Recently, we were able to sit down with Jason Clackley of the Vera Project, an all ages music venue that showcases up and coming artists. He is also a part of two bands, The Exquisites and Dreamdecay. He talked with us about The Vera Project, his experiences, and about the path of new and emerging artists.
Where are you from and how long have you been making music?
I'm originally from Hawaii, that's where my family is from, and then my mom moved us to Bremerton, Washington when I was in middle school. I bought a guitar and started making music. I took a few lessons, and started playing shows. I got heavily involved with my local music scene. I then started doing my own shows and moved on from there. I moved to Seattle when I was 22, to a punk house in the U-District that doesn't exist anymore. It's a condo now.
How long have you been making music and when did you form a band?
I've been making music since I was 9 or 10. I started playing in bands, when I was in 6th or 7th grade, mainly cover bands, whatever was cool at the time, whatever Green Day record was cool at the time. I'm pretty old, so I can't remember which one.
How did your bands form?
For the most part, a lot of the people I've played with are people I've been fortunate enough to be around in a music scene, a music scene has been really important to that growth, because I was able to show up and be around my peers, folks that were like-minded. I just met these people and they became close friends, and we continue to play music together, but I met these people when I was younger. So a lot of times it is harder to start over, it's like dating in your thirties, you're on Tinder looking for the right bass player. At the same time it's about making these friendships, and showing up. That really shows in the long run.
Besides Green Day, what other influences do you have, musically?
My biggest influences when I was younger was soul music, like oldies and a lot of alternative rock, I grew up on watching MTV and stuff like that. Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, and stuff like that. I'm 33, so I was just around that era, to be able to grab those tapes.
Do you have some favorite records?
Yeah, Rites of Spring's End on End, Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, Frank Zappa's We're Only In It For The Money, This Piece and Second Symphony by Rachmaninov, Carol King's Tapestry, I've got a lot of tapes.
Are you currently making music?
I play in two active bands: one called The Exquisites, which is like a power pop kind of band, the other is Dreamdecay, we're kind of like post-punk, Sonic-Youthy kind of stuff. [Dreamdecay has] something coming out on SubPop, so we tour quite a bit.
As an artist, you have a voice that carries further than ordinary people, do you feel a responsibility to influence your audience in a specific way?
Yeah, just to be considerate of other people's feelings.
What do you love about performing and being a musician?
I kinda just love playing music. I like the feeling of being able to connect with folks, I love being able to play music with like-minded folks, performing has always been something I really love, as well as getting those moments in the room where you can feel energy between people, I really love that.
Clackley's passion for music transfers to his current line of work very cohesively. His path as a young musician working hard to make his hobby a passion, and to make that passion a job is a very uplifting story. The fact that he could turn his experience as a young artist into a skillset that helps other emerging artists find their footing in the music scene is a great thing, and deserves to be recognized.
This article was written as part of the Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.
The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about other Press Corps programs including the Teen Editorial Staff or the TeenTix Newsroom, see HERE.