I sat down with Clay Puddester (guitarist, composer, Renaissance man) of Young Doctors In Love to get the scoop on what the band has been up to and what they’re planning for the future. Clay is just one band member in this funky six piece. Alongside Clay, Pete Gorman plays the keys, Chris Hudson keeps the beat on drums, Jon Marck is on the bass, Amanda Li rocks the sassy back up vocals, and Katie Pearson brings it home as lead vocalist. You don’t want to miss their album release party May 30 at the Garrison, a NOW Magazine Critic’s Pick.
Clay: When I finished my masters at U of T I was at a point where I could either go into classical composition or kind of go back to where I was before I took my masters, I was more into rock. I think I’m focusing on pop now because one of the great things about music is that it makes connections; like connections to other people, connections to certain times in your life, connections to things within oneself; and I feel like I can do that more of that with pop than I could in classical music.
How did you come up with the name Young Doctors In Love?
Clay: We were just brainstorming band names and we liked it because it was fun, and it had “love” in the title. I feel like it combines the scientific and emotional, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Not that music is scientific, but there is a technical aspect to it.
Do you still compose classical music?
Clay: I haven’t really. I’m writing the songs for the next album now, and in one of the songs I want to include a fugue. It’s like a round, but the lines don’t repeat as much.
Who are your main influences?
Clay: For this album I wanted it to be like something between The Beach Boys and The Clash. High-energy music with harmonies and interesting chords. There’s a lot of garage rock in there as well, like all the “hey hey hey’s” in 10:35 (LINK) that’s coming from songs like “Double Shot of my Baby’s Love,” and “Farmer John,” it’s like they recorded the song in the studio with a bunch of people making noise and shouting in the background.
What is your creative process like?
Clay: I write them all, and arrange them all. I have a couple different ways of writing, the most basic way is to sit down with my guitar and start humming along. I use dummy lyrics starting out. Sometimes I can write the music and the lyrics all at once, that’s the best because most of the work is already done immediately. The main thing is the vocal and melody line. I record my mumblings and leave it for a few days and then I’ll go back and listen to them. When I decide it’s going to be a band song I put it into Sibelius, a music notation program, that’s when I write out all the parts, then I try to finish the lyrics. I always try to write the chorus first because it is the most important thing. If you have a good chorus the song is going to be good, a great chorus and okay verse is still a great song.
What are your rehearsals like?
Clay: We have two different kinds of rehearsals. One is the whole band in the rehearsal space and the other is one on one at my house, those are usually just Katie and Amanda and I. That’s when we work on the vocals, it takes them longer to learn the song with the lyrics than it does for the rest of the band. When we learn a new song Katie and Amanda have basically already learned the song at my house so we get together with the full band, who have the sheet music, and we can play through a song the first time.
What is the recording process like?
Clay: When we recorded the album we recorded so much stuff, lots of overdubs and layering of different harmony parts and multiple keyboard parts. It wasn’t all done live.
How long did it take to record the album?
Clay: We started recording it in August 2011. It took a long time to record. We ran into a few problems. “Our drummer Chris had to leave the country for a few months, I broke my collarbone. We redid some things because I’m a bit of a perfectionist. 10:35, now sounds like a party and loud and boisterous, but it didn’t sound like that at first. I had this idea in my head of what it’s supposed to sound like and it wasn’t there so we had to re-record and add some things to give it the energy it has now.“
Do you have any tour plans?
Clay: We’re working on an East Coast tour for the summer, and we want to play around Ontario a bit more as well.
If Young Doctors in Love could perform with any musician, who would you pick?
Clay: Buddy Holly at the Duluth National Guard Armory in Duluth, Minnesota January 31, 1959. Because I’m a huge Buddy Holly fan and we’d also get to play for an 18 year old Bob Dylan who was in the audience that night.
If you could borrow the NewMusic Ten time machine and could see anyone perform, who would it be?
Clay: That’s a tough one. It would be between Mozart, Beethoven and Liszt. Apparently Mozart and Beethoven were amazing improvisers, which I would like to hear. I read that Beethoven was the greatest improviser of all time, I don’t know how that’s possible to justify, but I would like to see that. Liszt supposedly was the greatest piano player of all time. Wagner said that he saw him perform and was blown away, if he was blown away that’s definitely something to hear.