“The San Diego scene for our sound is all right,” says Beejay Buduan, guitarist and songwriter in Clockart, over coffee at Twiggs on Park Boulevard.
“It’s more of a rock city. It was getting pretty big here, the whole beach, chillwave thing. Bands like Dirty Gold and TV Girl happened, and the scene got a lot bigger, but it’s kind of dying now.”
Y’all ’member chillwave?
The more-or-less made-up genre was termed by a Hipster Runoff blogger to describe a handful of unrelated bands sharing a synth-heavy, ambient, new-wave sound driven by danceable beats.
Blogger Carles likened it to “something playing in the background of an old VHS cassette that you found in your attic from the late ’80s/’90s,” and, for a few months around the summer of 2009, it was the raddest thing on the planet.
Employing dual Telecasters, a Micro Korg, a Roland sampler, live and programmed drums, and ample pedal effects, Clockart finds an ethereal, lo-fi, chillwave-y, nu-gaze-y, dream-poppy sound defined by processed signals and synth/singer Allie Underwood’s reverb-soaked vocals.
“We use lots of chorus,” says Beejay. “Kind of that ’80s/Bee Gees thing.”
The five-piece band (local SDSU and City College kids ranging from 20 to 23 years old) cites influences including Cocteau Twins, the Sundays, Dominant Legs, Twin Sister, Washed Out, Toro y Moi, and Small Black, but, says Allie, “Somehow we always end practice with a Bee Gees cover.
“Beejay — he writes all the instrumentation — describes our sound as ‘bliss.’ For me, it’s about nostalgia for things that don’t exist anymore. Or never existed.”
“Like relationships?” offers Beejay.
“Isn’t everything about relationships?” Allie says.
“I take a more guy approach,” Beejay concludes. “She’s more about feelings.”
“We were going to be called Clock Heart, but they thought it was too girly,” says Allie. “It’s from the Wizard of Oz — ‘Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.’ But Clockart is cool, too, because music is decorated time.”
Now in the process of recording their second EP, Clockart started decorating time together about a year ago when Allie posted a band-mates-wanted ad on Craigslist.
“She had me after listing Beach House as an influence,” says Beejay.
“We started chillwave,” says Allie, “but now we’re more of a ’70s thing.”
“Let’s just face it,” says bassist Grant Glibert, “we’re going to end up a Bee Gees cover band.”