“What am I doing here? Where are we going?” sang Clarensau in their opening number, “Endless Melody,” for students at the Welcome Back Concert sponsored by BLUE the first week of classes.
These words were accurate lyrics for the several hundred students who showed up for dinner and music on the eve of their first (or last) semester at the University.
The Threefold Advocate had the chance to meet up with the acoustic band from Wichita, Kan., before their performance to figure out who exactly Clarensau is.
Q: How did Clarensau come to be?
Tyler Caggiano: It started off with me and Tyler doing some musical things—I booked shows for him. We set up something at The Foundry in Wichita and that’s how [Sally and I] officially met… I asked her out that night and she turned me down. I found out she played music and before she left for college, I tried booking a show with her and Tyler just so I could hang out with her… Then over spring break we got Tyler… a show in Chattanooga playing with Sally. That’s where Sally and Tyler met. Afterward, we sat down and talked about it and it was something we wanted to do together. That was about three years ago, in 2009.
Q: Who or what is your greatest inspiration for your music?
Tyler Clarensau: ‘Emotions’ is the perfect way to say it. I write a lot of songs and usually the ones we don’t end up using—the ones that end up in the garbage—are the ones that I don’t really care about because they don’t mean anything to me. And that translates into not a very good song. So more than any other musician or artist, the emotions of life.
Q: What genre would you use to describe your music?
Tyler Caggiano: It depends on what website you go to. If you go to MySpace, we’re labeled as Chinese traditional.
Sally Caggiano: I would say acoustic, folk, pop.
Q: What is your favorite song to play?
Sally Caggiano: My favorite is “I Would Trade” because most people can relate to that song because it’s about potential loss and emotion.
Q: Can you tell us about your new album, “This One’s For You?”
Tyler Clarensau: …I would call it a commitment record. We have a song called “Hollywood” that says “you know I’ll let you break my heart tonight because this isn’t Hollywood and I’m not leaving.” Sally wrote a song called “All Over Again” that essentially… says I would do this again and I would choose you again. Then the title track, “This One’s For You,” I wrote for someone close to me who kind of… made some really bad choices. Instead of getting closer to us… had alienated themselves even farther from us. So this song is essentially “this one’s for you and I hope you hear it and I hope it helps you realize you’re not too far gone…” We wrote it like this one’s for you from us to the people we love, but we also wanted it to be this one’s for you from our fans to the people they love… And we truly hope the songs on this new record can be for the people our listeners are closest to.
Q: What are your dreams as a band?
Tyler Clarensau: Would we like to be really big and make enough money where we could just do this all the time? Probably. But at the same time I think we’ve found a level of being content with sometimes playing a show for one person. Hopefully, there is more than one person in the room, but playing it for that one person these songs mean something to. More than anything else, my goal is when we’re playing a show or someone is listening to our CD… [it’s] as if the song is a friend that helps them go through whatever they’re going through. My goal is for that to happen more often and as much as possible.