“They’ll have to clear grated cheese and empty coffins.”
– Beck Clewlow allows us into the mind of his brand-new project, Formal Sppeedwear.
Written by Caleb Allport.
You may recognise the face – but the name? Perhaps not this one. Producer, videographer and multi-instrumentalist Beck Clewlow has gifted us a whole new project in the name of Formal Sppeedwear.
Friday 5th March saw Mr. Sppeedwear (AKA Beck/Lost Russle) unleash debut EP Dynamite. As much as we’d loved to have discussed it over a shared pack of pork scratchings and a beverage, the constraints of Zoom saw best fit for the time being.
In comparison to previous projects produced, Beck’s approach towards this latest work differed somewhat, becoming a product of the current surroundings many of us relate to for the time being.
“Loneliness and furlough has definitely sparked this new project. I’ve had chance to submit all my time into the details of my work. I’ve not been bouncing out at 30+ dB and saying ‘that’ll do’. I’ve had no excuse to not learn how to record and mix the tracks properly.
“I’ve had no employers kicking me around asserting jobs onto me – I’ve taken that role up myself. Whilst longing for a telling off, I’ve almost overworked myself in order to achieve that feeling.”
Dynamite has not only seen Beck make notable differences in production. This is the first project we’ve had chance to hear the vocal ability of the man behind the music.
Beck explains “for vocals in any previous project, I’ve always just dug through playlists of a cappella and lifted what fits. That wasn’t gonna slide with this project. I needed to record exactly what I wanted to say in an exact style.”
Beck then touched upon the vocal influences behind his amalgamation of style and sound. Saying “it’s always fun driving out of work, screaming at the radio. I tried to sing like Andy McClusky, I’ve tried to sing like Sid Vicious and I’m shit at both. So what I’ve landed on is an attempt at bridging the gap. I’m not the best at either. It’s like mixing two ingredients together that don’t go – but they’re edible.”
As you may have noticed by its press images and at the forefront of the EP’s artwork, there’s one canine friend that appears to be a regular occurrence. Mark Osama Brexit Valentine Clewlow (or Mark for short) could well be the star of the show.
Beck explains “I couldn’t think of anything I’d like to do less than than have a photoshoot. But having always appreciated the companionship between album art and music, I thought I’d let (Mark) take the load for me. The photo of Mark just grabbed me. I don’t think I would have made the EP the way I did if I hadn’t seen that (EP cover) image. I had the instrumentals knocking about for a while, but until I saw that photo I just arsed around on Photoshop and thought ‘what looks nice?’
“The name ‘Dynamite’ came before the song did. The whole project stemmed from just one photo. A very small, but strong spark of inspiration.”
Beck also speaks of enjoying the difficultly discovered in his latest project. Overcoming his regular approach of “fuck sending this to anyone else – it sounds fine.” Elaborating, he says “I’ve bit the bullet, swallowed my stubbornness that is inherent with my music making and its worked for the better.”
Overcoming difficulty brings great reward. Given the chance, Formal Sppeedwear is a project much desired to be performed within a live capacity. It appears as though a vison is already in mind. “I want The Human League’s Top of the Pops set up. I want to stand and do everything the tape machine isn’t. I’ve always had fucking ridiculous ideas of what I’d do on stage – bizarre and unyielding. I want to be the support act that everybody says ‘who the fuck was that’. They’ll have to clear grated cheese and empty coffins before the next act come on.”
Regardless to Beck’s colossal ability throughout music, photography, art & design. His projects are always addressed with great humility – perhaps even a little too much. Dynamite speaks to me as an artist that continues to hone his craft. Demonstrating the versatility, skill and vision possessed by its creator.
Another string to Beck’s bow and yet again his work leaves me on the edge of my seat, waiting in great anticipation for what else is to ooze from that innovative mind of his.
Formal Sppeedwear on Social Media
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