Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Answers by Clay Finch
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
Surfing. It is a wonderful mirror to playing music. It’s the same spiritual exercise, but it’s played out more on the physical plane. It’s spontaneous, super immersive, and requires deep concentration and awareness of your environment. The best wave riding experience is just like a really good jam. And in my best musical moments I feel like I’m gliding across a wave with the same grace.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
Before a show we all do a lot of stretching. I feel like it’s the best way to release stress and tension and get the blood moving, and get your chi meridians all dialed before you make music with everyone. Ten minutes before we go on the green room is a bunch of dudes getting all bendy and weird.
What has been the best advice you’ve received in your career so far?
Some of the best advice I’ve been given is just maintaining a foundation of gratitude. When life gets really challenging or confusing, just putting one foot in front of the other is much simpler when you take a moment to count your blessings. And on a lighter note, another piece of advice that’s stayed with me is one time my friend Ben told me my guitar was too beautiful to have a plastic capo or tuner clipped to the headstock, so since then I always keep those resting on my amp or in my pocket when I’m done using them.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I spend a lot of time in the ocean and in the sun when I’m home and I feel like that keeps my body pretty relaxed, and I think that keeps a lot of the music I end up writing on the mellow side.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
I think the dream scenario would change depending on the season, but being that it is summer I would love to see Ledward Kaapana playing with a traditional slack key group, with a large serving of sushi and some iced tea and fresh fruit juice.
Photo Credit: Nydia Gonzalez