Norway’s Martin Danielle’s moniker CLMD is synonymous with melodic House music, as well as both an audio and visual experience. The last year has been a whirlwind for CLMD with new music that stays true to the name while also reinventing the sound he has become known for. Personally, CLMD’s music has always hit close to home and has been everything I adore.
First up, this is probably my favorite question. How do you define success, whether it be in life or in your career?
I think for me, it’s as easy as being happy. If one is happy you are successful, because it’s the ultimate goal in life… but it also transcends directly to my career. I write my best music when I’m happy and having fun in the studio. If I’m not enjoying myself or having fun, the music suffers and those songs end up going nowhere. Same with shows really… If I’m having a bad day, I won’t deliver as good of a show as if I’m having a great day. So to sum it up, happiness is success!
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Your releases seem to take us on a journey through sounds – sometimes the meaning behind them feels a lot deeper than others (say, Did It Again vs. Dust). What motivates you to create the music that you create?
I think it’s very hard to answer because everything can motivate. I started this because I have an overly eager interest for electronic music, but with time and a little boost from fans, my motivation is really to make more for those who wanna share. Part of it is also really to challenge myself. See what I can do and in which directions. It’s kind of like testing out my fans and seeing how far I can push the “box” CLMD is.
But in reference to the music, I think all songs go through the same stages. For instance, “Did It Again” sounds like a very easy going “shallow” (not in a bad way) tune, but really there is a lot of emotion in that track for me. I was at a point where I didn’t really know how I should go about music anymore. Carl, my former partner in CLMD, had pulled out of the project, and my first solo CLMD single “Keep Dreaming” didn’t hit it off as well as previous CLMD tracks. I felt a little lost and the only way to get back was to try to go against all my “regular” ways of making music. I wanted to experiment and challenge myself in any way I could, and I was pretty happy with the result. That being said, going back to more classical “CLMD Sound” with “Dust” felt absolutely right for me. Now I know what I want to do and where to take my music next. So I’m very happy 🙂
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We hear talk of an album, and at one point you said it was to come before the summer. Do we have a date on the release? Can you talk about the album a bit – how many tracks are on it? What kind of sounds were you going for? Why did you decide this was the time for an album?
Hahah I hate artists that announce something and the postpone it.. but I guess I’ve just become one of them…
The plan was to release it in June, but I’ve decided to make some last minute changes and therefore it has been postponed. This Spring I have had and overflow of ideas really. And after “finishing” the album I have created more tracks than ever! So I want to add some new tracks and make it a bigger package! Hopefuly it will be worth the extra wait!
I think the sound of the album represents all aspects of what I think CLMD should be, so im very excited to share it! What I can also reveal is that it only includes new tracks (Dust and Phoenix are on it).
I tink that the timing is right for me to do an album because I have so much new music. There’s a very big focus on singles these days, and I feel a lot of cool stuff does not get to see the light because it’s not radio or mainstream enough. With an album, I get the opportunity to share some of this and release more music that I love, without always thinking about what gets the most streams.
You worked with Frøder on Phoenix, and of course, everyone knows her as the voice of your legendary, ‘The Stockholm Syndrome.’ Is there any story behind this track? What was motivation for the two of you to work together again – was it the anniversary of Stockholm Syndrome?
Phoenix does have a little funny story actually. I did the instrumental around the time I did “Keep Dreaming”… It was actually meant as a B-side to KD, but I never managed to get the right vocals to fit. So the tracked ended up on my hard drive and locked away. In January this year, I was going through all of my stuff to see what could fit on the album and the track stood out.. I thought to myself, I need to finish this! Frøder was already writing to some other tracks I had so I asked her if she was interested.. and boom the rest is history as they say! It also fitted well to release it now, 3 years after “The Stockholm Syndrome.”
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Let’s go back in time! What did your big break look like – was it ’The Message’ or another track/gig? At what point did you sit there and think, ‘Wow, I/we made it??’
Have I had a big break yet? Hahaha – It doesn’t feel like it in that sense. I think for me if feels like a natural progression. One step at the time. But yes, when SHM started playing ”The Message” regularly and Axwell did his edit of it, that really gave me the belief in that I can actually do this. But in terms of breaks, I think when “Black Eyes & Blue” became the Ultra Music 2012 Aftermovie Anthem, and at the same time became the most played track on Norwegian radio, that was the moment I know I had a career going.
You started UpNorth Recordings back in 2012 and continue to put out your music on the label, including your latest Phoenix. What do your plans for UpNorth look like (if any!)? Are you open to demos being sent for possible release? What were your original motivations for beginning the label with Carl?
UpNorth was initially started to promote Norwegian electronic music and so that Carl and I could use our contacts to build a solid foundation for electronic producers in Norway. But when Carl pulled out the plan changed a bit.. for now Upnorth will only handle CLMD and remixes of CLMD music, but yes there are big plans for the future! Once I’m done touring my focus will come back to Upnorth and building a creative collective for everyone who wants to get involved!
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Laaaaaast question! What words of advice do you have for up and coming artists? Is there anything you wish you would have known when you started that you know now?
Be dumb enough to try, but smart enought to follow through! I think the hardest thing with music is the game of patience. Not everyone is a Kygo or Martin Garrix who became stars overnight. There are a million NOs waiting before you get a yes 🙂 Stay disciplined and work hard and it will come!
Thank you, Martin!