As many are now becoming intensely aware, moombahton’s success at inception has been heavily reliant upon familiar samples being nestled in the comforting arms of cumbia, dembow, house, soul and reggaeton rhythms. The rare exception to the rule is the velvet smooth voice of 25 year old London, England crooner Alex Clare.
In November 2010, the single “Up All Night,” a yarn about a betrothed man involved in a tawdry bender overwhelmed the blogosphere with its fresh take on Carribean melodies and riddims. The auteurs responsible for the sound, producers Diplo and Switch, Mad Decent Records’ madcap reggae soundclashers, Major Lazer. Clare’s debut album, The Lateness of the Hour is scheduled for European release on July 11th, and features tracks crafted as Clare took a journey to legendary homes of earnest soul, jazz capital New Orleans and reggae’s most inspirational homeland, Jamaica.
Moombahton becomes involved in this tale as Moombahton’s inventor Dave Nada, and Nadastrom production partner Matt Nordstom were called in by their Dubsided label chief Switch, and close friend Diplo to remix tracks “Up All Night” and “Too Close” in the moombahton style. The Washington, DC natives took two intensely strong performances that recall the power of Delta soul and classic R & B dredged in modern production, making them massively anthemic summer tracks, perfect for warm, idyllic and amber sunset tinged romantic memories.
I had the opportunity to interview this most exciting new soulful voice on the nature of creating this album, as well as moombahton. Enjoy!
When were you first introduced to soul music, and who were some of your key inspirations to become a singer/songwriter? Who have you added to that list that you’re now a signed artist in a perpetual creative mode?
I think the first soul music I heard was probably Get Up, by James Brown, but to be honest, I’ve always had a Stevie Wonder fetish, its like its always just been there. Singer/songwriter wise he’s up there, but there are alot of musicians I’d class as influences/heros from Donny Hathaway, Desmond Dekker, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan to Count Basie, Cole Porter and Tony Joe White.
You had the ability to write so much of your album in such traditionally soulful locales as New Orleans and Jamaica. Was that a label move to aid your process, or was that something that you did of your own free will? Did the journey influence any songs, or were you just looking for a great location to put down ideas you already had?
I think it just worked out like that coz Diplo and Switch didn’t want to be in LA, and I didnt want to be in London to start things off, so New Orleans and Jamaica where the best half(ish) way points, as we could find good studios and good musicians at our finger tips. Yeah, the location definitely influenced a few of the tunes. “Humming Bird” would never been written if it wasnt for seeing them in Jamaica, and “Up All Night” was written in New Orleans, with the prospect of a mental night ahead.