The working life can be a dull, repetitive slog. It can crush the spirit. It can stifle the creativity.
But Garnet "Tall Man!" Clare, of Whistler-based Animal Nation, has used the monotony to fuel his new album, Every Day in the Life . The title says it all.
"I've been living the same day over and over on repeat for about eight years, with going to work and doing the exact same thing every day, wandering around aimlessly for five hours after work," Clare says. "I knew what my day was going to be, it was just a matter of do I make bacon and eggs or do I make hash browns.
Each song is one element of that day. The album, which is available as a free download through urbnet.com, fittingly opens with the Beatles' infamous piano note that closes "A Day in the Life," leading into a 30-second dream sequence that samples 50 of his favourite songs before Clare's Tall Man! alter-ego wakes up and takes us into "Every Day is the Same." From there he makes some eggs, goes to work, walks around, comes home and goes to bed.
It's not nearly as dull as it sounds. The idea stemmed from an earlier track, "The Lasagna Song" from the 2007 EP Time to Zone Out, about cooking a meal, and he became obsessed with the idea that a good writer can make a good story out of anything. He challenged himself to write in microelements, the first test of which would eventually become "Bacon and Eggs," a gleeful rap about making...well, you know.
"You can take a pair of socks and make a great story about it," Clare laughs.
The album took two and a half years to complete, with Clare obsessing over every detail. He spent over a year finishing the instrumentals and another half-year working on the vocals.
"I've never put more passion or more work into anything in my entire life," he says.
The result is a breezy, almost dream-like trip through his day, the production punctuating that sense of disassociation we often feel when going through the same routine, day in and day out. It also plays like a sound track to his life at the moment, with samples of Cat Power and Band of Horses, with nods to old school hip-hop peppered throughout.
This is a distinctly Whistler album, sprinkled with local references. Tall Man! buys a schnitzel at Ingrid's. He visits Moguls. He wanders aimlessly through the village but Clare says it won't take a Whistler local to appreciate the album.
"Everyone can relate to being at work for eight hours," he says. "Everyone can relate to walking into work and being late and this and that. There's definitely more of it that's relatable to everyone," he says.
While Clare is acting solo on the album, it's credited as "Animal Nation presents...", similar to what Broken Social Scene has done with solo projects from its members. Clare explains that Every Day in the Life is a piece of the Animal Nation realm. It has the same vibe, it's the same brand but with only one man.
With the other half of Animal Nation, Mike Armitage, living and working in New York, Clare will be touring the new album solo, although the two will open for Wassabi Collective at Whistler Olympic Plaza on October 8.