Josienne Clarke has shared ‘Workhorse’, the second cut to be taken from her forthcoming EP I Promised You Light.
‘Workhorse’ is one of the most experimental tracks of Clarke’s career to date, with Sharon Van Etten and Sylvan Esso being the song’s musical touchstones. “This is the most joyous one on [the new EP], to me,” Clarke says of the song which she describes as a “weird dance acoustic mashup.”
The song’s video, by Alec Bowman-Clarke, sees the artist roller-skating at a silent disco to emphasise the sheer joy of the track. “It’s just me in a massive room with loads of disco lights with silent disco headphones on just messing about to my own positivity anthem,” she smiles.
Of the track’s experimentation, Clarke says she has been “slightly flirting with synths and electronic sounds more” and using “less acoustic music” in an about turn from her usual style. “I don’t intend to renounce my acoustic roots at all, but I feel like the old set-up in the industry was quite keen to tell me what type of music I could and couldn’t make,” Clarke explains. “I feel like ‘Workhorse’ is like: ‘What if I could do whatever I wanted? What would that sound like? That sound is this track,” Clarke says assuredly, mirroring the confidence of a track that is sure to become a standout of her career.
I Promised You Light follows on from Clarke’s 2021 LP, A Small Unknowable Thing, an emotionally charged album bubbling with courage and defiance. If A Small Unknowable Thing were a sentence, I Promised You Light is the full stop at the end, or “the light at the end of that particular tunnel,” as she puts it. “People over the years have often tended to be a little intense at my merch stand, it sort of comes with the territory when you write the kind of music I do. But none more so than a lady who stood there and pleaded for me to ‘write a more positive song, one with a happy ending’” she explains. It was a request that stuck with Clarke over the years. “That’s basically what this EP is,” she says. “It’s all the positive lessons I’ve learned over the past few years and presented in my own, somewhat melancholic, way.”
Clarke has certainly worked through a lot. Rejecting the male-dominated system, in 2020 Clarke ripped everything up and started again. She went solo and for the first time she was in complete control of everything from her songwriting to arranging and production – and she even released on her own label, Corduroy Punk. The experience gave her confidence to try a new direction on her latest EP.
The EP’s recording took place over a four-day period in London, where, for the first time since lockdown, Clarke was able to get into Hackney Road Studios in London with her band. Clarke says after producing her last virtually from afar, she went into this feeling more certain. “I was more confident this time because I’d done it before and it worked. I felt able to experiment more and just getting to work in a room with other musicians again after lockdown buoyed me further I think…I’d missed that!” Clarke says laying the EP down in the studio was the culmination of what was “an incredible, joyous project, from start to end.” She continues: “I’ve probably enjoyed writing this one more than anything I’ve done.”
I Promised You Light is set to follow on February 4th.