The Texas based group The Aaron Clift Experiment has just released a brand new CD entitled "If All Goes Wrong." It carries a great message in that when things go bad, love will empower the situation. This well written collection of songs showcases the impressive writing skills of Aaron and his band mates. You will find a variety of styles of intricate and finely executed progressive rock, flowing ballads, radio friendly pop to straight ahead rockers. Standing above the music is top notch vocals that are reminiscent of their influences of Queen, Yes and other prog rock pioneering forefathers. There's even a bonus track about the experience of growing up in the quaint seaside town of Centerport Long Island. I asked Aaron about how "If All Goes Wrong" was created.
Musicguy247 - The title track is a beautifully written love song "If All Goes Wrong."Is this song about anyone in particular or just a general love song?
Aaron - The idea behind “If All Goes Wrong” is that when the world around us seems to be crumbling and everything is going wrong, there’s always a loved one who can lift us up and help us. When I was writing the lyrics for the song, I wrote them with my wife in mind because she has been there for me in the last few years when I was going through tough times.
Musicguy247 - You seem to be able to adjust the range of your voice to match the style of a song such as crooning or a solid rasp. Does this come easy for you?
Aaron - I come from a background in classical music, so in many ways, it was a challenge to adjust my vocals for a rock band. I had to, on the one hand, “unlearn” a lot of the technique that I had used in choir singing and at the same time learn how to incorporate the fundamentals of singing to a new style of music. In the last two years, I worked with a fantastic vocal coach who had mastered both genres of music and was able to help me finally bridge that gap.
Musicguy247 - There are songs with difficult syncopated runs in it like “Dream within a Dream” and “Castle in the Sky.” How does the writing process evolve in songs like these?
Aaron - The writing process depends a lot on the style we’re going for and who’s writing the song. Devin North (ACE bassist) co-wrote the “If All Goes Wrong” album with me. Often times he would bring in a fully-written and arranged instrumental and ask me to write vocals and lyrics (like in “Castle in the Sky”), while other times, I would bring in a song with fully-written chords, riffs, and lyrics and ask the band to help me flesh out the arrangements (like in “Last Crash”).
Musicguy247 - Although The Aaron Clift Experiment has its own signature sound, at times some songs remind me of vocal greats like Jon Anderson, Freddy Mercury and Maynard James Keenan. Are they part of your influences?
Aaron - My favorite vocalists/biggest vocalist inspirations are Roger Daltrey, Ian Gillan, Freddy Mercury, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Ronnie James Dio, James Brown, Chris Cornell, Kate Bush, and Bjork.
Musicguy247 - The song "Faith" has a radio friendly commercial sound. Did that go into consideration by placing it first on the CD?
Aaron - “Faith” is one of the highest energy songs on the album, and we felt like putting it first would start the album off with a bang.
Aaron - Yes, we actually performed the majority of the songs on the album live at least a couple of times before we recorded “If All Goes Wrong.” Because we had rehearsed the songs so much, when it came time to record the album, we got to spend more time in the studio on getting great takes than on making songwriting and arranging decisions, which I believe helped give the album a lot more color and energy than our previous two albums.
Musicguy247 - Can you give me a brief description on who also helped out on the making of the album?
Aaron - It would be pretty tough to do a short synopsis of everyone who made “If All Goes Wrong” possible since we had so many guest performers on the album. However, I would like to give a special thanks to producer/mixer, Randy Miller, for helping coordinate the entire album and for taking what could have been a bunch of disparate elements and shaping them into a really cohesive album. I also want to thank our recording engineer, Russell Tanner, for his endless dedication and patience in getting all of the kinks ironed out with the album. Check out the full album credits at: https://aaronclift.com/music/if-all-goes-wrong/
Musicguy247 - Do you have any plans on supporting the album?
Aaron - The Aaron Clift Experiment is proud to be performing at Progtoberfest in Chicago this October. We will likely be doing a small tour this summer and fall to coincide with the release of the album and this high-profile show.
Musicguy247 - The bonus track is a very nice piano and vocal composition. What's the story behind “Back to the Water?”
Aaron - When I was ages 7 – 9, I lived on a harbor in Centerport, New York. I had a tough time making friends at school and used to get bullied a lot, but I also have fond memories of going to the beach with my family and going fishing off the dock with my grandfather. So, in a way, the water became a kind of place of refuge for me. I based the song, “Back to the Water,” around these experiences. It’s a song about growing up too fast and becoming disillusioned with life but at the same time finding a sense of peace in nostalgia. In a way, “Back to the Water” was also influenced a lot by the piano ballads of Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush (especially the song, “Under the Ivy”).
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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