It’s about time you all get a little more familiar with Claud.
Having already established themselves formally as Toast since 2018, it’s hard to say that Claud Mintz requires a complete grand introduction. It’s their latest musical journey under the new moniker, Claud, however, that merits the proper welcoming.
The 21-year-old musician is the first artist signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ new Saddest Factory record label, which is a pretty big deal considering Phoebe’s recently earned herself four Grammy Award nominations, including one for Best New Artist. The move makes Claud an essential “One To Watch” in the music scene — however, some would argue that they’ve been placed in that position from the very start.
Claud has been stealthily releasing impressively agile and reflective pop songs for the last two years. It all began with meeting their best friend, Josh Mehling, on their first day at Syracuse University in the Fall of 2017. “We started just making music together,” they recalled in a statement. “He taught me how to communicate with music and through songs.” The friendship between Claud and Josh led to many collaborations, and eventually their first musical project, Toast, was unleashed in August 2018. “Collaboration became a really big part of my process,” they said. “It can help you learn more about yourself, as well as other people’s human experiences.”
Claud, who identifies as non-binary, creates music that addresses tender and inward topics that are hard to express for most people in their age group, such as isolation, heartbreak and unrequited love, as evidenced in songs like their 2019 single “Wish You Were Gay.” As the title suggests, the vulnerable confessional recounts a story of love that would never be reciprocated. In short, it’s sad pop bliss: relatable, devastating and comforting all at once.
Now, with the stamp of approval of Phoebe Bridgers under their belt, Claud is ready to keep the momentum going strong with the release of their debut album, Super Monster, due out next year on February 12th.
The album is described as a story of “lost and found loves, self-discovery and self-definition. Here, sad endings smash into happy ones, little moments get planetary-big, and our hero, the Super Monster, finds their voice through life’s trials and twists.”
That first trial and twist can be found in lead single “Gold,” a dreary yet dreamy confessional about a relationship that is like a “sinking ship.”
“Imagine stepping onto a ship that’s moving back ‘n’ forth back ‘n’ forth but perfectly in time,” Claud said of the track in a statement. “ONE, two, three, four, ONE, two, three, four, ONE… You know you’re sinking but at the same time you’re mesmerized by the way the ship synchronized itself with the sea. I have never been on a sinking ship in the middle of the sea but I have been in a relationship.”
Then there’s the just-released new single “Soft Spot,” which touches on a familiar theme for Claud, but this particular take on unrequited love is full of little quirky nuances that make the dreamy soundscape feel fresh, modern and undeniably captivating.
“This sounds kinda strange I thought/ I saw you at a party but I finally got close it wasn’t you…” Claud casually admits across the ethereal, guitar-drenched gem. “I know we don’t talk right now/ but if I saw you I’d sit down / and ask about your afternoon…”
Claud says of “Soft Spot,” “… Sigh. I have a soft spot for lots of people, places, and things. This song is about knowing I can’t be with this one specific person, but my feelings won’t go away… I still hope I run into them, or they randomly text me about something. It’s just me romanticizing what I can’t have and being like ‘but what if…’”
With just two songs at our disposal, it’s hard to make a full assessment on what’s to come from Claud’s Super Monster. But, judging by what they’ve already got to offer, their golden 2021 seems inevitable.
Claud’s debut album Super Monster is available for pre-order now!
If you enjoyed this article, check out Jon Ali’s spotlight on rising powerhouse Loren Allred!
More from In The Know: