Around this time twelve months ago, a young producer who we all had trouble pronouncing his name played Rabbit Radio’s 2nd birthday party to a sell out crowd. Now with a new, incredible EP under his belt, cln is gaining traction around the world thanks to his “clean”, crisp and polished take on electronic music. Before playing his BIGSOUND showcase, Callan Alexander, the face behind cln, sat down with us to chat about his whirlwind 12 months.
It’s been a whole year since the time we chatted. In that 12 months, how far do you think you’ve pushed your sound creatively?
cln [Callan Alexander]: I think it has a lot to do with the people I’ve been spending my time with. I have some really good friends in the Brisbane area; Feki, Golden Vessel, Tabrill. We all push each other further, all send music back and forth to each other for feedback. That’s helped improve my music a lot and take it to a new direction.
What were some of the barriers you had to push past while creating your EP?
Deadlines suck. I like to sit on something for ages and tweak it until I’m happy with it. Deadlines are the worst because once it’s “done” I can’t go back and change it. Writer’s block occurred on a few occasions also which didn’t help.
How do you then balance perfectionism with patience and these deadlines?
At some point you have to say, “Alright it’s done. I’m not going to touch it anymore.” More often than not you can over complicate things by working on something too much. You’ll then find that way you had a couple of hours ago was actually the better product than what you have now. You just have to force yourself to stop a some point.
Have you learnt that process the hard way?
One of my tracks a while ago didn’t really do so well. I had a version that I really liked but thought it wasn’t good enough. So I kept working on it with the deadline the next day. Listening back to it the next day I thought, “I much prefer the older version…”
What’s coming up in cln’s future that has you excited?
A little while ago we signed to AM Only; the booking company in the United States who take care of huge names like What So Not, Porter Robinson, Skrillex and Disclosure. We got really lucky because they don’t normally sign acts as small as me. The plan is to get over there for SXSW next year and meet the right people and play a few festival slots.
What was it that AM Only saw in you to sign you along the likes as Disclosure and Skrillex?
I have no idea! To be honest, they could have picked any artist in the world and they would have fit that roster better than me. I think I’m just really, really lucky that my music even entered their scope.
Time for some quick fire questions. Dream merch table item?
cln brand glasses. I’m not sure if it’ll be possible because not everyone wears glasses but I would like my own.
Favourite cartoon character?
Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes”. I grew up with those comics so they’re pretty special to me.
Easiest money you’ve ever made?
My current casual work that I do outside of cln is that I’m a chess coach at schools. It’s pretty much glorified baby sitting. I talk about chess for maybe 10 minutes and then I babysit for the remaining 50 minutes.
Era of history you would most like to live in?
I think old times would have sucked because they don’t have as much technology. Probably the ‘80s would have been really good. Just the musical culture that had would have been really fun to be in.
First record you bought for yourself?
“Demon Days” by Gorillaz. Which is still probably my favourite album of all time.
Your go to karaoke jam?
“Thinking ‘bout You” by Frank Ocean.
cln's Found EP is out now via Acid Stag.