ROCKWiRED NOTES: SPLiT SECOND MELTDOWN
or years ROB CLORES ha made a decent coin and a reputation for himself as a go-to keyboardist. The New York City-based musician has toured and recorded with the likes of JESSE MALIN, THE BLACK CROWES, TOM JONES, COLIN HAY (of MEN AT WORK) and JOHN POPPER (of BLUES TRAVELER). Laying down the keys for said artists has made for an impressive resume but, in speaking with CLORES over the phone, it was clear that the need to step from behind the keyboard and up to the front of the stage was where the man wanted to be. Now the rock n roll journeyman has stepped into light as a recording artist with his solo project SPLIT SECOND MELTDOWN and it's self-titled debut EP. CLORES has picked a fine time to try to make a splash as a recording artist given what the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the world a more specifically the - music industry. However, with SPLIT SECOND MELTDOWN, CLORES has managed to issue music that speaks to the dystopia that we are currently living in. You can hear it on the EP's first single FLESH AND BLOOD. THE STONES' GIMME SHELTER may have painted a rockin' picture of doomsday, but FLESH AND BLOOD tells the tale in real time and the gritty rock n roll stomp never relents while the BAD RELIGION-esque NOBODY LEFT BUT ME continues the doom and gloom and establishes CLORES and SPLIT SECOND MELTDOWN as an artist with something to say. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with ROB CLORES regarding the new EP. Here is how the interview went.
SPLIT SECOND MELTDOWN's self-titled EP is out there for people to listen to and it is your first time emerging as a recording artist as opposed to being a keyboard player in the background. How does it feel to emerge as a solo artist with the release of this album?
It feels good. I just wish I had done it a long time ago but for the longest time I never felt like I had anything to say. I had tried to release an instrumental recording a couple of years ago but nothing ever became of it. I just think there is something to music with lyrics and something to say. The power of words is very important and now I have a lot that I want to say and to hear the completed work is truly satisfying and gratifying. I feel like an artist now. It feels good being the one out front for once. For years I sat behind a keyboard for other people. Now I'm the guy with the guitar who is up front.
So far, what kind of reactions have you been able to gauge from the release of the EP?
So far the response has been really supportive and a lot of it has come from my peers. It's great to be getting responses from fellow musicians telling me that they really like what I'm doing and the songs seem to have caught their attention with the words and the time changes and the instrumentals. The reaction that I've been getting feels really good. Really encouraging.
CHECK OUT THE LYRiC ViDEO FOR FLESH AND BLOOD!!!
How long did it take for you to put this release together?
A few years ago I got the idea that I wanted to release something and I turned to a couple of my friends JD DESERVIO of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and BOB PANTELLA of MONSTER MAGNET and ATOMIC BITCHWAX. I really felt that they could help figure out this sound that I was trying to come up with so we bounced things around back and forth and came up with 4 or five songs and then I took the songs to some very close friends of mine in LA and started bringing these songs to life. We had the first two songs completed earlier this year and going forward I just picked the songs that were my favorite.
What inspired this set of songs for you debut EP?
I think with the initial songs it was about coming up with a heavy sound and really embracing that heavy rock energy. I wanted to create something with some groove but I also wanted something with content and a lot of that stemmed from my own personal point of view on things as well as some of my angst. Some of the songs that I wrote for this EP were in that RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE vein but I didn't want to present myself as political. However the song NOBODY LEFT BUT ME from the EP is probably the most political song I've ever written and the song FLESH AND BLOOD is about everything that we are experiencing with the pandemic.
COVID-19 has chipped away at the music industry and no one saw it coming. As a musician, how have you managed to stay afloat?
No one saw it coming. Fortunately I do a lot of studio session work and I write a lot of music for clients so despite how dire it looks with everything happening with COVID-19, I've managed to be okay despite live playing being out of the question right now. I'm still able to make a living.
Being an artist based in New York City, describe what it was like when New York was ground zero for the virus.
It was pretty unbelievable. I was incredibly shocked. I was out of the country for a little bit and when I returned on March 14 everything was closed and the streets were empty. I never could've imagined the streets of New York City - the city that never sleeps - being empty. It was pretty surreal. Right now things are starting to emerge and we're dealing with it better than they were, but people still need to be safe. It's a strange time to be alive.
How did music being for you?
I started at a very young age with piano lessons. My dad played both piano and guitar so I grew up in a musical family. I was about 10 or 12 years old when I discovered my uncle's record collection and was blown away by it. There was something about looking at the picture of the zeppelin on fire on the cover of LED ZEPPELIN I that got to me and the music even more so. It was a huge thing for me and it was the beginning of me being a rock fan and soon after that I found rock music creeping into my piano playing. It was the music that got me through high school. In fact my first ever concert was BLACK SABBATH.
Describe the songwriting process for you. How do you go about it?
When I'm writing a song it's usually the music that comes first and then coming up with the lyrics, although lately, I've found myself trying to write songs in a different way. The idea for a song can come from a riff or a melody and you build the song from there and I have this fondness for chord changes and once all of that is put together, I try to think of what it is that I want to say. These days I find myself writing more and more and it is exciting to to see a song evolve from a phrase or a lyric to a full fledged song.
From the EP, what songs off of it have you the most excited to get people to hear and why?
I would have to say CHASING A DREAM which is the first song on the EP. It starts of at 7/8 time and then goes into the more standard 4/4 time with this amazing guitar solo and then ends it a totally unexpected way. I like THE HEAVY SONG because it has this great organ solo. THE LAST SONG has a lot of interesting chord changes and kind of runs contrary to the first song FLESH AND BLOOD which is a much more direct rock song.
The songs on this EP sounds if they could lend themselves well to some sort of visual accompaniment. Any plans for music videos?
Oh yes. Right now I've got a lyric video out for FLESH AND BLOOD and it's got images and footage of New York City and it's pretty chilling when you consider everything that we've gone through with the coronavirus when the lyrics read that, "New York City is the place to be / Except when there's a killer you can't see." There is also a video in the works for NOBODY LEFT BUT ME and I'm actually going to be in the video.
What would you like for someone to come away with after they have listened to the EP?
I just hope that they like it and that they come away wanting more. With this EP behind me I'm really excited to continue.
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