!! OMG, a Q&A with Claud !!

Claud Mintz by Photography by Angela Ricciardi

Photography by Angela Ricciardi

Last week, singer-songwriter Claud Mintz debuted their remarkably catchy, emotionally potent new record, Super Monster. The release holds the now very covetable status as the first entry on fellow songwriter Phoebe Bridgers’s nascent record label, The Saddest Factory (Get it? Satisfactory?).

The premiere status is bound to bring 21-year-old Claud some much-warranted attention, given Bridgers’s recent detonation into the mainstream following the success of her doom-filled 2020, Grammy nominated record, Punisher, and a much talked about appearance on Saturday Night Live (read the OMG.BLOG Q&A with Phoebe here).

Claud’s 2019’s single “I Wish You Were Gay” should have been an indication of the anthemic potential of their ability to craft relentlessly infectious pop songs, written from the perspective of a young person in and out of love through a sometimes crushingly relatable Queer lens. The songs are imbued with influences ranging from grunge to ’90s R&B to, as we touched on in our conversation, the increasingly indefinable “indie rock.”

Claud Super Monster

While the link to Bridgers and her new label will undoubtedly send fans in Claud’s direction, it’s clear that these songs stand on their own as one hell of a debut album from a fully-formed young artist.

We caught up with Claud to talk about the new record, their songwriting process, but mostly about like, love and stuff.

Read the full Q&A after the jump!

OMG.BLOG: What draws you to write so much about the theme of love?

Claud: I think love is a really difficult thing to process emotionally and the easiest way for me has always been for me to process it is to just read it, and write it out. It’s just the best way for me to like process my emotions.

Do you remember your first love?

I sort of think love can take on so many different forms, so I don’t think I can pinpoint like one first true love rather than like, the love that I feel for my friends or my family and stuff like that.

Young love, especially break-ups can veer into very messy, apocalyptic territory. What stops you from venturing into more emo, tortured territory with your songs?

That’s a really interesting question. It’s really funny because I think maybe it’s like harder for me to tap into that. I think like some of my favorite songs about love, like for example, I’m thinking a lot about Snail Mail’s record, and how she’s so good at being so beautifully dramatic like “I’m never going to love anybody else” and like scream about it. Just scream that into the ether.

It’s really admirable and beautiful that she’s able to do that, but I’ve never been able to look at things permanently. I think I got used to the idea that I was moving around so much, so everything was going to change, my feelings for certain people were going to change, and my heartbreak was going to heal. I tried to stay really optimistic. I just always try to stay optimistic, I guess.

I try to make light of the situation a lot, maybe too often.

Queer narratives in pop-culture and music often orbit around the theme of unreciprocated, or unrequited love, as you so skillfully did on “Wish You Were Gay.” Do you feel Queer artists get trapped in that narrative?

Well, no.  I think unrequited love happens all the time and not just to Queer people, of course. I actually think a ton of my songs on the record are about unrequited love, actually. It’s just a natural part of the process of dating and figuring it out.

What were the experiences that influenced the songs on this record – are they all related to processing a relationship with one person?

No, it’s not about just one person or one experience or one relationship. It was written over the course of a few years, so it’s about lots of different people and lots of interactions and relationships. It’s hard to really pinpoint one, I guess.

So you’ve fallen in love a lot. You’re a faller-in-lover?

I don’t know about that. I just think you have your whole life to write your first record, you know, so think about if you were to sit down and write a record, or if you were documenting every single curiosity you’ve had and every single little crush you had over the last however many years of your life, it would be a lot, you know?

At what point in time did that start taking shape as a body of work, as opposed to a collection of songs?

It was probably around last spring or summer. I was  reworking and rewriting a lot of the songs and writing more, and I finally felt like I had what I was looking for. I started narrowing it all down and putting it together.

How many songs did you go from to end up with the 13 on the record?

Well, probably like 60?

Oh my god. So many. Is your songwriting process really quick?

Yeah. It depends on the songs, really, but some of my best songs I think I wrote in like under a few hours, you know, cause they come and go really quick…

Claud Mintz by Jeremy Reynoso

Photography by Jeremy Reynoso

The concept of “the album” is kind of a dying art, in terms of the way music tends to be consumed single by single. Your record really is banger after banger, so works in both ways. Do you have a preference to how people experience your music?

I have a lot of thoughts about this. I do think that because of streaming services that vinyl is actually treated very special now.  So I do think there is an audience or demographic of people who crave the record and crave the body of work and want to be able to hold your music in their hands.

That said, while making the record it was really important to me that each song was able to stand by itself and that could put on any song in the record, and it would make sense without the context of the rest of the album.

But of course I’d prefer them to hear the whole record. Otherwise, why would I make an album?

Did you study music at University?

No. I was actually in this really small music business program! It was supposed to pair people who wanted to work at record labels and stuff like that, but there definitely were a bunch of artists in the program who just seemed to want to understand the industry before just diving in, by taking that course.

Sort of hilarious time to be taking a course about the music industry, what with it crumbling and all, don’t you think?

Well, that was like three years ago, but then I left to go on tour. My whole freshman year was Gen. Ed. So I never actually even ended up taking a music business class in the end!

Claud Mintz by Kristen Jan Wong

Photography by Kristen Jan Wong

Well, now you have this record coming out, so who needs them? Speaking of which, how did you arrive at working with Phoebe Bridgers on the release of the record?

She heard my music a little while ago, probably sometime in 2019? She really dug it and reached out! We spent a long time discussing her vision for the label, how it would work and what her role would be. My album started coming together, and I just felt really comfortable signing with her.

She’s really blown up on a whole other level with the last record. Does that put more or less pressure on you as the first release on her label?

It makes me really excited and proud, to just, like, have her on my team. I’ve known her music and been to her shows way before I even ever knew her personally. I always really respected her as an artist and how she handled things, so it just makes me really proud and excited!

Would you describe your music as pop?

 I mean it is pop, but it’s a little bit alternative? Some may call it indie, or dreamy? I’m good with all those terms!

Pop structures are thought of being very simplified, and I’m wondering where you think the line is in terms of songs like yours, which although succinct, are super intelligent and complex at times?

Well, I think some of the best songs ever written are pop songs. I think these songs are pop songs but with a clear alternative production style.

Do you think that the overall sound or landscape of genres such as “bedroom production” or “indie rock” are shifting, given the access to production software that is so generally available these days? It’s just as feasible to make a Rihanna record at home as it is a rock record.

I feel like a lot of artists literally a have a studio on their laptop and most recording happens in their bedroom. I never understood what qualified as a “bedroom artist”! Billie Eilish makes music in her bedroom, you know?

What were some of the formative heartbreak records in your own life?

I was a big fan of the Smashing Pumpkins. I really liked Feist and The XX.

You’ve been described as an introvert, how do you think you will handle engaging with a growing fan base?

I definitely really like interacting with people on the Internet and just replying to comments and tweets, and I’ve always found that to be really fun. I do think the Internet takes away a lot of really important, boundaries, I guess. That can sometimes be scary and sometimes I definitely get a little shy. I’m definitely excited for people to connect with my music.

I hope it reaches people who need to hear it. I’ll just take it day by day.

Touring is so hard to plan right now. How is that affecting your launch of this record?

Yeah, I’m super bummed about it. It’s like I said: I always try to stay optimistic, and I’m just grateful that people are still using their phones and still want to hear music and still want to buy my vinyl and stuff.

I’m an introvert, but I definitely come to life when I’m performing. It’s like my favorite thing to do, so I’m hoping that will happen soon!

— Q&A by Kevin Hegge (@theekevinhegge)

Super Monster is available now for streaming and purchase.

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