One of the organizers asked if Byrne and Clark would be interested in trying a similar collaboration.
While sorting out what kinds of instruments would sound good in a bookstore with a small PA system, Clark thought of horns—an idea that grew, over the course of three years, into a full album built around brass arrangements.
Sitting together in a Soho studio, they’re still and thoughtful, like people whose thoughts undergo vigorous vetting before being released into the world.
“One of the things I like so much about David’s work,” says Clark, “is that he’s able to live at the intersection of the artful and the accessible, and I think that’s where I’ve tried to live as well.” Then she turns to Byrne to make sure she’s not misrepresenting his agenda: “Is that okay? This whole project stems from the second time they met—at the Housing Works bookstore downtown, where Björk was performing with the Brooklyn band Dirty Projectors.
(“I was getting a lot of tweets about that,” she says.
And yet the two of them sound more self-conscious about the horns than you’d expect. “People might hear we’re working together and think, Oh, that sounds interesting—and then they’d hear every song’s backed by a brass band, and they’d think, Oh.
Clark also contributed backing vocals for Swans on their 2014 album, To Be Kind. Vincent, was released on February 25, 2014 and was named album of the year by The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, NME, and Slant Magazine, as well as second best album of the year by Time magazine.
The album won her a Grammy for Best Alternative Album, her first Grammy award.
The funny thing about that sense of scale, of course, is that the horns chosen for a small bookstore show are about to be taken out for a national tour—on which Byrne and Clark will have to deal with the logistics of an eight-piece brass section, and the eight-piece brass section will have to replicate parts that, in the studio, used as many as sixteen “tough-guy New York session players.” “This was an expensive record! “Maybe not as much as a Nicki Minaj record, or whatever, but for different reasons.
Just the number of players that were on every song. These days there’s always a feeling—or at least I always have this feeling—that says, ‘This might be your last chance to do something like this before the music business …’” Clark laughs: “Totally tanks?
nnie Clark is a Texan-raised musician, possibly the best guitar stylist in indie rock, and the maker of three ornate and slyly twisted pop albums under the name St.