Don’t let his young age fool you — Todd Clouser is an accomplished man. At a mere 29-years-old, Todd’s collaboration of 70’s rock and jazz music has been described as “genre-defying.” All the while, he has plans to tour the nation and continues to work as a music educator and advocate of the arts in his home of Mexico.
Todd chatted with Sonic Eclectic about his new album, Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric, and his life as a musician.
Sonic Eclectic: How long have you been composing music?
Todd Clouser: I started playing when I was about 11. I’m 29 now, so about 18 years. Composing was something that I did that came pretty naturally, and has always been my favorite part. Just sitting down and writing. There’s a playful aspect to it, kind of child-like. It’s almost like a puzzle–once you kind of have some musical knowledge, you can kind of place these little pieces together and hope something comes out and then improvise with it. It’s a complete joy to me. Composing is a real natural outlet for me, and it’s definitely grown over time to a place now where I feel more comfortable with what’s coming out, so that makes me want to write more.
SE: What was your process of songwriting for A Love Electric?
TC: It varies from tune to tune, but generally I write on the piano. I start with just one element; whether it be a bass line that I really dig–like in Curtis, the bass line is just lifted from Pleasure Man–and I kind of go from there. Placing different chords, just trying things out, and seeing what I like, and trusting myself to make those decisions. I know over the certain element of what I begin is something that’s come about in time. [There’s] less self-doubt, less insecurity, and I think that only comes by doing it, at least in my case.
SE: You mentioned that, as a musician, you always feel some sense of insecurity. How do you think you’ve grown to overcome that?
TC: I don’t think it ever goes away, just judging by my experience with more successful musicians. For me, to overcome it – at least with my writing – I think it’s only by doing it and failing, as sad as that sounds, and kind of persisting through that failure. A lot of things to overcome that insecurity with music have come from working in my life outside of music. It’s an internal process of trying to find some sort of serenity in my life, and that carries over to what gets played.
SE: Have you found that your non-profit music program, Arts Day Out, has helped at all?
TC: Yeah, it really does. Teaching is a whole piece of that. The Arts Day program is incredible because it just offers me, and everyone who is involved, a chance to connect with the joy and the playfulness in music.
SE: If you had to describe the new album in three words, what would they be?
TC: Electric, jazz, other.
“Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric” is available Tuesday, February 1 on Ropeadope Records.