You’ve probably dragged your heavy books through the Student Center while using all your energy to keep your gaze straight-ahead on the “catwalk”—the only path in between the benches at the terrace. And more importantly, you’ve probably tried to keep your attention away from the Student Center stage where X band attempts to gain the attention of students eating their $6 salads or drinking their frappuccinos in that mermaid cup.
One of these bands has probably unexpectedly made you slow down your pace. Maybe it’s because of drummer Brijesh Pandya’s (first-year music major) jazzy sticking and funky rhythms. But, it’s probably due to James Clarke, the main writer and singer for his band Clarke, who sounds a little like that guy from Maroon 5. After completing its first EP (simply self-titled) earlier this year, Clarke looks to get its music out of open mics and into an intimate venue near you.
New University: How’d you guys get started?
James Clarke: Last year, I did a lot of solo stuff and played around campus. I met [Pandya] in music class.
New U: Where do you guys usually play?
Clarke: Usually open mics in Santa Ana at the Gypsy Den or Alta in Newport [Beach].
New U: I saw you guys playing on Ring Mall the other day and your vocals seem to be the integral part of your music. Do you take lessons?
Clarke: For singing you can’t get trained, it’s all style.
New U: So, Brijesh Pandya, the Maroon 5 influence is obvious. But who else do you listen to for some inspiration?
Brijesh Pandya: I’m really into REM right now and mostly soul and jazz. But [Francis, our guitarist, and I] are really into Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
New U: You guys finished your self-titled EP not too long ago, how was it like being in the studio?
Pandya: It was a really fun experience for me. It was my first time in a professional studio.
Clarke: Yeah, I basically wanted to be around for [the entire] … recording, so I lived in that studio for a month. There was one day where I worked 10 hours straight with no breaks.
New U: You guys seem to have a lot of fun on stage. What’s your favorite song to perform?
Pandya: I love playing drums in general, [but especially] for this band because everything is so funky. But “Gettin’ Lucky” is the big one.
Clarke: Yeah, that’s a good song. I also like “The Bleed.” I basically wrote that song with the idea that it would be something everyone liked, and it turns out most people do.
New U: You guys have been around the block this year as far as on-campus performances (Starbucks, Take Back the Night, more recently Fashion Interest Group’s show). What was your most memorable show?
Pandya: Our show at The District was pretty cool. It was so Goo Goo Dolls style [in reference to the band continuing to play despite rain]. Our show last week for Fashion Interest Group was interesting, too. Being surrounded by all those well-dressed people when I was the sweaty drummer was a little awkward.