Feb 222006
Authors: Seth Stewart

Manufacturing homemade CDs cased in cardboard, Sebastian Clark could be described as a struggling, yet highly determined artist.

Although he released an album, the songs recorded weren't exactly mixed in a well-funded studio. Using a Toshiba laptop and microphones, Clark finished his 12-song CD while working at Starbucks and sleeping in his 1982 Volkswagon van parked on the residential streets of southern California. The album is appropriately titled "Songs from a Van."

"It started out as just like 'Ok, I'm going to record a demo of stuff,'" said the 21- year-old musician. "But then as I started getting into it and listening back I thought to myself that this is pretty interesting in its own right."

The album is very lo-fi. Clark had a lack of instruments and recording capabilities. He resorted to desperate measures at times, giving it a unique sound quality.

"I did everything one at a time. All the drum beats are on their own track, so it would be like cowbell over and over, and me hitting the van, and that's like 'one bass down'" described Clark in his attempt to get rhythm on tracks.

"If I wanted a higher registered sound I would bang on bottles. Some of them were beer bottles; I had a Jack Daniels bottle that I had to empty out to get the right pitch. I had a Sobe bottle that I pissed into," Clark laughed.

Clark described one of the biggest obstacles in recording the album was finding a power source. He went from using a generator at a storage unit to meeting with people from myspace.com and tapping into their homes. He even got desperate enough to resort to stealing.

"There was this time four cops stopped me from…'borrowing' power from these tennis courts," Clark said. "The park closed at ten but they left the gate open. So I figured, well, they've got a plug in there for tennis ball machines, so what's really against the law for me using public power in a public park…I just happen to be utilizing the power that me and my fellow neighbors pay as taxes to support. So this isn't stealing."

Clark said the only reason the police didn't take him to jail was because of his sly justification.

Currently on his first nationwide tour, Clark is chugging along from city to city in the van that he uses for a home and drum kit. Clark said he doesn't really mind living in the van, but that coming through Colorado was "utter hell."

"I had visions of doctors cutting off my fingers and toes from exposure," Clark quipped about the cold weather.


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