Owen Brown AKA Clarity has landed into the premier league of drum & bass like the second coming. Delivering an absolutely disgusting 12" on Exit Records at the age of 17. Yes 17, It makes us sick too... Well, hats off as we meet the man himself.
Drum & bass is known for being a technically genre to produce. As the years pass, the masters only get better thus raising the bar for the entry level produces to meet. There are artists from back in the day who earned their stripes at any early age; Andy C, Potential Bad Boy, J Majik and so on, but these days it is a lot rarer. This is at least true at the top end of the genre.
Clarity has somewhat bucked this trend. At only 17, he has releases coming or out already on a slew of top labels, and now on dBridge's Exit Records.
First off I think it is important we mention your age... Because people listening to your music will be surprised to hear that you are only 17! You're making music well beyond your years, and you're turning all of the right heads... the last year has been pretty good for you?
Thanks! Yeah, the last year has been really exciting for me. I’ve worked hard on my production and I feel like I’m starting to go somewhere with it. The last year was really just a chance to put my head down and crack on with writing music and I think that’s paid off. It’s wicked to be receiving such good support already too.
"Fractured"/ "Off The Cuff" seems to be a really good fit for the Exit Records catalogue. Exit is a benchmark in the careers of many artists and you've managed to secure your own 12" right at the beginning of yours. How did the 12" come about?
At first I was just sending tracks across to Darren on AIM, he told me he liked them and played a couple out, so I just kept sending him music regularly. The moment then came where he asked me if I was willing to do a 12” for Exit. Initially I was really surprised at the proposal as I’d only been sending him music for a short time. To me Exit is the perfect label for my music and it’s allowed me to write what I want without any limitations on my creativity. And for me personally the release is everything I would want for a 12".
I think the release represents my sound well and obviously fits in with Exit's catalogue.
"To me Exit is the perfect label for my music and it’s allowed me to write what I want without any limitations on my creativity."
There are clear parallels to be drawn between your music and that of dBridge, Blocks, Skeptical and that whole moody industrial sound, but beyond drum & bass, where do you find inspiration musically?
All over the place. I love film so that has to be a huge inspiration – the whole idea of creating an image with sound plays a big part in my music. I guess my surroundings have a score on my music too. Being in the countryside away from the city chaos helps when writing music.
My musical inspirations beyond drum and bass come from hip hop, techno/ house, etc. I’m fairly open minded, so if I like something, even if it’s pop, I’ll listen to it.
You live in Plymouth, not exactly known for cutting edge drum & bass is it? Given your relative isolation from any of the traditional breading grounds for drum & bass especially given that you’re not quite old enough to go to clubs (Legally), how did you discover the music and has your location shaped your sound in any way?
I think the first time I heard drum and bass was when I was listening to some of my brother’s CDs, I think it was a Friction D&BA mix. It had such a variety of tunes within one genre/ tempo, and it sounded completely different to the music on the radio which often sounds the same, so I was captivated straight away. The production then came later on just out of curiosity when a friend introduced me to FL Studio.
"I think the first time I heard drum and bass was when I was listening to some of my brother’s CDs."
Plymouth definitely has some factor on the output of music I make. drum & bass is limited in Plymouth and only has a couple of ‘underground’ nights such as Fractal and Unleashed. But there’s a lot of other music around. It’s quite strange being so far away from where you would associate the drum & bass ‘scene’ and where the popular nights are, you kind of feel out of it a bit. But I think that’s a good thing.
Although a large amount of my inspiration does come from drum & bass music, not being influenced by the scene completely is good; I think it’s beneficial to have an outside perspective on things.
Artists breaking through at a young age is certainly rarer than it used to be. Artists like J Majik, Source Direct and Fierce all broke through at a similar age. With that in mind, where would you like to see yourself in 15 years musically?
That’s quite a long way away! To be honest I have no real plan for my music. I feel if you have plans for something it isn’t as exciting and you often tend to limit yourself quite a bit. I would prefer to take opportunities as they come and as I have done before, you never know in 15 years drum & bass music could have changed massively. I just want to keep working hard on music and start exploring other tempos which I’ve been doing recently. It’s a very open question, who knows, I may not even be producing in 15 years’ time.
Clarity - "Fractured"/ "Off The Cuff" is out on Exit Records 21/5/12