"We did about 8 weeks in the studio together."

Given the seriousness of “Too Close” — a dark song about a relationship that’s spiraled out of control — who would guess that Alex Clare is a joker? His performance at KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas must have put him in a holiday mood because Clare was all laughs.

“It’s great to meet you in person and be so close to you,” Stryker said.

“Too close?” Clare punned, eliciting groans and laughter from the crowd.

“I love L.A. Have you ever been London in December?” Clare joked when asked if he likes L.A. “Go in December, you’ll hate it. It’s grey, it’s very cold. So it’s nice to be in L.A. with all these lovely people.”

Getting right to the heart of his music, Clare explained the six degrees of separation that lead him to hooked up with Major Lazer, a.k.a. Diplo, for “Too Close” — which generated a Producer of the Year GRAMMY nomination for Diplo.

“I really liked the Major Lazer EP,” Clare said. “I thought it was an awesome record. My [Artist & Repetoir] man is a guy called Nick Huggett. He A&Red M.I.A.’s first record. He just gave them my demos. They liked my demos and it was good.”

For those not in the know, Diplo was the production mind behind (and ex-boyfriend of) M.I.A. circa Arular.

“We did about 8 weeks in the studio together and the rest of the time was just emails and YouSendIt files,” Clare explained, making their collaboration sound a lot like that of Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello on the Postal Service.

If you’d like to stalk Clare, he says the Pico & Robertson area of Los Angeles is his most likely hang. “I only eat kosher food, so for me it’s the best place.”

Clare is an Orthodox Jew and so doesn’t travel or work during Jewish holidays — which reportedly stopped him from accepting an invitation to open on Adele’s 2012 tour. That particular area of Los Angeles is noted for it’s kosher supermarkets, delis and notable restaurants given to it’s history of Jewish inhabitants.

While Clare is spending the holidays in Los Angeles, to keep to Jewish tradition and get a little more vitamin D than London has to offer this time of year, he’s also working away on the next album.

“I’ve just started working on album #2 in earnest,” Clare said. “We’re here for three weeks before the tour I’ve just done and the new album is on it’s way, well and truly.”

–Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local


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