Clay Clemens is an electronic DJ that started his career as a drummer in a death metal band. Clay Clemens developed passion for music in his teens, at some point joined a band and it was right there where he got hooked up on electronic music.
We had the opportunity to talk with Clay Clemens about his career path and influence and this is what he had to say.
1. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Clay– Everyone has a different one but I believe mine is really far from usual. he only thing I was interested in when I was younger was music. So I started to play drums. Long story short I was playing drums in a death metal band hahaha. One time our lead singer bought new speakers and we were testing different genres on those speakers. And someone from the band put on Benny Benassi tracks ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Love is gonna save us’ which were released around that time.
I felt something in me and I’ve been into electronic music since then. Fast forward a year or two after I started to DJ for a travel agency on prom trips and boat parties in Croatia and everything went up from there.
2. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Clay– This is always a tough one, with so many things that have happened, and with my bad memory and when you add some drinking in the game it is tough to pick one story hahaha.
The one that I’ll always remember and was one of the best nights in my life. It is how I got a residency in a big open-air club in Croatia. I was a DJ for only about 2 years when I got a chance to perform in this club called Noa Beach Club. It was my first time in front of so many people and I was nervous as hell. And in the middle of my performance, a club manager came to me on the stage while I was mixing and he was shouting something to me. I had monitors loud as usual, and I lowered it down and he was shouting if I want to become a resident DJ there. So I guess I did a good job hahaha.
This night for sure changed my career because I got so many experiences and met so many people there. I’ll remember this one for the rest of my life.
3. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Clay– I got a residency in the best Slovenian club – Cirkus, pretty quickly since I started to DJ, and on my second gig there, the boss came to me and we started drinking – A LOT! So sooner or later we were both making a fool from ourselves and at one point I think I was even without a shirt. Anyway, I don’t think there was a lot of ‘proper mixing’ that night. I felt terrible ‘cause I couldn’t remember a thing and I thought I lost the residency. But everything was ok, we were just having fun, everybody around were on the same level as us and laughing, so that was not the case at all. Luckily everything was happening on the second floor.
The lesson would be: don’t get drunk on the level that you can’t mix hahahaha
4. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Clay– Everything I do comes back to the music. So I want it all to come together in one way or another.
The first ‘project’ is that I recently started to do some video production and I find it really interesting, so I decided to make my own music videos. Currently, 3 of them are in the making, together with my 3 new tracks, so when my next track will be released you will also see my video production skills.
The second project I would like to mention is still in the early phase but I’m starting to do a clothing line. Some ideas are already made and I’ll soon have the products in my hands but I’m interested in how this will turn out.
5. Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Clay– I’ve met quite a few celebrities in the electronic music world like KSHMR, Lost Frequencies, Tujamo, Zonderling, Chocolate Puma and quite a few more. And it always surprised me how humble and normal everybody is. And there is a reason behind it. Because they worked hard for their success and they worked with all kinds of people and never forgot their roots. I had a chance to see a DJ who had one major hit and I later found out his dad was rich and made this fake success. I won’t name him but his ego was above the moon and I saw how he treated his crew around him. Of course, be proud of your achievements but treat people with respect.
6. Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Clay- In general, don’t bother with negative comments. It’s a waste of time. Having a healthy line of which advice is good and just forget the rest. And one specific piece of advice for music producers: When you give someone to check your new track and ask for an opinion, they will usually try to change something.
Probably no one will say it is perfect. I’m talking about sounds and arrangement, of course, your mixing skills should be on a certain level. This is your art, this is how you hear it. Check if you can improve the track from the advice someone gave you and don’t change it because someone who has slightly more experience with producing music said what he would change. He hears the track differently. His opinion is subjective.
7. You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Clay– My personal standards are pretty high so a lot of the things I want to achieve are still far away, and there are a lot of times that I’m dealing with the fear of failure. Besides that I overthink everything. I would say do what feels right and listen to yourself. And if you make a choice that turns out to be a failure, learn from it and move on.
8. Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
Clay– I don’t think I’m the right person to answer this question hahaha Definitely for your mind is healthy to have people around you who support you and you can ask for advice when in doubt.
For health, I’m not the right person to give advice. I like to drink and socialize when I’m free or when I’m out at parties performing. But if you’re doing the same thing as I am I would say, don’t forget to take your time to rest.
9. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Immediately forget all negative opinions. People like to see someone fail. I took everything personally and I should let it go faster when something bad happened.
Invest in yourself and your skills. I like to learn things myself. But there are skills that someone who is experienced can tell you in 5 minutes which you would spend 6 months figuring out by yourself.
Learn how to play the piano. And if someone tells you that you can make music without it, slap yourself and start learning.
Be ‘YOU’ everywhere. By that I mean on social media, in person when socializing, etc.. Often you see and hear ‘rules’ from people about what you should and shouldn’t do. Just be yourself and that’s it. And if someone doesn’t like it, well… that’s their problem.
Don’t call your friend who is helping you a manager, call him ‘a friend who is helping you build up a career’. People think if you have a manager that you are pretentious. At least here where I live was like that. Hopefully the world is different.
10. Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Clay– If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never get it. When I was starting I was always telling myself and people around me: ‘If I don’t try to succeed in music I’ll regret it when I’m older. I can always get an ordinary job.’ But on the path to your dreams you’ll learn skills and meet people you otherwise wouldn’t, so even that ‘ordinary job’ can become something you really like to do.
The important thing is that you live your life and you have no regrets!
11. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Clay– I have always had people around me who support me, my parents who have no idea how the business works but are always there and encourage me, my friends who I can ask for advice and help and even my ex-girlfriend with support she gave and who taught me how to dress up hahahaha. But if there is a manager out there who is reading this and who thinks we can achieve more together, please do contact me 🙂
12. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Clay– Well, if my influence was enormous I would probably start something already hahahaha. But the first thing that pops into my head is, I think there is too much hate on the internet. People can be really mean with the comments on social media but they would never tell what they write in person. Especially, I saw a lot of hate in the past year where people were arguing regarding coronavirus and politics. It’s ok to have your opinion but you don’t need to threaten somebody if someone disagrees.
13. We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Clay– Oh wow, didn’t expect this one. There are a lot of them I would like to hang out with, a lot of DJs and producers, like Axwell who I never met and was my big inspiration, movie stars, like Will Smith or Mila Kunis who was my celebrity crush until Ashton took her away from me hahahaha, and there are many musicians I would like to meet. The list could go on and on.
But from a business perspective, I would love to chat with Jimmy Iovine or Gary Vaynerchuck. They are great businessmen who I would probably learn a lot from.
14. How can our readers follow you online?
I Message to everyone: Feel free to reach out to me, I would love to meet you, especially if you like my music! 🙂