Indie-Pop Songwriter Clay Western Releases New Gem ‘Nothing Lasts’

With a natural charisma that has endeared him to West Coast crowds over the last year, Perth indie-pop songwriter Clay Western now returns with another serving of gorgeous music in new single, Nothing Lasts. The track follows on from Stay High and Shouldn’t Come Around. Both songs earned Clay early praise with triple j, establishing the young WA artist as one to watch throughout 2022. With Nothing Lasts, Clay Western further demonstrates his matured songwriting style and natural skills as a storyteller, all the while delivering the lyrics with a warmth and richness of tone.

Produced and engineered by San Cisco’s Jordi Davieson and Josh Biondillo out of their home studio in Fremantle, Nothing Lasts was mixed by Clay Western’s close friend and longtime collaborator Dylan Ollivierre (The Money War), with mastering completed by Andrew Edgeson (Thelma Plum, Matt Corby) from Studios 301. Clay goes in to more depth about the single and what’s next with Hi Fi Way.

How exciting is the build up to your new single Nothing Lasts?
It’s always nice for a song to see the light of day. So much went in behind the scenes to get Nothing Lasts out. From the first voice memo and initial idea to seeing the song come to life in the studio, then listening to it over and over and over again when it is getting mixed. By the time it’s released you’ve seen a song go on a whole journey and It’s pretty surreal.

What is the story behind the single?
Nothing Lasts is a song about moving on. Jordi, Josh and I wrote the track in a studio session a few weeks before I moved from WA to Byron Bay. I was staring down the barrel of leaving the life I had created back home and starting fresh. It talks about leaving a relationship and how even though it’s not always the easiest decision, you know its the right thing for the both of you.

Sonically, how would you describe this single?
I’d like to think the song sounds pretty hopeful. The lyrics are pretty melancholy so we tried to give it bit more of a lighter, driving feel in the production. The verses are I feel like the verses are quite punchy and concise with the synth bass and when the chorus hits it’s almost a sense of relief. I think the polarity between the lyrics and production find a happy medium that complement each other.

What was the biggest lesson learnt that you wouldn’t repeat with the next single?
I always find it hard to be decisive on ideas and sonics before I get in the studio. I usually roll into sessions with a heap of ideas and then see where they take us. I’d definitely like to be more organised when I roll in to sessions. The way I work can be a bit disfunctional but it seams to be working out so far haha.

How was it working with Jordi Davieson and Josh Biondillo?
Jordi, Josh and I have been good mates for a few years now. I met them through mutual friends when I first moved to Freo and we clicked pretty much straight away. We hung a lot, whether it was surfing, at bars or going to house parties. At the start of the year I threw the idea out to them about working on some music together and they were super keen. We all gelled really well in the studio. Jordi and I worked closely of the on the lyrics a together while Josh worked more on the production. Locking into the studio with some of your best mates and people who you have a lot of respect for was pretty special sessions for me.

What was your reaction when you played it back for the first time?
I remember driving around Fremantle listening to the song on repeat when it was super raw and unmixed; we hadn’t even recorded drums properly. I definitely had a good feeling about it. Jordi messaged me a week or so after that and said he had it in his head. It’s always a good feeling to get that reassurance. I like to listen to songs heaps when they’re fresh in the head then I put them down and don’t listen to them for ages. When Nothing Lasts dropped it was nice to listen again with a fresh ear and sort of sit back and appreciate the journey that you have gone through with the song.

Are you building towards an album or EP?
Since leaving WA I have been writing non stop. I’m starting to sift through the hundreds of Voice Memos on my phone and turn those into proper demos. I’d like to say that these will turn into an album, but I guess we will just have to wait and see. I’m starting to line up sessions with new producers in Sydney, so I guess I just have to lock into the creative journey of these songs and see what eventuates. I have another track ready to go that I recorded in the same sessions with Josh and Jordi. It will be interesting to see how the new demos fit so I guess ill see how the new demos fit with that track as well.

Who would you say is the biggest musical influence/ inspiration for Clay Western?
My influences are always changing. Lately I’ve been listening to a heap of Whitney, I feel like this track and the next single really reflect more of that vibe. I have always listened to a heap of The War on Drugs. Sonically, I think they’re my biggest influence. The Money War are another band I really look up to. Dylan (Ollivierre) actually produced my last EP. I think they write really tasteful pop songs with great production.

Are you looking forward to being able to tour more broadly around the country this year?
I’m definitely pretty excited to get back into touring. I haven’t really played many shows since I have been here on the east coast. All my band are still in WA, and its definitely hard being over here when we built up such a great chemistry playing shows and jamming together over the past few years. But like Nothing Lasts explores, you have to move on even when it’s not the easiest thing to do. I’d love to fly them over here to do a tour at some stage, but will have to wait and see.

What’s next for Clay Western?
I’m really excited to be creating heaps of music with new people. I’d like to do an east coast tour early next year and maybe even tie in a couple of shows back home as well. I’m still finding my feet in Sydney and trying to navigate life in a new city, which is pretty exciting. New people, new songs, anything is really possible.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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