Creative People

5 Questions with Clare Bowditch + Giveaway!!

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
12th of August 2010

Clare Bowditch's brand new album Modern Day Addiction! Cover art and design by Ortolan.
Ok so the problem with me is that I gush about everyone.  So then when I meet someone who is truly some kind of radiant, ethereal angel, I have no way to accurately describe how AMAZING they are, because I am always banging on about how amazing people are. BUT the truth is, some people are just a little bit more amazing than others.  And Clare Bowditch is most definitely one of those people.   It is  impossible not to fall in love with her on the spot.  Everyone who knows her is in love with her.  My boyfriend is even in love with her, and I am ok with that.  Because I am in love with her too. :)  She just has some kind of magical serene energy about her - being in her company is a bit hypnotising... truly!  It's like she has 'The Force' from Star Wars.  She could say anything really and you'd be hanging onto every word.  Luckily, Ms Bowditch uses her powers for good and not evil! Recently Clare's powers have been put to very good use recording her brand new album Modern Day Addiction, with her spunky partner / drummer Marty Brown.  In BERLIN.  This is particularly impressive given that Marty and Clare have 3 very young children!?  These are touring musicians, people!  I have no idea how that works.. but anyway...IMPRESSIVE!
Coolest. Parents. Ever.

Clare  and co. would love to give 5 lucky Design Files readers a signed copy of Modern Day Addiction! Oooh la la so special!! Please leave your comment here before midnight tonight (Melbourne time) to be in the running!  If you subscribe to these posts by email, please don't reply to your email, just pop over to to enter!

*Update - This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks so much for all your brilliant comments!  The 5 winners have now been drawn!  Winning comments were numbers 6, 20, 33, 56 and 68 - Beth, Chris, Pete, Michelle, Bridget - congratulations! I have just sent you an email! :)

HUGE Thanks to Clare and Marty and the whole gang for this super brilliant giveaway!   Don't forget to pop over to Clare's website and have a listen to the fab new album... you won't be disappointed!

AND now over to the lovely lady herself...

5 Questions with Clare Bowditch!

- Modern Day Addiction is so different from your previous work... political-disco - genius!  How did this brilliant new sound hit you?!  Was it a bolt of inspiration in the middle of the night?  Or has it been simmering for quite some time?

That is an excellent question and the truth is, it was both of those things. The first song from this set of songs was called The Start of War, and when it arrived in my head half-way through a solo tour in 2008, I wasn't quite sure where to put it! So I laid it down on my loop-pedal and tried to work out what it was all about. To be honest, it kind of scared me,  because as humans we DO get comfortable with the sounds and smells and people who are familiar, and so too with music of course. But it also got me really excited, so I sat with it for a while just to work out whether there was any more where that came from.

Perhaps this is why we needed to go to Berlin for a while - to just make a bit of room for something new to come through. And I think it did. Having said this, this is still very much a 'Clare Bowditch' kind of an album:  I haven't gone and had a full-body make-over, if you know what I mean. But I think the themes we're playing around with on this album really required a lot of humour and a lot of immediacy in the sound. We put two straight years of our lives and everything we've got into this one - my great hope is that people will enjoy it thoroughly!!!

- I just read on Twitter that you and the New Slang gang are giving up your 'MDAs' for a week!?  What is your MDA?  How is that little experiment going?!

Yes, so we've decided to walk our talk for a week and do a little experiential observation project (via videos and blogs) where we become our own guinea pigs! It's a way for us to get some insight into whether there is a relationship between 'everyday' anxieties and 'everyday' addictions, which is one of the questions Modern Day Addiction poses. The glorious thing is how willing the New Slang were to take me on in this challenge!  Rach has given up sugar, Warren and Annabelle are putting aside their internet-addictions, Marty won't be drinking and Tim is giving up something which is actually one of his greatest coping strategies: eating toast.

I already gave up a few of mine in the making of this album, so what's left is this thing called 'Late Night Stimulation', which sounds a hell of a lot sexier than it is. It's when you spend your nights on the computer working, workaholic-ing (Lucy, does this sound familiar?) or tweeting, or texting, or phoning, or watching TV, or doing anything you can to avoid 'switching off'. So for the next week, I'll be spending from night-fall to sun-up avoiding all un-necessary electronic equipment, turning off lights and living by candlelight. How this will be possible the week before an album comes out is beyond me, but so be it!  My only exception to this will be 'v-logging the experiment'!

- Your number one collaborator is your lovely fella Marty - how do you go living together, wrangling 3 kids together, working together,  performing together?  Is it a match made in musico heaven?  What is your special secret to a brilliant life/work relationship (and being a great Mum too?!)

Marty? Marty is practically a saint, that's how! A very very tall saint. And our secret as a family is not such a secret, it's simply an acceptance of the terms, which we like to call 'delicious chaos!' All parents of young families know this feeling I think!  It's akin to riding an incredibly powerful wave: in good moments, we're happy because we accept that we're being carried towards a shore, and we may as well enjoy the ride in the meantime. In uncertain times, we feel like we're drowning and we can't see the shore yet and we don't know where the steering wheel is and so on and so on. Whenever a human being enters into the 'procreation game', there's an incredible amount of risk and trust involved, always.

But I think ultimately, we just kind of trust that what we're doing is what our muses compel us to do, and that there is indeed value and a good-example to be set by following your heart.  Although to be honest, right now, my daughter just wants me to quit music and get a job in a cup-cake shop, so we'll see how this plays itself out in years to come. - You often work with Kat Macleod and the very clever ladies at Ortolan graphic design studio for your cover art... how did this relationship come about?  What is it about Ortolan that you love?

I was in a bookshop seven years ago and I picked up this incredible book called 'Bird' by 3 deep Design, and it was so incredible that I wrote down the name of the artist, Kat Macleod, and tried very hard to locate her on the interwebbie! But no luck. Then I saw that she had designed some post-cards for Kleins Perfumery, and I took one home and stuck it to my wall. For some reason I assumed she was French and very well-known (but only in French, which is why I couldn't find her on the interwebbie). One day a journalist called Dan came to my house to write a story, and asked me what kind of art I liked, and I pointed to the post-card and said 'Her art. I like her art. I think she's French. Her name is Kat Macleod' and Dan scoffed into his coffee and said 'Kat Macleod? She's my housemate! I'll introduce you!' and the rest is history.

What do I love about Ortolan?  Kat, Sim, Chloe, and the delightful Narelle?  Their curiosity. Their concentration. Their belief in the value of making something truly beautiful, which always takes a great deal more time and life-juice than the packaged variety.

- What's your favourite little pocket of Melbourne and why? I have so many! I live in the north, and it is probably where I belong most, but I must admit that I also have a deep and abiding affection for Elwood, which is where my Father grew up. And one day, when I grow up and write a hit song for Lady Gaga, I'm going to buy a second house there. We will spend weekdays in Brunswick, and weekends in Elwood. It will be 'the perfect lifestyle'. Do you think there really is a perfect 'lifestyle' Lucy? And could someone please tell me, what does the word 'lifestyle' actually mean? See - this is why I need the Design Files: to set me straight.

HA! I think you've got the 'lifestyle' thing waaay more sussed than me, CB...!  I seriously need a lesson in life / blog balance!

If you would like to get a better idea just how amazingly lovely Clare is, you can follow her brilliant tweets, and I really think you should also watch this hilarious little video, documenting Clare's progress with her  'Modern Day Addiction Experiment' this week...!

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