Love. Life. Redemption. Themes Clemency, a band comprised of brothers Jason and Paul Watkins, found themselves unafraid to explore in their new EP, You've Got the Fire, out today. It's a record that upon first listen will make your heart smile and your soul even happier. You see there is a warmth to their music. It's hard to quantify. It's just a feeling that comes over you when you listen to their songs. And, it's a feeling that will overtake you if you have the pleasure of seeing them perform live. An experience I won't soon forget.
I had the pleasure of attending the band's release show for the new EP at the High Watt in Nashville, TN and had the great fortune to sit down with both Jason and Paul and ask them a few quick questions before they hit the stage. We talked about the visual aspect to their lyrics, their ambitiously creative video series, and the theme of love and the powerful effect it has on their music. And, apparently, also on their fans. It is so rare to see an audience so truly enamored by a band... but was exactly the case at the Clemency show. I looked out to a sea of adoring fans... clearly moved by their music and their magical stage presence. This band of brothers is no doubt letting love show them the way, and it is leading them straight into the hearts of fans both old and new.
The Reel Spin: You're going to be taking the stage soon for the release of your new EP, You've Got the Fire. How are you feeling right now... Excited? Nervous? Both?
Paul Watkins: Very excited... mixed with a little nervous.
Jason Watkins: Yeah, we get a little nervous. I think if you don't, something's wrong. We try to turn that into positive energy, you know? So when we feel the nerves we know like alright it's time to get focused and get ready to play.
Paul: It's exciting... good nerves.
TRS: I'm sure you feed off the audience too... are you excited to share your new songs with the fans?
Jason: We've been working on this record for a while now, so we're really pumped to release it and let go of it, and kind of turn it over to them and see how they respond to it.
TRS: Is that connection with the audience important to you guys?
Paul: Oh yeah... it's probably one of the most important things. That's what our music is all about... it's connecting with people. We love people and we want to share music with them and hope that it is just a good sound effect for their lives, you know, that's what we aspire for.
Jason: There is no other energy like it when you see someone who does connect with the music and a crowd that is getting into it, you feed off that as a performer... as an artist.
TRS: Probably takes it to the next level...
Jason: Definitely... you feed off that and you kind of give it a little more... maybe more than you knew you had in you.
TRS: One of the things that I love about your music is that lyrically it's very visual. "Color Hit the Canvas" is a good example of that. Is that an intentional choice... to make your songs so visual?
Jason: I think, and I don't know if it's just something innate, and that's kind of how it comes out, but our music is very visual to us as well, and that is kind of why we've chosen to release these videos we've filmed just because I think the music does lend it self to a story or to something to watch.
Paul: I think along those same lines. We love movies and we love storytelling, so it's like we want people to know that they can kind of run with it and maybe put themselves in the story. We want it to be personal to them, but then we also like to have maybe with these videos it was like okay here's kind of how we interpret it, how do you interpret it, you know, on your own? It's always a big part of it... the visual.
Jason: It's always a great compliment when we talk to someone, and they say, "oh it was very cinematic." We love that.
TRS: That was one of the first things that really struck me, and then I found out that you were doing this video series, and I thought how perfect is that... kind of genius. How did you come up with the concept?
Jason: I think it was born initially with writing... the songs kind of... we just started to see a running theme through all of them. We didn't set out to necessarily write a concept record, but there was a common theme throughout, and we were like this really lends itself to a great love story, and it kind of blossomed from there. We dreamt about it and kind of developed a story with characters.
TRS: And then... influences for this video series? There's definitely a little E.T. happening...
Jason: [Laughs] We were born in the 80's, so we know all about E.T. and The Goonies and Karate Kid and the sort, but we also really love independent films as well... some that jump out like Beasts of the Southern Wild...
TRS: Fantastic movie.
Jason: Love that movie. I would say that that the videos kind of land as a blend of that throwback and that kind of indie film thing.
Paul: It's kind of like a whole new aspect of the arts for us. It doesn't stop... the music... we love venturing into that and dreaming up a visual to go and try and capture. It's just another challenge that we can get out there, and we've got a buddy named Joey Williams that comes along and does awesome cinematography work and is able to capture what we've dreamt up, and it's just so much fun to go and see what we can come up with.
Jason: Definitely feel like it adds another element for the listener.
TRS: It totally does... the last video... the payoff at the end... I thought that was so sweet.
Paul & Jason: Thank you.
TRS: "Let Love Show You the Way" is a real standout to me. Curious as to the inspiration behind the song, because the whole idea of when you feel lost, letting love show you the way... I mean that's so positive and uplifting...
Jason: I think some people might hear that and say oh that's really idealistic, but we really believe that you know that love is one of the greatest forces on earth, and when you do have it... and when you choose it, we can conquer a lot together, and rise above a lot of adversity.
TRS: In all circumstances really.
Jason: Yes, truly.
For more on Clemency:
Website - clemencyonline.com
Facebook - facebook.com/clemencymusic
Twitter - @ClemencyMusic
YouTube - youtube.com/user/clemencytv
Interview by Pamela Thomas