For our first Clapper Sounds Interview, we are highlighting the amazing alternative folk artist: Darren Claxton!
Darren Claxton is a Clapper UK songwriter with undeniable talent when it comes to his craft. Our favorite thing about his music is how good and hopeful it makes us feel every time we listen to any of his songs. His raspy, soulful voice has an amazing range and we can’t wait to see his name in headlights.
Clapper Sounds is meant to be an intimate musical experience, and we want that mission to translate into our written interviews too. As you read about Darren, play his music in the background with our Spotify Playlist, and really get to know this artist’s unique sound.
Don’t miss Clapper Sounds Live Sessions, every Monday at 6pm CT!
Let’s start from the beginning. What is your first memory of being involved with music? How did you start your artist journey?
So, it was me, my dad and my sister. My dad brought us up on his own. My mum left us when I was very small, so it was only us three. He used to take us to gigs when I was very small. I’ve seen some amazing bands over the years. I remember seeing Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones and I was a tiny little toddler then. My dad used to creep us into gigs inside his big African coat. It was great music I was brought upon. Dad let me put these vinyl records on his record player and it was really expensive but he would let me do it. I was about 5-years-old and I used to watch the disk go around. I was just banging on stuff too, you know? So, I was a drummer first. Dad bought me a drum kit, and then, a guitar. Then, I just sort of taught myself.
I’ve always sung pretty quietly. I started working at school and I became a teacher. I got into a band together with the Deputy Head and he told me I could sing really good and I said, “I don’t think so.” So, he told me to just belt it out. It was just a confidence thing. I think a lot of people are really good, but they don’t know they’re good because they’re afraid of what other people might say. You just need to belt it out sometimes.
How would you describe your musical style? Who are your biggest inspirations?
Wow…My music style. Alternative Folk. It’s very original but there are a lot of influences in it. All my influences are in my songs, Fleetwood Mac, and some of the old blues influences. I love blues, all the greats, like B.B. King. That soulful, one guitar in Mississippi, a guy rocking on his porch with his whiskey. That’s amazing. The main genres really go back to percussion, classical music, and then blues. They were the trees of music.
What is your songwriting process like?
I’ve written a lot of songs. Some are good, some are okay. But I never sit and agonize over them. Some songs I’ve written in 5 or 10 minutes. I would just sit here and I would get a lyric in my head and write it down. Then, I’ll get my guitar right in the middle of doing something. I am ADHD, I got diagnosed later in life. Sometimes modern society just dictates that you need a label that explains why you do the things you do. But, yeah, there is always a guitar in the house for when my fingers start twitching and I need to play something.
What are your thoughts on content creation as an artist? How do you feel about artists having to balance their social media presence and still be committed to their art?
It can be a chore. It’s become a chore the last few months for me, trying to get more followers. Just got obsessed with getting more followers and it sort of took away the excitement, so I back off a bit. I got a manager now, he’s my friend. He helps me and he really has tighten up my instagram. It became a chore, but now it’s not a chore again. I felt pressure to post every day because if not I wasn’t going to be verified. Back then, bands did whatever they wanted. Jimmy Hendrix is one of my heroes and back in the seventies, he dressed like he wanted to dress and did what he wanted to do. He had a record label but he did what he wanted.
Do you have any side hustles other than music?
I left teaching in September of last year and I got this opportunity to run an NFT music platform, called NFT Tunz, and be the community manager. I direct the content, the Twitter, all that stuff. That takes a lot of my time. It’s really exciting I get to talk to musicians all the time. I was brought up to the team as a musician, so I could experience it first hand.
So, with NFT Tunz, we are giving power back to the musicians. You don’t need a publisher, you don’t have to answer to anybody. You can sell it for what you want to sell it for and upload it wherever you want. It gives the ownership back to them and it takes all those legalities off of us. We host them, we created this platform for musicians to do it themselves.
Deciding to be an artist can have its ups and downs. What advice would you give to that young artist who is just learning to play guitar, or starting singing lessons and their dream is to be a musician?
Share your music. Share your music wherever you can get honest feedback. Sharing it on the internet with strangers is the best way because they will not bullshit you. They will tell you straight if it’s good or not. On the back of that, you need to have thick skin and say, “Okay, 20 people don’t like it” and realize is probably not that good. You need to take that constructive criticism and keep going. For a young musician, I’d say, get out and play as much as you can. Play your songs to people, friends, and family. The community will tell you straight.
Make sure to check our recorded live session on our account Clapper Sounds and in our reels on Instagram.