The Story Behind ‘Dead,’ ‘Manic,’ and ‘Sicko’ From CLOVES

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CLOVES sat down with Stage Right Secrets to discuss her creative process behind her latest singles. Discover the stories behind “Dead,” “Manic,” and “Sicko,” below.

“Dead” was the first release for this next era of music, what is the story behind the song’s creation?

The best way to explain “Dead” to you is to explain the album’s concept, its set in my brains world, each track is a contributor to my minds make up when in a very dark and overwhelmed state, dead is the self-deprecation track, its careless with yourself and your relationships, it’s numb, its the walking alone in the street at 3 AM chain-smoking. We originally sampled a quote from 2001: A space odyssey for the outro, but we couldn’t clear the sample (lol) so we had to recreate our own version.

What was the initial concept for “Manic”?

Nat built the beat first which definitely put us in [a] specific medicinal, creepy lyrical space.

How did the song progress to what it is today?

Manic came together really quickly, the most evolution it went through was choosing between some ad-libs and little production tweaks, but structurally/writing-wise it was pretty much left how it was written on the first day, I used to be an over perfecter, but what I’ve learned is sometimes it good to work on things, (like we rewrote the sicko verse) and sometimes you have to know when to leave an idea alone it’s finished!

For “Sicko,” did you come up with the lyrics or production first?
Sicko was written on the same day two other songs were written for the record, it was me, coffee nat and Hudson and to be fair we were very productive that day, I think it started with a sample that Hudson pulled up, Nat and Hudson built the production as me, and coffee wrote to what they were playing around with, we kinda just bounced between the three ideas, we would vibe some melodies, walk outside sit in the sun write some lyrics and voice note it so we didn’t forget, it was pretty free-flowing and easy, sicko originally had a different chorus, we had moved onto another idea and by the time we came back to sicko we had been down a 90s artists spiral, that’s how the Suzanne Vega sample came up. I knew I loved the idea but felt like the verse wasn’t 100% right syncopation-wise, but the mood and idea was strong, we ended up rewriting the verse on the date we went to cut final Vox, but that was the songs writing process.


How did the music video concept for “Sicko” come about?

I wanted a “me vs my mind” fight scene, it was important that it wasn’t a concept of “good side” vs “bad side” but me trying to push forward why my anxiety lingered and tried to hold me back, that’s how I had felt and experienced a lot up until that point, the weight of perfectionism.

For your most recent releases, do the visuals come to you when creating the song or is it an afterthought?

All the aesthetic side Inspo comes from the albums concept, I really wanted to build out my brains world, visually play off the idea of how anxiety can manipulate the mind/ your reality and how that would look in a visual context, stuff like Furmaan (Art director) created house plants but out of melted plastic bags, small things to make my brains world feel manipulated, like spiraling the way your mind does.

How did you go about making them so cohesive?

They weren’t created in release order, I think we were working to such a conceptualized message and production texture that the songs just feel naturally cohesive, for me, it’s like a frequency. I know if something fits into a mood for me or not.

Were the rest of your songs for your album created at the same time or were the singles created first?

Pretty much everything was written in the same space of time, It was nice working towards a conceptual project, I think after this album though I wanna just be just making stuff I fuck with and putting it out as I go rather than building a full album, at least for a while anyway.

Jacklyn is the Editor In Chief of Stage Right Secrets. Jacklyn's photography and articles can also be found on The Recording Academy's GRAMMYPro, GRAMMYU, PopCrush, Taste of Country, among other outlets. Besides press Jacklyn is a "Jack of All Trades" working various jobs at local concerts and touring.