Clever Girls' Diane Jean Talks Songwriting, Fronting A Band And Rock 'N' Roll Sleepaway Camp

Aug 17, 2017

If Diane Jean, from the Burlington-based band Clever Girls, was shipwrecked on a desert island, she knows just which five records she'd like to listen to until the rescue ship arrived.

That is, of course, a list of six record albums. The singer-songwriter and guitarist for the indie-rock band, who recently spoke to VPR, couldn't quite decide on the last one.

"I love 'Pet Sounds' and it's obviously the superior record if you ask me, but you need something to unwind to on a desert island ..." she said, citing that "In Da Club" from 50 Cent is just a great tune.

That same eclectic mix of influences, sounds and harder edges find their way into the band's music, too.

The lead singer of Clever Girls talked about being its front-woman, how her songwriting process is evolving and how she and the band - which formed in 2016 - view their time spent in the recording studio as "rock-and-roll sleep-away camp."

Living in Waitsfield after college in 2014, and not knowing anyone there afforded her plenty of alone time to mull over a just-done relationship. She challenged herself to concentrate on songwriting. The tunes she penned eventually became Clever Girls' EP, "Loose Tooth."

She said more recently her songwriting has taken on a different feel with band mates Winfield Holt (guitar), Tobias Sullivan (bass) and Robert Slater (drums). The group now mull over chord progressions and song structure first and then she pens the words.

The band has just finished a two-week recording stint for a new album at Big Nice in Rhode Island.

We just camp out. We really just don't leave and it's rock-and-roll sleep-away camp. We can just stay up all night and play with sounds. - Diane Jean, lead singer and guitarist for Burlington-based band Clever Girls, talking about the band spending time in a recording studio.

She said the band plans to return to Big Nice in the fall to finish mixing the album. Clever Girls play a show at Pianos on September 5 in New York City. Look for more local shows coming soon, too.