Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
Kid Fiction: Clark – ‘Totems Flare’
It was 2009, Kanye had just discovered autotune, dubstep was still new to most people and I couldn’t give two fucks or half a shit ’cause I had this brand new record. It was literally all I listened to for a year. In 2009 I was 22, dropped out of uni to drink full time, my band that had been my identity for the last 6 years had fallen apart, I’d broken up with my high school sweetheart and I was more than a little lost. The electronic music I’d started making (which was at that time mostly pretty terrible) was kind of the last thread holding me together.
The first time I heard this record it almost literally blew my mind. You know that feeling when you hear something for the first time, and it’s so good you want to laugh, cry, yell, jump and dance all at the same time… except you can’t, because the music has you wound so tight that you can’t even move. Totems Flare is Clark’s primal scream. Violently beautiful, fragile and playful but heart wrenching and desperately angry… completely unique.
It was a game changer for me. I’d always been a rock kid growing up. I used to have battles with the girls at high school PE because they always wanted to play Usher on the stereo, and I wanted Tool (I always lost by the way). With Totems Flare, Clark essentially made a rock album with synthesisers… Something I hadn’t realised was even possible. There was nothing safe about it, nothing fake or formulaic, it was real life raw human emotion, radiant and bursting at the seams. It was my Teen Spirit, Hendrix’s guitar on fire, HST screaming down a Nevada highway with a head full of acid in search of something more. An incredible accomplishment by one guy and a computer.
I thought to myself, if I could ever make music this good, I could die happy. So I’m really hoping this year isn’t the year I get hit by a bus or contract an incurable disease… ’cause I’m still working on it.