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Pushing the boundaries of music and voice: a chat with Cleff

Alex King and Simon Bennett are the duo Cleff.

The group has recently released their first EP, “Forthcoming”. Alex is a harpist and vocalist based in Shoreham-By-Sea who has worked with Stefan for around a year. Here's the transcript of Stefan's recent conversation.

Stefan: How long have you and Simon worked together?

Alex: Oh, gosh. About six or seven years maybe.

Stefan: How do you write your songs? Do you go on intuition or do you have a very clear idea?

Alex: Don’t know! Usually if I’m writing a song, I’ll sit at the harp and just play some chords and find ones that I like and pick them out. And Simon I think finds sounds that he likes and builds up chords around that. Definitely chord structure first.

Stefan: And the lyrics?

Alex: Often I’ll think of something abstract and just build from that. I will sit there with a thesaurus and a dictionary and pick out words that I like as a starting point.

Stefan: It’s unusual to have harp in there and I think that’s absolutely wonderful!

Alex: Yeah, harp’s being pushed more into popular music. I just think it can be much more versatile than people expect and I want to change people’s preconceptions about the instrument. So that’s one of the reasons I want to do something like this. I don’t want to be held back by my instrument being thought of as only classical.

Stefan: And where are you taking the EP? Are you releasing it online?

Alex: Yeah, it’s on Spotify and iTunes and Googleplay and all of those platforms.

Stefan: And is it available now?

Alex: Yes!

Stefan said of working with Alex:

"It’s been great to work with Alex. We are working on extending her range both in terms of pitch and dynamics, by cultivating a deeper contact between the vocal folds. It’s also been an interesting challenge to look at how to sing and play the harp at the same time!"​

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