Interview: Clint Wilson takes a step in a new direction with new single ‘People Don’t Think Like Us’

Interview: Clint Wilson takes a step in a new direction with new single ‘People Don’t Think Like Us’

"After having two years off, there’s just whole new energy"

An artist renowned for sweeping songwriting full of passion and contemplation, Melbourne singer-songwriter Clint Wilson’s newest single is a rocking alt-country wonderland: Dreamy and intimate, parts rock, folk, and country, it’s the perfect re-introduction to an artist we can’t wait to hear much more from in the years to come.

Released in early April, ‘People Don’t Think Like Us’ is Wilson’s first single since his highly-successful 2020 sophomore record Another Death in The Family, which debuted in the second spot on the iTunes Country Albums chart and reached 12th on the ARIA Australian Country Albums chart.

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Drawing influence from the likes of The Church, The Whitlams and Paul Kelly, Wilson is a multi-dimensional artist – and ‘People Don’t Think Like Us’ showcases another heartfelt and beguiling experience packed with new sounds and styles. A soaring, searing and stirring track full of charisma and charm, it’s a bold and moving best-foot-forward from Wilson, signalling a step in a new direction from the songwriter.

“The new music is definitely more upbeat and a bit rockier than my previous releases,” Wilson explains.

“I think after having a few years away from it all – the music, the tours, the stage – when the band and I got back together to make music, we all just had a bit of a fresh feeling and were more energetic and it naturally came out through the music. After having two years off, there’s just a whole new energy.”

Earning himself a solid reputation for his authentic songwriting and melancholic, emotional storytelling over the past few years, this new energy is instantly felt through ‘People Don’t Think Like Us’, moving beyond the sombre stories of his previous releases yet still exhibiting the same strong, authentic storytelling ability that is quintessential Clint Wilson.

The thoughtful new single opens on a lonesome slide guitar. As the track progresses it grows, like a truck slowly picking up speed, growling down an empty highway like a juggernaut in the dead of night.

Displaying a more consistent folk-rock exploration, the result is emotionally charged and instantly affecting: Listeners are sure to come away from this track in a fresh, new headspace.
For Wilson, this single truly captures his compelling storytelling ability with an unapologetic radiance, painting a portrait of a tired Wilson, yearning for change, inspired by family who escaped the city stress and moved out to the country, just before the pandemic.

“It’s a song that’s loosely based on my cousin [and drummer] and his wife. They’ve always lived in the city and around Melbourne and they moved out to the country with their adopted Greyhound and moved out to start a family,” Wilson says.

“When we first started the co-write, my friend asked what I’d been up to and I said, ‘I’ve just been picking raspberries before the birds do’ and then we’re like ‘yes, let’s start the song off like that’.

“From there, the rest sort of came about by imagining people moving from the city out to the country, realising that everybody thinks differently, differently to the locals but still part of the community, and that’s not a bad thing.”

The musical direction may be darker and more beat-driven compared with his more spirited releases like ‘Family Tree’ and ‘Teeth in Me’, yet Wilson’s incredible ability to communicate a narrative with poetry and charm still shines on this latest offering, especially touching on an experience that many could relate to with the number of people swapping the city lights for the country lifestyle in recent years.

Renowned for honing in on the magic, chemistry, and sound of brilliant songwriters and friends, Wilson co-wrote the song with Coffs Harbour artist Billie-Jo Porter over Zoom and worked with his friend and Grammy nominee Callum Barter (Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile) on the other side of the world to record and produce ‘People Don’t Think Like Us’ in a studio he helped Callum Barter build in the USA.

“I was over in the States just after Christmas last year, in LA on a family holiday, and I went and checked out a friend’s [Barter’s] studio that I helped build just before lockdown,” Wilson recalls.

“And we had planned to catch up and we just thought, ‘why don’t we record a song?’ We got a few musicians together and tracked it over there. It was a bit of a spur of the moment thing, but we had so much fun getting back into making music after two years of absolutely nothing.”

Arriving alongside the rollicking alt-country effort is a timeless video clip, beautifully presented in black and white depicting Neil Bosanquet, a guitar builder and friend of Wilson’s, ‘working in his own different way’.

Enlisting Glenn Triggs to shoot and direct the video, Wilson’s voice serves as the perfect vehicle for the engrossing lyricism while the quirky footage sees the luthier meticulously handcrafts a guitar while taking the occasional pause to dance eccentrically around the workshop, a half-burnt cigarette dangling from his lips.

“We were sitting down with the director, going through some ideas and at the same time Neil [who has starred in four of Wilson’s previous video clips] was finishing off a bit of work in his guitar workshop and the lighting was great, so we thought ‘let’s just shoot it in here’.

“The second time through we had the song playing in the background, and he started dancing around and we thought ‘this is great’. There was really no direction in it, we just let him do what he did and it all came together from there. It was all just him finishing off a few little jobs that he had to do before we were supposed to film the video clip but it ended up being the clip itself; it’s quite nice when it all just comes together naturally.”

In recent years, Clint Wilson has become a name associated with authenticity and compelling storytelling and the latest single is utterly and absolutely hypnotic with the songwriter possessing a sensibility that proves the future of Australian alt-country is indeed in good hands.

With a huge community of professional writers, producers and musicians around the world who he relies on to refine his themes and sculpt his ideas to reflect the best version of his work, Wilson plans to return to Barter’s Los Angeles studio later in 2022 to continue recording his next album with live shows promising to follow.

“On the single, we got Callum’s neighbour Paul Bushnell in on bass and this guy was a legend. He’s played with Elton John, Neil Young and a lot of other musos that I love and he was such a humble dude. He came in and we hung out for the whole day so when I go back in July to record the full album, we’ll get him in on the session too.

“I’m just so excited to make music with good people. I think that’s what it’s all about.”

Listen to ‘People Don’t Think Like Us’ here. Visit his website for more information.

Made in partnership with Clint Wilson