Cautious Clay has been erring on the side of boldness over the past year or so. From entering the conversation with “Cold War”, to putting on an NPR Tiny Desk Concert and performing on Instagram live with John Mayer, the Brooklyn singer, songwriter, and elaborate texture spinner has been busy, to say the least.
Lucky for me, he still made the time for a quick chat and, even though it took some restraint on my part not to ask for every single detail of what John Mayer is like in person, Cautious laid out some compelling details about his new song “Honest Enough”, the upcoming EP, and playing his guitar upside down. Have a read, have a listen, have a blast.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions, man. It seems kinda boring to just ask what all the recent success has been like, so I’ll narrow it down – how much fun was giving an NPR Tiny Desk Concert? I really dig the Dick Dale-esque upside-down strung guitar.
Haha, it’s been a lot of fun! I actually don’t re string the guitar I just play a right handed guitar upside down but very similar. Having a small choir for Tiny Desk really made a difference in the sound too.
The new song, “Honest Enough”, has a really chilly, spacious vibe to the production, but pretty honed-in and direct feeling vocals and lyrics. How do you balance the somewhat intangible, textural elements of a song’s emotionality versus the more forthright lyrical messages when you’re setting out to express a specific thing or feeling in a song?
It’s always a balance of feelings. I felt like the ethereal production matched the falsetto parts. So much of what I wanted to express was about highlighting the dynamics of the production.
John Mayer’s something of a personal deity to me so, I have to ask – what was it like playing with him on his Instagram show “Current Mood”? Obviously there would be a million musical lessons to glean from a guy like that, but what impression do you feel like you might have made on him?
I definitely feel like some of my perspectives on production or just writing styles may have rubbed off. There is so much that we have in common on that front; it’s kinda surprising. I’ve always had a ton of respect and admiration for him but getting to know him on a personal level has made all the difference.
What does everyone need to know about your upcoming EP and the tour dates you’re going to be playing, other than not to miss them?
I’m going further into a lot of what I have done with Blood Type and RESONANCE. There are also some collaborations and more acoustically driven songs on project.
Beyond that, is there anything that’s a bit intimidating about putting out new music, being in a more prominent position than ever before?
I feel really excited about the music I have coming and I’m feeling more comfortable exploring different sounds and styles.