Bronx-based musician/animator Jhariah Clare has a compulsion for writing larger than life songs stacked high with strings, horns, keys, and broadway-esque vocal arrangements. So attendees of his live show may be surprised to see him hit the stage with no band in sight – just his drummer and musical collaborator Cole Raser seamlessly transitioning from hard-hitting rock cuts to complex swings fit for a Harlem jazz club. That chameleon-like musicality is exactly what makes the two of them such a fitting duo. Jhariah and Cole met through mutual friends at Pratt Institute, where they’re currently studying 2D animation and film, respectively. They quickly hit it off and before long, Jhariah’s solo project became a duo. The two of them function more like a pair of one-man-bands than two parts of a whole. Both emerging from a generation of increasingly self-sufficient independent musicians, this two-piece “band” takes that DIY attitude to heart.
“Needed A Change of Pace” is the latest track in an especially busy year for Jhariah. Coming off the tail of two frantic, high-octane singles, his newest release explores yet another item in his musical toolbox. This time, looking to viral earworm-crafting pop artists like Billie Eilish, MARINA, and bbno$ for inspiration. Being a huge fan of pop music, the young artist has a love for catchy melodies and fully indulges that fondness on this song, while at the same time pulling from Broadway classics like Kinky Boots and a slew of rock influences ranging from Pierce The Veil to Queen. Pop-sensibilities are combined with his usual theatrical disposition and Cole’s eclectic production to form a track that’s equal parts strange and radio-friendly.
Here are Clare’s thoughts on the latest single: “I started writing “Needed A Change of Pace” back in January while I was on winter break from college. I originally intended for the song to be on my last EP, To Mend The Sun, which we were working on at the time, but we had to cut it due to time constraints. Sonically, there’s a bit of inspiration from everywhere. I always love drawing from the very current music I’m listening to. There are definitely periods where I listen to nothing but songs I heard on Tik Tok. Lyrically, It’s about faking your death, starting over, and not really feeling bad about it at all. I thought it would be fun to take this slightly dark idea and frame it in a way you might not expect. The writing process was different from anything I’ve done before. I brought the barebones concept to Cole, who I work with on pretty much everything, and just sat down in his studio, throwing down ideas and weird sounds until we basically had a full instrumental. I recorded vocals and arranged the horns at home, sent them over, and in a matter of a week or two, we had one of my favorite songs we’ve made.”
“‘Needed A Change of Pace’ is essentially a short story I wrote in the form of a song. It’s about someone who fakes their death and starts an entirely different life away from everything they know. They realize that they actually don’t miss their old life and implore their loved ones not to miss them either. I think it’s a really fun song to dance around and daydream about how your life would be if you just did something really wild. Writing it was really fast and the video was even faster. We shot it all in one room, in like an hour, on an iPhone, and I just messed with it in every way I could think of. We rarely spend any money or have any other hands-on board when we’re making stuff; we take what we have and squeeze as much out of it as possible.”