As I’ve discussed before, Echosynthetic gets a lot of submissions each week. Every once in awhile I get one that completely blows me away, and that brings me to the subject of this New Artist Alert. Billy Clayton sent me a message on Twitter with a Soundcloud link and a friendly request to check out his music. He’s got two EPs, Luminary, released in 2016, and Bloom, which was dropped this year. When I hit PLAY on the Bloom EP I immediately clicked back over to Twitter and set up this interview. I knew I was sitting on undiscovered gold and couldn’t wait to share this talent with everyone.
I’ve linked both of the EPs here so that you can listen while you read through the interview. This is radio ready music that’s just screaming to be heard…I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Give him a follow over on Twitter and Soundcloud so that you can stay up to date on news and releases!
And now, let’s talk to the man behind the music! I give you, Billy Clayton:
As a new artist on the scene, would you like to introduce yourself to everyone?
My name is Billy Clayton and I’m a singer-songwriter from the UK. So far, I have put out two EPs, each of which I have self-produced. Oh, and this interview will be a real gem in the future, so get in early.
Your music is a mix of so many different influences. Where did you draw inspiration from?
It’s hard to pinpoint the individual influences that have contributed to my general sound, but my mother used to be in an all girl punk band for many years. They made everything alone out of their pocket whilst maintaining day jobs and I think that might be partly the reason why I picked up my laptop and started doing everything independently instead of waiting to find collaborators or anything. My dad was in a band when I was a kid and he played ska music, whilst my mum would play lots of No Doubt. The house was extremely rock-orientated which never ended up being my sound, but there are definitely elements of those records in my music. As for my own modern day influences, I listen to a variety of alternative pop and electronic music. I have learned a lot about music production through listening to material from artists like Baths, Clams Casino and Grimes in particular. She is the director of absolutely everything you consume from her, from the beats, the vocals and through to the cover art illustrations and video narratives. I find it generally so impressive to see her using her creative instincts to each area of being a musician. I also draw influence from photography and visuals. I can see how my songs sound when I listen to them, which made creating artwork for each EP very easy.
What is your writing process like?
All of the lyrics I wrote for my two EPs were completed in the notes section of my phone. I find handwriting so tiring and I like to write prompts and lines down when I’m out in public. I don’t have a set place where the ideas for each song come to me, I’ve written lyrics in supermarkets or when I’m out for dinner. Lots of the best lines come to me at 2 in the morning or something ridiculous, but its always satisfying to get that final-product feeling, so its worth the insomnia!
What led you to writing and recording your own music?
I can honestly say that I am not cut out for anything else. Music is what I knew I’d be doing when I was in first school asking for a child’s PA system for Christmas. I used pocket money to buy albums from the age of 6 and I just loved it so much. I would catch music videos on TV or hear artists on the radio in my family home and listen so attentively. I’ve always used music as a form of escapism; both for heavy and simple reasons. Of course, I didn’t really have much confidence for many years growing up and I’d tell people I was going to be a photographer or film student, anything creative that you could do in school, because being a musician wasn’t and isn’t really accommodated for in the academic world and I think that sucks. If you’re compromising for the sake of your environment, I believe your true passion will show through and guide you eventually.
Who are some artists that you’re listening to these days?
I’ve just started listening to a French artist called Soko. I knew of her for some time but I only listened to an album of hers just a couple weeks ago. After all the chaotic sounds I’ve chased for a while, I found such a breath of fresh air in her gentleness and I like that the lyrics aren’t over complicating themselves. I’m also listening to Björks ‘Army Of Me’ on repeat after I remembered hearing it in Sucker Punch years ago. Sudden flashes of music I heard once in my life can easily end up being my most played song of the year.
Do you have any plans to put your music up for sale?
I considered taking the second EP to Spotify for its release, but I feel that establishing one solid platform for all your work as a new artist is the most effective so I’ve stuck to SoundCloud for now. Spreading your first recordings across all streaming services and selling them just to feel legitimised too soon can leave you finding it hard to gather a knowledge of who your audience is and how many plays you’re getting, so that’s been really beneficial for how I communicate my releases. I will definitely sell my music in the future though!
It’s close to Halloween! Favorite scary movie?
Any of my dreams for the past 20 years. Honestly! I’ve debated creating my dream plots into horror productions. If the music doesn’t work out maybe you’ll catch me pitching ideas to Tarantino. Just kidding.
Any parting words before we go?
I have so much to do and so much to say, but for now, you can find me in my musical puberty at soundcloud.com/billyclay. In 5 years when my voice is filling your car radio, you’ll be glad you clicked that link.
Thank you so much for having me!