musician who's starting over again from square one?
As far as advice; "follow your bliss" is what Joseph Campbell said. Do what excites you on a deep level. Ask yourself why it excites you. Make lists of things you love and are grateful for. Practice your instrument for freedom of expression rather than a false sense of duty or thoroughness. Be brutally honest with yourself. Study the music business and current trends then piss on them and find your own way. Most people don't want to hear the same music from 100 different bands anyway.
One last question: how do the goats in Delaware compare to the goats in Nashville?
We have fainting goats here... I'll leave it that!!!
If you're you a musician or know a musician who'd love to share what they're up to, let me know in the comments below! I always love having conversations like the one above with interesting musicians!