Kelly Slater interviews Citizen Cope; Citizen Cope interviews Kelly Slater

posted by / Sounds / February 21, 2007


The cool kids are into Cope. Bono digs his stuff. The Boss is down. Dave Matthews wants him to open his shows. And this year, when Citizen Cope (aka Clarence Greenwood) visited the North Shore for a couple shows and some R and R, he was cruising with his new fans Jack Johnson and Eddie Vedder. Even Kelly Slater offered to do this interview for us — so there you go?

KELLY SLATER: What’s your surf connection considering you’re from Brooklyn? How’d you meet Sanoe [Lake] and Co.?

CITIZEN COPE: I started getting requests from surfing films and compilations to use my music. They were usually small independent filmmakers or music enthusiasts. I really wanted to get the music out to the surfing culture because, although I am not a surfer, I got a good feeling being around the people I knew that surfed. I felt they had passion and had risen above some of the pettiness most people have to surrender to in the rat race that has become America. Although they were competitive, they were positive and supportive. I met Sanoe through her husband Michael [Eaton] who did one of the only articles on me that I enjoyed for a now defunct magazine. He also is a dope photographer and artist. They are both really spiritual people and have a deep connection and appreciation for the arts.

KS: You haven’t really broken big time mainstream yet, but everyone who I give it to loves it right away. What’s the plan to get you out their in everyone’s ears? Your damn songs have been stuck in my head 24/7 lately, by the way.

{{{CC}}}: Thanks. The beauty of not getting the mainstream success is that when people recognize me or my music, it’s not about any kind of celebrity, it’s about a real connection to the music. They haven’t seen me on MTV or heard me on commercial radio, but have heard it through a friend or a movie or come to a show. It’s cool getting that type of love. Although it does disappoint me sometimes that the music has not seen the exposure that I think it should have, there is a silver lining knowing that people genuinely like the music.

KS: I haven’t heard you do anything with anyone else. Have you or are you planning to, possibly with Alice [Smith, Cope’s girlfriend and another talented musician]?

CC: I want to collaborate with people more, but sometimes the people I listen to or admire may not be the best person to do a song with. I did a song with Carlos Santana for his Shaman CD and have been approached by some high profile artists to write and produce, but I want the Citizen Cope records to get some light before I jump into writing and producing. Sometimes I am asked to write or produce an artist and I either don’t like it or I think it’s so incredible, that I wouldn’t know what to do to make it any better. And as a writer and producer you want to be able to add something that makes it speak, you don’t want to add something just for a check or to say you contributed. You want to make your contribution genuine. So, I turn down mostly all the offers I get to write or produce. I would love to do songs with people when it’s mellow and we don’t have the expectations. Some people say, I want a “Sideways” or a “Son’s Gonna Rise” and I just say you should cover the song ‘cause I won’t ever write one of those again. It’s somewhat like a fingerprint or a wave, I guess. Alice and I will most likely do something. I think she is going to be a huge star. She is the truth; a real rarity artistically and personally. But that said, she is so great that if I don’t think I can add something, I won’t do it.


KS: What’d you think of Kauai/Hawaii and does it relate to where you come from in any way, not visually obviously, but maybe rhythmically or inspirationally?

CC: I loved it…It sounds so clich, but I have never visited anywhere that seemed so alive. The water was gushing and so powerful that I didn’t even want to challenge it, just respect it and look at it. I just sat and watched the ocean for hours like I had been deprived of something. It’s so powerful. I will be coming back as often as I can. I want to make it a tradition.

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