Clarias is one of Boston’s biggest buzz bands. Combining the pop sensibilities of O.A.R. and State Radio with the musical prowess of John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band, this band is destined for some serious success. In May, the band released their third studio LP, The Days of Getaway. This new record shows off the band’s versatility — from epic power ballads to electropop, from dance rock to the blues— and has a little something for everyone. For The Days of Getaway, the band continued to work with powerhouse producer, Matthew Ellard (Elliott Smith, Morphine, Weezer), who produced their previous studio album, Lines. After touring their hearts out all over the Northeast, which included incredible opening spots for Bon Jovi and Kanye West, Clarias is ready for the big time. To find out more about Clarias, I picked the brains of band members Damian and Mike. You can read our Q&A while listening this week’s free download “WINOK”, the first single of their band’s new album.
Since you guys are veterans of the Boston music scene, how come you haven’t moved camp to New York like every other successful Boston band?
MIKE: We like challenges. We’ve talked about relocating the band before. New York is actually about 3rd or 4th on the list. We’ve never really seen ourselves as fitting into a mold of any other band. We’re just a close knit group of guys that love making music together. So, we usually throw the regular formulas out the window.
Clarias has played some pretty notable opening spots over the past couple of years, which one would you say has been your favorite?
DAMIAN: It has to be Gillette [Stadium] with Bon Jovi and Nickelback. We got to explore the stadium, and meeting some notable people and of course play in a huge stage in front of 30,000 people.
MIKE: Playing the Pavilion in Denver was pretty amazing. Steve Page from BNL [Barenaked Ladies] was a great guy, very welcoming, very supportive. And we got the total rock star treatment out there too, taking full advantage of first class.
For your new album, The Days of Getaway, you chose to work with Matthew Ellard again. How does working with him compare to your earlier studio recording efforts?
MIKE: Matthew’s a very talented producer and engineer. When we work with him, he’s got an amazing balance of being both a great friend and a true professional. So, he’s able to tell you when something’s great or disagree with you…it’s all part of being a great record producer. And, even outside the studio, we’ve become great friends so we’ve developed a comfort level with him too. The earlier projects, while appropriate at the time, were more of us learning the ropes.
DAMIAN: When we first recorded with Matthew we didn’t really know each other all that well, where going into this project we had been friends for some time. With that he had a bit more insight into what we wanted and how we work best. We were also able to take a bit longer with him to work on the arrangements and how we wanted to album to sound. We spent more time on pre-production of sound on this album that made our performance time more efficient.
If you guys had the opportunity to integrate inflatables into your live show what would you choose?
DAMIAN: I think giant helium balloons that can lift us off the ground while playing. I’ve always wanted to hover.
MIKE: Could you imagine a full concert on a giant inflatable stage floating down the River Zoar? It would be amazing.
It seems like Clarias has played just about everywhere in New England. How do you keep yourselves amused on those long New England road trips?
MIKE: Long conversations about two topics: History and the Universe. We haven’t even scratched the surface.
DAMIAN: Lots of wise cracks. On the road we’ll play some of our songs to work on new arrangements, quiz each other on various topic from our travel encyclopedia or just listen music and talk. In the hotel we like to play cards.
And finally, if there was a sandwich to be named the “Clarias” at a deli what would be on that sandwich?
MIKE: Oh where do we start? Can it be a breakfast sandwich? It’d probably be most appropriate. If so, we’re talking a couple slices of toasted sourdough bread with honey smoked bacon, two eggs, and the sharpest cheddar cheese you’ve ever tasted. Bottle of hot sauce and you’re ready to enjoy.
DAMIAN: I think it would start with toast marble rye, then mayo, avocado, smoked turkey, spinach, and a slice of sharp cheddar, with a hint of salt.