Calan Mai: He has the love

Gold Coast local Calan Mai caught up with Christie Ots about his latest international success, creating his EP and how homework resulted in We’ve Got Love.

Jordan Lawrence, otherwise known as Calan Mai, has been on the local music scene for a few years; however it wasn’t until he teamed up with his label Canvas Sounds that he sat down to record.

Thank God he did too. The first single off his upcoming EP Days On The Rock Face, is We’ve Got Love and it’s amazing. A beautiful mix of rawness and upbeat melodies. Jordan explains how the song was birthed.

“The way I wrote We’ve Got Love is Adam my manager was trying to help me with my song writing. I had this tendency to write really long songs with seven verses and no chorus; Bob Dylan style.”

“He said that he wanted me to go home and write a song with a short chorus with a hook. I went home and wrote We’ve Got Love in about 45 minutes,” Jordan laughs and shakes his head as he continues, “I find the songs that seem to almost spew out are the best and the ones that I labor over are kind of boring. From the get go there was no question that this song would be the first single.”

The song has garnered a lot of attention internationally, on radio and in print, as well as earning the much sought after red drum from Triple J.

“It’s been a complete surprise to me, I didn’t think anything like this would happen, so I’m trying not to get too excited and spoil my luck.” Jordan said. “My label has done a really great job getting everything organised.“

Despite being a regular on the local music scene, this was Jordan’s first time sitting down to record his music.

“It was my first time seriously recording, and was really comfortable. We were recording in my manager’s teenage bedroom, which has half been turned into a studio, but still maintains the ‘best friends forever’ collages,” Jordan explains while laughing, “We recorded it on weekends, over a few months last year, which ultimately lead to me creating the EP.”

With dark lyrics that expose the realities of life when dealing with love, family, life and all things in between, Jordan manages to temper his words with melodies that blend everything together into a wave of sound that is heart wrenchingly beautiful.

In juxtaposition, the film clip for We’ve Got Love is playful and fun, with plenty of costumes and silliness.

“James Haigh directed the film clip and it was mostly his concept; it was thrown together in two days. The day we showed up none of us knew what was going on. I remember thinking we weren’t going to get it all done in one take, but I’m really glad that we pushed through and got it finished. Lyrically We’ve Got Love is quite serious, but I didn’t want to transfer those lyrics literally into the film clip, so we went for a rag tag feel that matches the chords.”

With the EP being released 22 August, Jordan was originally planning an EP launch at his home-away-from-home The Loft, but the venue has been hit with sound restrictions and many artists are having to find other locations for their shows or turn them into acoustic sets.

“The Loft has given me the bulk of my gigs on the coast and is a second home. It’s really sad, but hopefully they manage to work it out so that we don’t have to play the whole set acoustic.”

Having shaped and whittled down the EP Jordan is looking forward to its worldwide release on iTunes. The album has what Jordan calls ‘an overarching theme’ but the thing that really stands out is the rich Australian tone that Jordan sings in.

With that being quite rare in Australian musicians, Calan Mai could be the return of the honest Aussie sound and we’re glad it’s back.




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