CLAWS are celebrating the release of their debut album Feel it All this Friday May 1st at 529.
Some bands hit me by surprise. They emerge on the scene out of nowhere or maybe it is my own unawareness. CLAWS can be categorized as a band unknown to some but they aren’t novice. Graham Marsh, one part of pop duo CLAWS, has produced for an extensive list of well known musicians before deciding to embark on his own project. Amber Renee has a voice that stands out among so many female vocalists in the spotlight. CLAWS will be a vital part of the Atlanta music scene but they will also do so much more. They were kind enough to answer a few questions about their musical background, the upcoming album release show for Feel it All, and their take on the Atlanta Music Scene.
Listen to the album Feel it All at the end of the interview and come out to 529 this Friday to what it sure to be a great night!
Tell me about CLAWS. (How long has CLAWS been a band, who’s in the band, type of music.)
Just a little background on us:
CLAWS is an alt-pop duo comprised of sultry siren Amber Renee and four-time Grammy winning producer & multi-instrumentalist Graham Marsh. After a decade of working at the highest levels of the music industry with stars like Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars, and T.I., Graham became disillusioned with the pop music world. At the height of his commercial success in 2012, he quit his job as Cee Lo Green’s right-hand man to pursue a music career that would fulfill him creatively. As if by a greater design, he soon met Amber, a grad school dropout moonlighting as an alt-pop singer at Atlanta venues like Eddie’s Attic and Smith’s Olde Bar. The pair began writing together in the Summer of 2013 and realized that this was the collaboration they had each been searching for. CLAWS completed their debut album Feel It All one year later, which includes the talents of several Atlanta legends, including Preston Crump (Outkast, Goodie Mob), Keisha Jackson (Outkast), Kennard Garrett (Case), and Slick Barnes (India Arie, David Anthony).
As for the band, it’s just the two of us. But when we perform live, we usually play with our keyboardist Kennard Garrett and background vocalist Slick Barnes. We’ve been together for two years and we describe ourselves as alt-pop. In case it helps, we were recently described as “possess[ing] the edge of the Black Keys with the accessibility of Purity Ring and the magnetic force of The xx” by Yaqui.co.
Graham, what has it been like going from being a producer to being in a band or is this not the first project you’ve been apart of?
The central difference is that when I’m working on other people’s records, I’m facilitating their visions. With CLAWS, I get to develop my own vision with Amber, so creatively, it’s a different process.
You have an album release coming up, what was the process like recording and is this CLAWS first full album release.
Feel It All is CLAWS’ debut album. As a duo, we write all of the songs together. Amber writes lyrics and melody, and Graham does all of the music and production. Our process for recording this album was unique, in that we were able to collaborate with a lot of Atlanta legends to bring our vision to life. Preston Crump played bass, who worked on Outkast, TLC and Goodie Mob records. Keisha Jackson, the daughter of Millie Jackson and Outkast’s traveling background vocalist, did backgrounds and a feature on Feel It All. Grammy nominated musicians Slick Barnes (India Arie) and Kennard Garrett (Case) also played pivotal roles in the creation of the record—Slick wrote and sang backgrounds while Kennard played keys and arranged strings on several songs. On the technical side, along with Graham, we had some really amazing mixing and mastering engineers involved, including two-time Grammy winner Ralph Cacciurri (Outkast), four-time Grammy winner John Frye (T.I., TLC, Outkast), five-time Grammy winner Miles Walker (Katy Perry, Rihanna) and six-time Grammy winner John Horesco (Mariah Carey, TLC). It was a really incredible experience working with so many talented people. We’re all friends, so there really is nothing better than being creative in a room full of people you love and respect.
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