Describing her own music as pretty and glittery post-rock Led Zeppelin, Sarah Clayton and fellow band members Theo Stevens, James Davis, and Craig Webber are definitely one not to miss. I had the honour of meeting Sarah to interview her about All That Glitters, her idols and advice she has for fellow musicians.
What inspired you to pick BSU above other universities? (Sarah is currently enrolled on the Arts Management MA course at Bath Spa University.)
There’s just loads to get involved with, if you want to. For example, this morning I went to learn to use a really fancy digital camera. Next week, I’m going to learn how to do videography. I’ve just had my lecture at the Holburne Museum. It’s great.
Tell me more about your band members, do they also study here at BSU?
My drummer, Craig, he did the Commercial Music course with me here. We went to school together, and university, now we’re in a band together! My bassist, Theo and I went to college together and now ten years later we are in a band together. Our guitarist, James, we met through a jam night in Bath.
Do you suggest going to these ‘jam nights’ and seeing what everyone in Bath is doing?
Yeah, I mean there are so many musicians in Bath. So many! And I think, if you’re a musician, don’t limit yourself to the people on your course and in your year because you’re really restricting yourself.
What was your inspiration for the name ‘All That Glitters’?
Well, ‘all that glitters’ are lyrics to a Led Zeppelin track, but more than that some of our music is quite pretty and atmospheric, but also post-rock. Everything is about big slow builds, pretty and glittery post-rock with Led Zeppelin blues, and that means we are All That Glitters.
What genre of music do you play, is it a particular style?
I would say the style that we play is mostly rocky blues, bit of an indie mix. If you think London Grammar infused with highly charged blues rock, that’s kind of what you get.
What are you working on right now? Are you producing or gigging?
Currently we are just trying to get out and gig a bit more. It’s really nice to be able to play for a student vibe and get a whole load of new people behind us as a local band.
Do you prefer playing in bars or festivals, is the atmosphere important?
I like playing intimate moody spaces. When I perform, I guess what I want to do is create a certain atmosphere that gets across really well, that’s the connection or transcendence I want to create.
Can you describe your process of making music? Do you compose music as a group, or individual?
I’m what we call a ‘top down writer’. Being the singer and rhythm guitarist, I write everything from the lyric and vocal melody first, then the rhythm guitarist on the back. I take that to the band and we kind of, hash out what the rest of it goes like.
We’ve spoken about so many, but who are your musical icons/inspirations?
Musical inspirations … oh my word. I think what you listen to and what inspires you, is quite different to what you then end up writing. I’m a big blues fan, Zeppelin and Mayer, and then you’ve got bands like London Grammar. Oh! And I really like strong female vocalists. I get a lot of inspiration from that, thinking Fleetwood Mac or Aretha Franklin. Anything that’s got a bit of balls behind it!
Where do you hope to be in the next five years, in terms of music or other careers?
I hope to successfully finish my MA! Hopefully that’s only two years, not five! No, just to be writing and gigging and people enjoying what we create. It could be having a bigger following. What it truly comes down to is; am I still writing, am I still performing, am I still enjoying it? That’s most important.
So, would you like to travel, or would all of that be enough?
I would love for my music to take me … places. It already has! It’s taken me to places that you know, without being in a band, I wouldn’t have gone or experienced. I’d like to record an album, that’s the next short term goal. We’ve produced an EP which you can download and buy at our gigs or online, but the album is next.
How do you feel about the internet and social media in the music industry? Do you find it benefiting your musical careers or do you find people to be cruel/harsh outweighing the positives?
The internet is an incredibly useful tool. It’s quite easy to get caught up with how many followers do I have for this, how many people have seen this post, how many downloads do I have? Use the internet, it gets your stuff out there, connects you with other bands, more useful to me is speaking to people at gigs. Getting them through the door to see you play, that’s what’s important. Us performing live to an audience is so much more impacting than them listening to the MP3.
What do you like to do outside of the band?
Music really is my world from eight am to nine pm. When I actually do get away, I’ve got a two-year-old Labrador. I love to go for countryside walks with her, and when I can spend time with my lovely husband! Going for drinks at our favourite bars, and seeing our friends, throwing house parties, still. I love it.
Finally, what is your key advice to bands or even solo artists?
Song writing. Take the time to write. You could be the best guitarist or drummer in your peer group, but it’s the songs that are important. So seriously? If you want to be noticed, write some decent songs.
For more information about the band and their upcoming events, visit the band’s Facebook page.
Words by Drew Chaos