There is a tension to the music of Another Dead Clown, an Astoria-based indie rock band. Through thoughtful lyrics, layered melodies and smart production, the band balances specificity against randomness, creating a fun effect for the listener.
In describing his writing style, band member Chris O’Keeffe reflected a similar tension in both his attention to detail and embrace of spontaneity.
“The lyrics are like codes,” O’Keeffe said. “You might have three or four syllables to fill, but seven possible words. I try to find balance between the imagery, voice and the phonetics.”
“But the final 10 percent of songwriting tends to be like a program running in the background of my brain,” he continued. “I’ll just be walking to the falafel truck and suddenly be like, ‘Scuba tank! That’s the lyric I needed! It’s brilliant!’”
O’Keeffe also noted that a crucial aspect of Another Dead Clown’s artistic process is collaboration. He said that when he brings a song draft to his bandmates – Gerad O’Shea, Meagan Brus and Ian Deming – they help him hone in on “the true worth of a song.” This communication between the band members comes through in their sound as well, which is multi-layered and dynamic but tight throughout.
Another Dead Clown’s collaborative efforts extend outside of the band itself as well. During live performances, the band will open up their songs to guest musicians and audience members who want to join them on stage.
“We’ll pick someone out of the audience and they can take a kazoo or harmonica solo over one of our songs. We try to get people who have little or no performing experience to help them get over their fears and see that it’s not so hard,” O’Keeffe said, adding that the idea sprang from his own early struggles with stage fright.
“I don’t know if we’ve kickstarted any careers, but those guests usually get nice big rounds of applause, and they thank us after the show, usually. That’s a really cool feeling. Some guy who is maybe a little shy and doesn’t think he has anything to offer on stage gets to play a harmonica solo in front of his girlfriend, gets an ovation and gets to feel the performance rush without any of the nagging, anticipatory dread? That’s a win,” he said.
Another Dead Clown is working on a new EP expected later this year called “3133,” named for the Astoria home where band members have lived, rehearsed and partied over the years, O’Keeffe said.
“We’ve got a song on [the EP] called Astoria #11 that has some stuff going on you might recognize if you hang out in the 11106,” O’Keeffe added. “Souvlaki trucks, delivery boys, Moroccan barbers, that kind of thing.”
In anticipation of the new EP, Queens music fans can follow Another Dead Clown on their website at anotherdeadclown.bandcamp.com.