Interview: Clad In Black
I’m so grateful you accepted my invitation! You know I’m an admirer of your work and I’d love to give the world a bit more of Clad In Black outside of Bandcamp, where your music finds its home.
Now, why ‘Clad In Black’?
Hey Spyros, thank you for having me. The feeling is of course mutual. ‘Clad in Black’ derives from the early beginnings of the project. I wanted the project name to convey a sense of being cloaked in shadow. I had the image of the first LP artwork in my mind for a while; a shrouded figure next to a withering tree. I remember one day it struck me, a line from Bram Stoker’s Dracula; “Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him”.
I know your background involves the art of cinema and you are obviously a lover of visuals. Are you being creative in fields other than music? Or did it seduce you to the point of no return?
Yes, I graduated university with a filmmaking degree specialising in cinematography. While at university I co-founded a small production team, ‘Caged Magpie Productions’. We’ve created several short films, and continue to do so. Our latest short ‘Death by Design’ will be released later this year. The team and I now live in different parts of the UK, so it takes a lot of planning for us to come together to create work. We’re in the pre-production stages of some music videos currently, so I’m hoping work will be able to resume on these projects shortly.
Your sound and imagery are mainly revolving around the occult and witchcraft. How is Dominic connected to this world?
I’ve always loved dark imagery and aesthetics, but I remember finding German Expressionist cinema in my teenage years and it really resonating with me. It was the films from this era that made me want to pursue filmmaking. I never really had the opportunity to create imagery such as this myself, which is where Clad in Black began. The visual inspiration for the first and second LPs therefore stemmed from my interest in German Expressionism. However, in creating the Häxan EP and the Häxorna LP, translating to the witch and the witches respectively, the imagery was naturally more centered around witchcraft. The witchcraft element of my work is heavily inspired by visits to Salem, Massachusetts and the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, England. This began an avid interest in the North Berwick and Pendle witch trials, and of course the Salem witch trials.
When I discovered your first EP ‘Dark Hours’, released back in 2015, I was mumble-singing over your ‘Night Children Make Music’. Still my favorite by the way! Did you ever feel the need to sing or find fitting vocalists for your music, which is strictly instrumental?
Thank you Spyros, ‘Night Children Make Music’ remains a favourite of mine too. I’ve always been very open to the prospect of working with vocalists, however the opportunity has not arisen thus far.
During those six years of discography, you’ve offered us 3 full-length albums and 4-Eps. What is pushing you to keep working at this pace?
My work always begins with an overall concept. This gives me a sense of direction in terms of what I aim to achieve sonically and visually. At this stage the project really does become all-consuming, and every spare minute I have is spent on creating material. This results in large volumes of work. Another reason for this pace is improvement. I’m always striving to create something stronger than what I’ve previously released.
As we mentioned above, your music is strictly instrumental, at least until this day. Do you have a vision of incorporating it into any kind of visual experience in the future or is it a standalone entity?
I do see Clad in Black as a standalone audiovisual entity, however I took the last Caged Magpie Productions short film Death by Design as an opportunity for me to try my hand at creating music and sound for film. This is definitely a direction I want to explore further in the future. I also like the idea of a live Clad in Black experience. Maybe one day.
We both know that being independent can feel lonely and even futile during our darkest moments. Do you ever get feelings of hopelessness? If this is too personal, It’s totally understandable.
Yes, most certainly. There are definitely times of disappointment when you have worked on a project and it doesn’t receive the response you had hoped for. However, the real reward for me is the process of creating the work, the excitement and feeling of accomplishment when the work is complete, and the anticipation when finally releasing it out into the world.
In cases like yours, I always want to know: Do you see Clad in Black as a persona through which you can channel your alternate self or is it just Dom doing what he loves to do?
Initially Clad in Black was most certainly a persona; a side project I kept to myself. It was a way for me to explore audio production and gothic visuals, and see what would result from it. I began this project in 2014 when I was 22, so this project has been a large part of my adult life. Over time it has become an extension of myself, expressing and exploring my love for dark imagery and sound.
You’re based in Wales, UK, where the pandemic has really left its mark as we know. How has Covid affected you both as a person and an artist?
The pandemic has made me realise just how much I take the simplest things for granted. Like many others, the inability to see friends and family had an adverse affect on me. I was also made redundant from my daytime job, which was an added strain. I used the time spent under lockdown to complete my latest LP Häxorna. Having that project to focus on kept me occupied and really helped me through 2020.
What does your heart desire the most and what does it despise more than anything?
I most desire happiness, to continue creating and be surrounded by those that mean the most. What I despise more than anything are people who choose to use their voice to spread hate.
Are you currently working on any creative projects? Are there any thoughts/plans for releases in 2021?
I’m currently working on new Clad in Black material, with the intention of releasing a new EP later this year.