Post-release review: Grant Claytor’s “Bon” is a haunting work of nostalgia
A tape click and analog reel whirr lead into a gentle finger-picked guitar melody, exuding warmth and comfort in Grant Claytor’s “Bon.” His raw vocal delivery showcases the intense emotion in the song, reflecting on times of old and looking at the past through a nostalgic lens.
The New Jersey-based artist attends the university and just released the song as a single and an accompanying music video for an upcoming album titled, “Thank You for Shopping with Me,” to be released in early 2019. Claytor is a relative newcomer to writing and recording music, only starting to play guitar at age 16.
“I’ve never had any formal training whatsoever, I just read books,” Claytor says. “I would just play by ear a lot of the time and read tabs online until eventually I could just play and learn that way.”
Claytor is interested and involved in all parts of his music, doing “everything from the mixing to the mastering to the guitar, vocals, slide guitar, synthesizers and the metal drum sound.” He uses this to his advantage and feels immense satisfaction from the ability to make things sound exactly as he envisions them.
His decision to work independently allows him free rein as an artist. Juggling student life and being an independent musician — which requires countless hours of work and energy— comes with its own set of difficulties though.
“It gets super overwhelming,” Claytor says. “I wish I could delegate a lot of stuff to other people, but it definitely gives me a lot of creative freedom.”
Listening to “Bon” most definitely reveals the labor of love put into its creation. Its beauty, focus and overall feel are incredibly impressive, especially considering it was self-released by a self-taught musician.
Lyrically, the song expresses the pain and yearning resulting from memories. “I miss that salty shore / I miss what I was aiming for / I miss that color red / The things I should’ve said” are repeated in the chorus, speaking to the intense human emotions of longing and regret.
“The song is about two people going to the same vacation spot each year and having a ‘summer fling’ one year but then the next year they come back and the love interest doesn’t care about them anymore,” Claytor said. “They dress different and act differently and it ruins the place for them because it feels like they are growing up too fast.”
“Bon” is a summation of Claytor’s musical influences, which he cited as “60s and 70s chamber pop and folk.” These older elements are at the heart of the song, complementing its subject matter, and making it feel reminiscent of the past while brining a creative new direction to the sound.
Claytor’s vision included using the proper equipment to capture the themes of “Bon.” He used a 1965 Kimberly hollow-body electric guitar as the main instrument along with a Jupiter 8 style synthesizer for the song’s recording. The accompanying music video was shot totally analog with a Super 8 camera on location in Greenport, NY.
“I got to record it all and it was all unedited Super 8 footage,” Claytor says. “It felt really accomplishing getting that back … It was a six-month process basically from when I got the camera and then finished the video and had the digital copy.”
Youthful restlessness and the beauty of simple moments are all captured in the gorgeous video. The rich hue of color and graininess from the film give it an aesthetic totally in line with the song’s sound and message.
As an up-and-coming musician, Grant Claytor is uncertain of his future or what the next step in his career will be, but he’s shown a great deal of promise and talent from his work thus far. Finishing and releasing the album is his main priority, but he has even larger goals.
“I would love to travel the world and play music — that’s the ideal thing,” Claytor says. “I’d love to be able to just make my passion into something that I can sit at home and just do all the time.”