Sebastian Clark and Normandie Wilson are two twenty-something, 1960's and 70's school-of-pop songwriters based in Los Angeles. Music For Smart People is their new joint album that exposes aspects of love and viewpoints of relationships that are oft-overlooked, glossed-over, and even denied by the cleverest of chameleons: ourselves. Each album cover is a glass mirror, compelling the listener to gaze into his or her own eyes and reflect on how self-aware of their emotional complexes and tendencies they allow themselves to be. With songwriting evoking the works of the great partnerships of yesteryear, inventive arrangements featuring eclectic instruments (charango, harpsichord, banjo, etc.), and emotive performances that alternately soothe, seduce, and even frighten the listener, Sebastian Clark & Normandie Wilsons' Music For Smart People has been built to last. Unless you drop it.
Challenging what is deemed possible with a DIY ethic, Music For Smart People was recorded almost entirely in Sebastian Clark and Normandie Wilson's living rooms and bedrooms, with supporting musical roles fleshed out by friends, co-workers, a landlord, and people found on Craigslist. Each album is put together by hand, every liner note folded with care, every mirror polished with love. Music For Smart People represents the evolution of Sebastian Clark's solo career and debut album, Songs From A Van, which featured a handcrafted cardboard case.
Sebastian Clark's Songs From A Van was recorded entirely while living in his VW Van in 2005. Utilizing one microphone, a junky guitar, glass bottles of his own urine for percussion, and a laptop (stealing electricity to power it), the album garnered critical acclaim in the indie scene. Nic Harcourt (of KCRW's “Morning Becomes Eclectic” fame,) placed Sebastian on his 'shortlist' of the DIY Vanguard, which included Damien Rice, The Arctic Monkeys, and Bright Eyes. He toured both the US and UK in support of Songs From A Van, playing such venues as The Bitter End in NYC and The Cavern Club in Liverpool. On Christmas Eve, 2006, Sebastian's van and most all of his belongings caught fire and exploded just outside Bristow, Oklahoma. With one contact lense and $20 in his pocket, he hitchhiked to get back Los Angeles. Once there, he posted a Craigslist ad looking for band mates to start anew.
Normandie Wilson is a self-taught pianist who, after encouragement from Hollywood music supervisors, moved from the East Coast to the West in 2005 to immerse herself in the “California Dream”. She joined the San Diego-based collective Red Pony Clock in 2006, assuming the position of vibraphonist, pianist, organist, and trumpeter. She is featured on their 2007 HHBTM label release, God Made Dirt, and toured the nation extensively both in support of this as well as two out-of-print DIY solo EPs. She responded to Sebastian Clark's Craigslist ad in 2007 seeking band mates, and the two quickly bonded over their shared passion for the works of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. They started crafting songs together, and Music For Smart People is the first product of this collaboration.