There’s a great deal of optimism coursing through British artist Alex Clare’s latest release “Tail of Lions,” in songs such as “Get Real,” “Gotta Get Up,” “Love Can Heal” and “You’ll Be Fine.” But on the dinosaur-stomping rocker “Open My Eyes,” he wanted to raise a couple of dark socio-political points. “Like, why — after years of stasis in the U.S. — things suddenly shifted to the right, and why in the U.K. people who were saying, ‘Our way of life is under attack’ started blaming other people who weren’t necessarily born in the U.K.,” he says. “It’s a question for those in charge: Why are you allowing this to happen?”
You’re famous for your 2012 worldwide hit “Too Close,” which was used in an Internet Explorer 9 ad. But you’re also a serious student of Orthodox Judaism who moved to Jerusalem two years ago, right?
Yes. And it’s a wonderful, really special place, I moved with my wife and two kids, because I spend so much time here anyway, going back and forth between London and Jerusalem on breaks and holidays. And you know what? It’s warmer here and people are nicer. And — being in the career I’m in — I can be wherever I want to be, and it doesn’t have too much of an effect on what I have to do. And I travel so much anyway, I just thought I should be based in a city where I wanted to be.
And there’s so much religious history there, you probably learn new things daily by just walking around town.
That’s part of its attraction; the infrastructure here is just geared towards that. But on a daily basis, I’m still doing pretty much the same stuff I did in London. I wake up, start the day the Jewish way, come home and have breakfast, then spend the afternoon in the studio, and then spend the evening with my kids. And yes, there’s a ton of religious history here. But it’s also a very cosmopolitan city, with all backgrounds, all religions and a very vibrant music scene, with Western bar culture. It’s really buzzing.
Do you find songs in your faith? Or are they mutually exclusive things?
Well, when I write a song, I don’t really write a Jewish song, you know? I’m a Jewish person, and I’m very much a religious person, and my outlook is certainly influenced by that headspace, and what I’m thinking and feeling. But when I write, that’s not my goal. It’s to articulate a particular emotion. It has to be cathartic. And of course, there will be moments where I might reference something religious. But I try not to be explicit with it.
IF YOU GO
Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 6
Contact: (415) 771-1421, www.ticketfly.comAlex ClareJerusalemOpen My EyesPop MusicTail of LionsToo Close