Written by Lauren Rosier
There’s nothing like discovering a new artist that just completely blows you away beyond your initial expectations. That’s exactly what Philadelphia’s Clockwise On Fire does for me.
Clockwise On Fire is the musical pair of two longtime friends and collaborators, Tim Arnold [Good Old War, Anthony Green], and Brian Lynch. I had the honor of speaking with Arnold about this project and how the pair came together.
The duo’s debut single is titled “Dig” and introduces listeners to the pair’s ability to blend alternative, psychedelic, and funk genres into a sound that is unlike any other blend you’ve heard before. It’s original, it’s thrilling, it makes you want to get up and dance and move your body. The song shapeshifts with each key change.
“We are truly pumped to share the first song off our first album for the very first time!” shares Clockwise On Fire in a press release. “It’s part of a collection of songs born out of our shared consciousness, aged to perfection and displayed for your musical satisfaction. Warning: The desire to move your body will be activated and deep inner healing may occur.”
Arnold said about “Dig,”: “Brian had this programmed beat and basically had the song ready, but no vocals, and no actual drums on it. And he sent it to me and I said ‘okay, cool…so I did like an Afrobeat kind of groove… I had this poem that I wrote, so I picked out a few lines that would make it truncated a little bit, making it more succinct. And put them in places and tried to repeat them as if it were not really telling a story, but as if it were an instrument; as if it were a bass line that repeats throughout the song. So yeah, that’s how I did that one.”
What was really crazy about the whole behind-the-scenes, creation process of making these songs was that they were completed through FaceTime and the telephone and texting each other.
“That was the point when we realized that, okay, we can really start doing some craziness,” Arnold explained. “Then we kind of used that method for the rest of the songs, too.”
Despite the pandemic and the limitations that the duo had in creating their music, they found that it was easy.
“It wasn’t complicated really at all. I think that’s one of the reasons why we pushed it even further because it was so easy. We’re both on the same page in terms of creativity and the ‘rules’ of writing a song. In my opinion, there are none. We both come from a background where we used to play together as little kids and it was all just all improvisational jams and stuff. So that’s where we come from, just him and I. We were treating every song as if it were just us jamming. So we would put a song together, and then I’d be like ‘this needs a new part,’ he would come up with something, and I’d be like, ‘Cool, I’m going to add to that.’ It was very spontaneous and it flowed really well. Which is awesome. I feel like that was another indicator of us to be like, ‘let’s really push it here’ because it’s coming so easy and effortlessly to us, you know?” Arnold explains.
Currently, the duo is working on planning live shows, and figuring out when and where.
If anyone is familiar with Arnold and his previous projects, you know that Clockwise is a complete 180 from Good Old War and Days Away.
“It wasn’t necessarily a conscious thing that I need to do something other than the Good Old War sound. There were no rules. With Good Old War, we gave ourselves limitations. We kind of tried to make a song, a singer/songwriter kind of thing, make it acoustic, which is cool, and limitations can be really fun sometimes. It makes you branch out and do something you normally wouldn’t do. It puts you out of your comfort zone. But with this project, it was just like let’s do whatever we want. You wanna do some ambient thing? That’s cool with me. Let’s do that. You wanna do some Afrobeat thing? That’s cool. You wanna do some freak show carnival song? Let’s do that. It’s like there were no boundaries, we can go wherever we wanted to,” Arnold explains.
The duo also teamed up with the Circa Survive frontman, Anthony Green, on their second single, “What Will You Forget?”
“It was also done remotely. I was in Atlanta at the time,” Arnold began. “We had that song, we wanted to include other people. Just maybe to get their take on it and stuff. I basically knew that he was going to kill it and he did. So it’s kind of like no surprises there, he knocked it out of the park. We both were really psyched about it because he nailed it.”
So what is in store for Clockwise in the next year? The next five years, I asked.
“Further exploration of the sounds. We want to do crazy stuff live. Totally immersive, I want to include other people, if it’s the audience, that’s great, or if it’s another collaborator, that’s great, too. Really anything that we can come up with, we’ll try. The sky’s the limit with this project. I think the major goals are to do a little touring, get some cool videos done, and just keep making records. Never stopping really,” Arnold finishes.
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