EP Walkthrough: Will Clift breaks down the dancing R&B of his debut EP, Coast
Across the course of six tracks, the Melbourne musician offers an introduction into both himself and his sound.
A few months ago, we were introduced to Melbourne-based multi-disciplinary Will Clift, someone who on first meeting, sounded a bit like a master-of-all-trades-type. Not just content with making bright-eyed R&B, the musician is also a Rugby Union pro studying neuroscience, with fingers spread across multiple pies spread way beyond music. Music is the main drive, however, carving a rich sound from influences such as Anderson .Paak and D'Angelo, whose distinctive brands of R&B form the basis of his work: "I love R&B and mainly write with guitar, but I aim to create RnB music that is accessible whether you’re a musician or a casual listener," he told us.
Now, he's eyeing off the release of his debut EP Coast, a collection of six tracks that tell us more than his typed words ever could. Released at the tail-end of last week, Coast is a remarkable first release that really serves as an introductory point not just to Will Clift but the music and stories that have underpinned his last few months, showcased through dancing R&B that switches between warm acoustics and thick funk underneath his warm vocals, which prove the binding point between the EP's varied collection of sounds.
It's a release that really grapples with multiple different sides of R&B, veering between this more down-tempo and rich sound of it - How, for example, marries a soothing production with Ash Kennedy's remarkably Ariana Grande-reminiscent vocals - right through to facets that really flesh out those aforementioned comparatives to Anderson .Paak, laden with percussive funk undertones that add a dancing beat to Will's warm R&B embrace.
Regardless of what sound he moves between, Coast feels like a brilliant snapshot of Will Clift throughout a constantly-changing and strange time, as he explains: "The process of putting this project together has been a huge learning experience for me over the last two years," he says on the EP. "I’ve worked with so many amazing people and I’m so grateful for their help. The project is inspired by positive experiences and good times, so I hope it evokes those feelings when people listen.
"I think the EP shows my versatility and hopefully potential for the future. The final touches of the EP and both the music videos were recorded during the pandemic so there were definitely a few ups and down as well as improvising things last minute, but overall I’m extremely excited to show everyone what I’ve been working on!"
As mentioned, it seems that Coast is only the beginning, presenting an introduction to Will Clift that in future releases, he hopes to further explore and move beyond. In the meantime, however, take a dive into Coast below, alongside a track-by-track walkthrough breaking down its themes and creation one song at a time:
Taking influence from acoustic RnB artists such as Daniel Ceasar, How aims to evoke a feeling of contentment and warmth through its lyrics and production. I wrote this song whilst on a ski trip in the Australian ski field’s and was lucky enough to have my vocals greatly complimented by the beautiful voice of my good friend, Ash Kennedy and production by absolute legends Rob Amoruso and Ben Oldland.
Fall in Love
The was the most recently written song on the EP being finished up in January this year. We aimed for west coast production with a hint of disco plus Anderson .Paak-cross-Tom Misch style vocals on this track. The theme of trust and hopefulness was in mind when I wrote it and was brought to life by the impressive production skills of Rob Amoruso and Ben Oldland.
All of my close friends know that I love Tom Misch and Get By is definitely my Tom Misch inspired song. It’s really about being comfortable on your own and not relying on others for your happiness. Julian Steel and Ben Oldland did an amazing job working on the production and if you listen carefully you can hear some cheeky BV’s from JAYDEAN. I’m incredibly happy with how it turned out!
This track has big hip hop / RnB vibes and is probably the closest I’ll ever get to being able to rap haha. It’s a bit cheeky and the production has really brought out a groove that I love. Strictly D.T brings a common like rap that really suits the track and sounds amazing. Very very excited for everyone to hear this one.
Written during a summer trip to Noosa with friends, this song aims to capture that summer holiday vibe that I’m sure lots of Australians are looking forward to this year. Its lyrics are filled with real experiences and good times so it’s very nostalgic to me and bring back good memories.
I remember writing the lyrics to this song on a flight back to Melbourne and being so excited to be able to put it together with the guitar. Fun fact about this one is that I recorded the final vocals during isolation in what is essentially a glorified tent. The song really speaks about the complexities and difficulties that a breakup can have, even over long periods of time.
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