(Photo by Lou Noble)

Featured guest is the section of my website where I interview various cool individuals from authors, actors, musicians, artists and more. Tonight we spoke with Cindy Clark. Vocalist, photographer, model and more, the Los Angeles based Cindy is a true creative force in today’s indie music world. Fronting the popular progressive grunge band Earthsleep, she brings her inspirations into artistic expression singing with her partner Jonathan and band members Lamar and Mario. Living a full life with music as her guiding force, Cindy and I had a great conversation about her deep love for art , music and finding your way in life by following your heart and creativity.  

1. Hey Cindy and how are you today? Good to talk with you and hope youre well.

CINDY: Hey, I’m great today. I’m laying on my belly on a bench at the pier writing and watching the waves break. It doesn’t get a lot better for me. I hope this day suits you just as well.

2. Cool, that's great. Yes thanks all is really good here. When you were growing up, what inspired you to begin playing in bands and what continues to inspire you today?

CINDY: It’s hard to say quite what inspired me to wind up playing in this band. I use the singular word because this is the only band I’ve ever been in. I wouldn’t be upset if it stayed that way. It’s truly perfect for me. It feels like everything that had happened to me before I joined it, was adding up to this. I’ve felt a pull toward it all my life. From being a little kid and rewinding cartoon songs over and over on VHS, training myself to sing on my own accord, to remembering being unable to read at a very young age… I remember the desperate interest in learning. I can still feel myself looking at signs in the grocery store with that interest in knowing what they say. I remember 5th grade being exposed to real poetry, particularly Robert Frost and Edgar Allen Poe. I was so enthralled I took it upon myself to rehearse and memorize Robert Frost poetry, for no apparent reason. I’ve been writing poetry since I learned to write basically.

Yeah okay that's great.

(Photo by Seth Neuffer)

CINDY: I remember my step dad holding a Coors Light can and Black Sabbath tape telling us kids how important that music was, popping in the cassette and pressing play as we jumped around the living room. I was always in choir.  In school we always had to choose electives. Singing was just what I was interested in. It’s what I do. I remember the boys I looked up to in high school being jerks when they found out I liked the bands they liked, essentially quizzing me constantly, attempting to make me justify why I could like the obscure rock music they liked. Young boys are cruel. I wished I were a boy.  I still do. But I was a girl. I still am. The truth is, I was in pain. I come from a very troubled family background. My mother is a very difficult subject for me. She gave me the dichotomy I carry inside of me every day. She has done things I cannot imagine doing as a person. But she also gave me a love for plants, rocks, water, nature basically and art. I always wanted a band. Art was always what made me feel alive. I can remember engaging in art since I was five. Now I channel everything I’ve got into it. I’m still quite broke. But art is my outlet. I need it. But before now, I had growing to do. I didn’t need the band until it came to me. I had also never met a mind I could appropriately connect with. That is, until I met Jonathan Bouknight. So, the answer to the question is everything led me to begin playing in this band. Forces unknown brought me here. I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to do.

3.Were there any concerts or stand out albums that really influenced you and in what ways?

CINDY: Siamese Dream [Smashing Pumpkins] is an album that directly speaks to my heart. It’s always going to be part of me. Same with In Casino Out [ At the Drive-In], The Second Stage Turbine Blade [ Coheed and Cambria], Brother, Sister [ mewithoutyou ], The Shape of Punk to Come [refused ] pretty much all Ozzy Sabbath. Tool. I can go on but those are some of my very favorites. As far as concerts go, I’ve been driven to tears, bruised up, sweaty and invigorated by live music more times than I can count. Going to soooOoOo many shows in LA/ financing this band keeps me entertained, entertaining, and dirt broke. Haha. LA has too many great shows. And Jonathan doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to upcoming shows. So I’m afraid we have a bit of an addiction. It’s not the worst addiction to pick up anyway.

Excellent choices. Yeah when you're real as you can be, performing live and seeing artists you resonate with can take you so many places. That's awesome you two go to a lot of concerts. Yeah I'm sure, that's great.


4.How did you meet up with Johnathan Bouknight, Lamar Little and Mario Di Leva to join Earthsleep as the singer in 2013?

CINDY: I met Jonathan on Craigslist. He put out an ad searching for a singer that said, “must be weird.” I wrote back saying I was weird. The rest is history. I immediately bonded with him when I walked into his apartment and to my left I saw essentially a shrine of Smashing Pumpkins media. Now we live together. And we are dating. We were in the band together for about a year before we started dating. We avoided that actually. But here we are, together.  Since I’ve been in the band, we’ve had one other drummer and three other bassists before we arrived at this lineup. Lamar Little is a shredder. He’s funny too and I never want him to go. I think Jimmy Chamberlin is my favorite drummer and next very could be Lamar Little. I love to play with him. He makes our songs much fuller. They just roll out of him.

We recently just started playing with Mario DiLeva. He filled in for this Whisky A Go Go residency we just played in April with Barb Wire Dolls, Svetlanas, Vigil of War, Turbulent Hearts, and New Evil.  Now he’s been recording the second half of the 10 song album NEUROTICAL we’ve been working on the past few years. He’s 21 and very determined and very talented and he has his head on straight, his act together, which is important. That’s much more than I can say for our last bassist. I don’t hope to see that guy ever again. Some people are destructive. Poison. And I’m apt to caring about that kind of person because I was raised by that kind of person, but who am I kidding? I’m not stopping a plane from crashing. So the purge was a good one. Looking forward. About Mario, he’s got a lot in store for his future so we will be glad to have him around as long as he wants to stick around.

5.In addition to being a vocalist you’re a also model and photographer. Does your photography or modeling work influence you as a singer or lyricist and in what ways? Do you find a creative release in both forms of expression?

CINDY: Yeah, I mean, of course I find release in all my art forms. That’s why I keep coming back. That’s why I can hardly go a day without engaging in one/all of these art forms. And when I do go a few days without them, I feel dead inside.  It’s a lifestyle. Here’s the thing- my relationship to them all is sort of the same. I try to compare and contrast but I usually just end up thinking about how I love it all.

(Photo by Josh Bishop)

People have discouraged such art-oriented ADHD/multi-tasking. I’ve been told to focus. To elevate one craft. But I can’t. The wonder is all around. It doesn’t matter in which platform I portray it, as long as I do. Writing is my oldest art form in a way. The band is my favorite one. It incorporates all of them. I don’t know. I’ve been obsessing over making photos since childhood as well. It’s all intertwined. My strong visual representation combined with the poetic purpose gives me a way to present my band, to reach people, to connect. I need it all. It’s all just a regurgitation of what my cartoon brain sees in this world. There is action, events I cannot control, the passing of time, other humans, and art is my reaction.

Very insightful.

(Photo by Josh Bishop)

6.Do you feel the same or a similar energy when working as a model that you do onstage like an inspiration or creative channel?

CINDY: Well they are similar means of expression but performing live is a more fluid expression than modeling for still photos. Modeling is about each instant separately. Modeling brings me to places, has me doing things people wouldn’t normally, and that’s beautiful. But when modeling there is a filter between the audience and the subject. That filter is the photographer. That changes the perception. Performing live is straight to the viewer. To perform your music, your poetry live, that cuts straight to my core. I never know what I’m going to do out there. I just let the music tell me what to do.

(Photo by Seth Neuffer)

7.Yes very well said. How do you feel about the group's performances lately and recording the album?

CINDY: For me the shows just keep getting more and more fun as I gain experience. As far as what standout things we’ve accomplished in music, in anything, this album we have been working on for the past couple of years is the single greatest thing I’ve ever been involved in in my entire life. Its title, NEUROTICAL, combines the word “neurotic” with the word “nautical” because much of the album is me describing my own mental illness as depicted with much ocean imagery. I can’t wait to release this beast. I have nothing but gratitude toward the universe for giving me a partner in crime like Jonathan Bouknight. He has given my words a platform to exist, a home in his riffs.

(Photo by Natalia Britt)

8.What are some of your favorite films?

CINDY: I like The Science of Sleep, Wayne’s World,  SLC Punk!, Forest Gump, Closer, The Dark Knight, Children of Men, Step Brothers LOL

(Photo by Lue 2017)

9.Favorite books?

CINDY: 1984, The War of Art, Franz Kafka- “A Country Doctor” [short story] , The Four Agreements , An Unquiet Mind,   Touched with Fire.

10.What are your top favorite singers and vocal influences?

CINDY:  Billy Corgan, Aaron Weiss, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Claudio Sanchez, Ozzy Ozbourne, Kurt Cobain, Emily Whitehurt, Maynard James Keenan, Les Claypool, Jim Ward, Bjork, Hayley Williams, Gwen Stefani.

11. What inspired your art work as a model or photographer?

CINDY: A mix of bliss and pain. I’m bipolar type I, ADHD, OCD, PTSD and recently quite confusingly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. So what if I am. I’ve got Graves Disease, Hypospadias, have a bone tumor on my femur, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a lot of things. Lots of complications and a traumatic past leave me with a morbid sense of humor, lot’s of suffering, and a smart ass demeanor. It all blends to mix the perfect equation for someone desperate enough to NEED art. I would have very well lost myself to suicide had I not art, rock and roll, mental health professionals. I’m always on the edge. Reminded of my mortality. Also on the brink. The brink of discovering something uncharted. This is where I live. It is important for me to keep a childlike wonder. I try to share that wonder in all my art.

12. What advice would you give young artists just starting out?

CINDY: Do it for yourself.

           Tell the truth.

           Never stop.

           Be immersed.

           Be in love.

           Be obsessed.

           Let the good motivate you.

           Let the bad motivate you.

13. Fantastic words. You guys live in LA. Are you from California originally ?

CINDY: Yes I am originally from right here in LA but when I was like 5 my mom moved me into the middle of the desert. Small town. Kingman Arizona. I went to college in Flagstaff, Arizona. Graduated with my Bachelor’s in Photography. Finally moved back home to LA, where I belong. I love this place.

14.Really cool. Are there certain songs you have written that you feel represent you as a person?

CINDY: All of them. My advanced placement high school English teacher Mrs. Gaska repeated so many times “write about what you know.” I don’t know much. But I know me. I know my struggles. I write about those. I’m in love with Jonathan, but you most likely won’t find me writing sappy songs about his pretty curly hair and sexy beard even if I feel it, because, well, I want to talk about the hard things. The things people normally avoid. It’s helpful to those in need. I know it. I’ve been helped by it when others have opened up in an artful way. Every one of these songs represent me as a person even more so than what people might or might not see in my daily actions/ interactions or on the surface. They are the truest part of me.

For real yeah, it's bold to approach songwriting with no barriers and bring light to the subjects you feel you need to get out. Yeah everything you write is a part of you.

15. If you did not play music, what else are you interested in with your time?

CINDY: I can no longer think of a life for myself in which I do not play music. The only way that’s happening is if I lose my hearing. And then? I might officially lose my mind.

16. You have a lot of music to give so keep going with all you have. Any last words for your fans or news?

CINDY: I love you. Stay with me.

Thank you Cindy great talking with you, to you as well and please stay in touch with your news. Look forward to hearing the new album and seeing you guys live some day soon. Rock on friend, G

Small Stone Recordings

GS Tribute Album

Cemetery Crows

C.Crows Gideon's side project doom metal, sludge, gothic blues band. You can check out a few songs from the early demo on the reverbnation page. Doom On.