WXJM had the privilege of chatting with CLAVVS last week about early beginnings, their creative process, and what type of impact they want to have in the music world.
By: Marissa Walker
Can you name a hypnotic, alt-pop, spectral trip-hop, good-feeling duo in the DIY scene?
Take some time think about it, do your Googling if you must, but CLAVVS is the answer.
CLAVVS is a music group composed of vocalist and writer Amber Renee and producer Graham Marsh.
The two met at a house party in Atlanta in the summer of 2013, and have been jamming ever since.
Seriously, they met and literally started jamming.
At the party.
Almost four years later the band still uses this “pull-up-and-play” style when they’re putting together projects.
“We don’t plan it, she writes it and I just know”, Marsh said.
“I’ll start with chords and she just comes in with the lyrics.”
The pairing of the two couldn’t be more perfect — Renee was a creative writing major at Georgia State and Marsh is a seasoned music engineer who’s been in the industry for 10+ years.
Renee was working towards her master’s degree when she, with the support of a female colleague, decided to pursue music full-time.
“I just had a feeling”, Renee said.
Renee’s background in literature played a role in the pair’s selection of their group name.
Captivated by the striking character flaws in the highly objectified Greek sirens,
CLAWS felt like the perfect name for the group. However, the name was already taken and for logistical reasons their band name was changed to CLAVVS.
It’s cooler, right?
Similar to Renee, Marsh was a political science student who left school to become a music engineer intern. He eventually would go on to music school and work with a number of artist and even racked up some Grammys.
Despite this, CLAVVS wants to stay out of the Grammy limelight and remain in the independent-DIY scene.
“The Grammys are lovely but that’s not what we’re about”, Renee said.
“We want to keep our creative integrity and make music that resonates with the people.”
Marsh, the four time winner, calls the often times out of touch award show “political” and “static”.
The word static isn’t synonymous with anything the duo does, so their distance from the “golden record” circuit makes sense.
The band has a progressive R&B like sound that’s light enough to be considered pop but edgy enough to categorize as alternative.
It’s almost indescribable.
The track ‘Siren’ from their new album “World Under Water” encapsulates this feeling.
Described by Renee as “The most chill, honest, and beautiful.”
It’s easy to get caught in the “psychedelic” vibes, but the steady beat brings you back and helps you maintain a rhythm, almost like you're vibrating with the song.
This new sound that the group brings comes from Marsh’s love for experimenting with sounds, especially with West African blues and genres dealing with the pentatonic scale.
And almost like a s’more over an open fire, Renee melts her words and vocals right into tracks creating a perfect tension between the rhythm and lyrics.
In the future, the band wouldn’t mind working with a chill record label, but priorities are to remain true to the people and the sound.
The east Atlanta band just wrapped up an East coast tour, and will be playing at Atlanta’s Sweetwater Festival on April 23, so it seems like they’re doing fine on their own.
Thanks to our good friend the Internet, down to earth artist like Renee and Marsh have an easier way to connect to their listeners and fans through multiple streaming mediums like bandcamp and soundcloud without compromise.
Music’s sharp turn into the digital world makes it possible for consumers to experience refreshing music. Sounds like CLAVVS fortifies the DIY community.