by: Thomas D. Mooney
If you look at Kolton Moore, you may be surprised that such a dark, bluesy voice comes from such a young man. I’m sure Moore still gets carded at R-rated movies. But damn, can he bring the heat with his almost raspy, soulful croon.
Moore & The Clever Few’s newest record, How Did I Get Here, finds the band with another batch of bluesy “Texas Country” songs that hinge on that line between rock and roll and country. While still young, the Weatherford-based Clever Few have still been able to carve out their own distinct sound. It’d be ignorant to say Moore’s figured it all out, but you can’t help but think he’s on the path towards being both a radio friendly sound and one that’s still built and focused on depth and substance.
We caught up with Moore for a few questions this past week to discuss How Did I Get Here, his progression as an artist, and what’s already up around the bend. Kolton Moore & The Clever Few will be playing The Blue Light tonight (Thursday, Jan. 23), which also happens to be the band’s album release show here in Lubbock.
New Slang: You released your last record, Dear Mom, around this time last year. You’re now releasingHow Did I Get Here this month. That’s pretty quick turnaround between records–especially for someone so fresh in their career. Why’d you want to get a new record out so quickly?
Kolton Moore: We just want to keep fresh in everyone’s mind. That’s been one of our goals. We want to do a record a year if we can. We’ve got really good people who want to work with us that allow us to do that. Money is an issue with everybody, but we get helped out in that part. We’ve got material we can always record. One of our biggest influences–not just musically, but in the music business in general–is Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. He’s said multiple times that if they could put out a new record every week, they would. That’d be best. That gives your fans a lot of new songs. That’s one of our main goals; keeping fresh in everyone’s mind.
NS: What’s some of the major differences between the two records? Were there things that you acknowledged that you wanted to try differently this time around?
KM: Maturity was the main thing that was different. We knew that’d come with time. Just playing together for another year helps. Playing 200 shows. My songwriting has gotten a lot better in just the two years. Being on the road, playing, and just getting older has helped. Like you said, it was our first full-length record. I had recorded an EP the year before that when I was around 17. First time I had ever stepped foot inside a studio. I didn’t really have any say so because I really didn’t know what or how to do anything. I went to the producer and said, “these are my songs. I’m going to sing and play them. You do everything else. You do all the magic.” With Dear Mom, I had a little more say. This past record, I co-produced it. I was there for every step of the process. Going over guitars and drums. Mixing and mastering. All of it. That’s really been the main difference: my maturity in the studio and as an artist.
NS: What were you most surprised by in the engineering and producing side of things? What’d you think was going to be easier?
KM: I didn’t realize how long it took to mix a song. Mastering is tweaking the mixing so it’s not as tedious as mixing. I didn’t realize just all that went into mixing a song. I like doing it on my stuff, but I don’t know if I could do that full-time or anything.
NS: With this batch of songs, what’s the oldest?
KM: Probably “Set Free.” We actually played it at our CD release party for Dear Mom. We’ve been playing it live for a year now. I think that’s partly why it came out so well. I think that’s why a lot of them did actually. They’re all really seasoned songs. We got to play around with them and change them up over that time. So instead of doing our pre-production in the studio a few weeks before, we did it out on the road for a year. I really enjoyed doing that. I think that’s what made the songs have a more live feel. With Dear Mom, it did too, but just up to a point. You can tell a change between when they were recorded and how we play them now.
NS: What’s been the last idea you’ve written down for a song?
KM: I wrote one–we’ll play it. We’ve been playing it for the last few weeks. It’s called “Hiding in the Wind.” My guitar player Ryan text me on Monday asking what direction we should go in with the next record. I told him “Calm down. We just got this one out. [laughs].” We’ve heard great things all over the place about this record. It just gets us excited about what we want to do next though. With “Hiding in the Wind,” it obviously sounds like us, but I guess it’s more singer-songwriter styled. I’ve got plans to do an acoustic EP sometime during the summer. It’ll be five or six songs. It’ll just be me and my guitar and maybe a little bit of organ and violin. It’ll be a more intimate sound. I don’t know if you heard my first EP, but it was just me acoustic. It’s something I kind of want to go back to. I know there’s a crowd who enjoys that. I’ve got probably eight or 10 songs to pick from for that.