Local soul rocker Roman Clarke has only been playing live music under his own name for a few months now, but he’s already created a pretty solid body of work, both as a recording engineer/producer and as the drummer of indie rock trio The Middle Coast. He’s also written dozens of solo songs over the years, but only just started playing under his own name as of this June.
Whether or not you’ve heard one of the many projects he’s put his stamp on, you’re about to when he hits The Cube stage in Old Market Square for the first of four free MB Live @ The Cube concerts of the summer, taking place August 2 at noon, presented by the Exchange District BIZ and Manitoba Music.
So, what exactly made him get out and try his hand at a solo career?
“I’ve thought about that before,” Clarke says with a laugh. “In past years I’ve said, I’m a drummer, and so I’d practice six or eight hours a day. Then I grew tired of that, and all of a sudden, I was like, I’m a songwriter. Then I wrote songs obsessively until I got tired of that. Then I tried being an engineer/producer until I started hating that, but then I just realized all these things I was kind of doing single mindedly and obsessively were all aspects of what I wanna do and things I enjoy. I’m just trying to find more things in music that I enjoy now.”
It’s that enthusiasm for the simple act of creating music that keeps Clarke humble as he releases a trio of soulful summer singles, “Faithful Man”, “Waiting”, and the newly released “Let You Fall”.
“I’m very pleased with how well people have grabbed onto them,” Clarke says of the tunes, which are available to stream on YouTube. He notes that the songs may not have seen the light of day if not for some encouragement from Bros. Landreth guitarist Ariel Posen. “I view him as a bit of a mentor. He had a lot of really positive feedback about the songs and more or less convinced me to re-record them, do good versions, and put them out. I just found that so inspiring and amazing.”
With plans to release an EP in September and a full length record in the spring, this veteran of The Cube (he’s played both Winnipeg Fringe Festival and the Winnipeg Jazz Fest) is driven, focused and organized (and even plays all the instruments himself).
“I don’t know about organized,” he says with a laugh. “I just certainly want to make all the music all the time.”
Watch Roman Clarke play all the instruments in the “Faithful Man” video.