Interview with Chris Clute
Chris Clute is an electronic pop artist from Vancouver, BC. He recently released a touching new song and video called “Vince’s Song”, which was written for the family of Clute’s lost friend, Vince. It is a ‘true story’ of a young man, slowly seduced by substances and consumed by addiction, who has disappeared into the streets of Vancouver’s dangerous downtown eastside. Clute’s heartfelt music video actually takes viewers onto those same streets where Vince now likely languishes, his whereabouts still unknown. We had the opportunity to ask Chris a few questions about the song and video, his songwriting, the pandemic, what he’s got coming up next and more! Keep scrolling to read the interview, and if you’re interested in learning more about Chris and hearing his music, join us at 6 PM EST for a live performance and interview!
Interview with Chris Clute
Your new single “Vince’s Song” is quite a touching one, can you tell us about the lyrics behind it?
The song is about an old friend named Vince. Vince and I met in highschool. We hung out in the same friend groups, attended the same parties, and went skiing together in the winter. Vince is hilarious and always knew how to make people laugh. Vince also happens to be someone who struggles with substance use disorder and currently lives on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Canada. For those who don’t live in Vancouver, the Downtown Eastside is a neighbourhood in Vancouver that contains one of the largest communities of IV drug users in North America.
Although the song was initially inspired by Vince, in retrospect, I think the song is for anyone struggling with mental health or substance use issues who may feel ashamed or stigmatized by society into thinking they have to hide their true selves in order to be accepted. 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness or addiction problems within a given year. That’s a lot of people. We need to change the script and erase the stigma. It’s okay to not be okay. This song is a call out to anyone struggling who needs a reminder that it’s okay, that those who care love you, and to come home.
The single is accompanied by a music video that you shot in Vancouver. Can you tell us about the video and the concept behind it?
When filming the music video, we really tried to show the disparity in Downtown Vancouver. We wanted to show how you can walk from West to East in downtown Vancouver and see a drastic change in everything. We started in Coal Harbour, a high-income neighborhood, where there’s tall skyscrapers, expensive restaurants and everything is well-kempt. We then drove two minutes east into Gastown, an area of Vancouver that has gone through intense gentrification throughout the years and has an interesting combination of fancy restaurants and nightclubs but also homelessness and is steps away from the Downtown Eastside. We ended with shots of the Downtown Eastside, a low-income area with a large population who struggle with mental health and substance use that lacks the social support their residents need. This drive, from Coal Harbour to the Downtown Eastside is less than five minutes. We thought this highlighted the inequities of our society, especially in Vancouver.
A lot of your early writing was introspective, but now your songs often tell the stories of those closest to you. What brought this change?
I found my own story getting kind of boring to be honest, I don’t really do much other than write/play music, play video games and hang with my friends(pre pandemic)
I also found myself writing about very similar subject matter almost every single time.
Thinking from different perspectives opened up different opportunities musically and allowed me to add variety in my songs.
Who are some of your favourite Canadian artists?
Metric and Arkells are two that have had a big impact on how I write and why I’ve chosen to pursue a career in music. However lately I’ve been inspired by my peers in the local scene making strides and really pushing themselves creatively; Sound of Kalima, Tom Lambrou and my sister, Andrea Clute. Throughout quarantine they continued to create and work on their craft amidst the stress and confinement of this pandemic.
What do you think the Vancouver music scene will look like when this is all said and done?
With international travel being limited, I think there will be more of an emphasis on going out to see local acts. I will be sad not being able to see some of my favourite artists but it’ll be great for the locals. More attention and support for the great things happening in our own backyard. Maybe we’ll see some more BC based artists at our festivals and more small shows at least for the near future.
Do you think the pandemic will affect your lyrics or sound moving forward?
The pandemic has already affected our sound for sure, or at least the way we create it. Being distanced from my production team has forced us to do a lot more on our own. Working on our own bits and then fitting the pieces together afterwards.
What can fans expect next from Chris Clute?
Lots of Music! And hopefully a lot of live shows once those come back into existence!
Do you have any last words for our readers during these crazy times?
After a year like this, I think we’ve all learned the importance of looking after the people in your community. This pandemic has affected everyone. With this in mind, we decided to put together a campaign to help the residents of the Downtown Eastside.
The “For Vince” campaign aims to help those who are in need of immediate support by raising money for the ‘Street Saviors Society Outreach’. This non-profit organization patrols the Downtown Eastside several nights a week, providing outreach, food items, harm reduction supplies, and emergency medical care from certified medics and emergency medical responders (EMR).
We hope that this campaign will help continue the conversation and diminish the stigma surrounding addiction, homelessness, and the opioid epidemic.
For more info on the “For Vince” campaign you can follow this link https://www.gofundme.com/f/for-vince?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1
Thank you for your time,
Stay safe everybody!