Claud is finding their voice

With new album ‘Supermodels’, CLAUD is taking flight. Check out the latest cover story for our New Music Friday playlist edit, The Cut.

Words: Martyn Young.

The cover artwork for Claud’s debut album, 2021’s idiosyncratic and endearingly bedroom pop-ish ‘Super Monster’, features a bright and super fun cartoon picture, bold and exuberant but not giving too much away. In direct contrast stands the image accompanying their second album, ‘Supermodels’. Stark and up close, it’s a full-colour picture of the artist against a plain white backdrop, looking incredible. As a marker for the big leap Claud is undertaking on their accomplished and richly detailed follow-up, it’s illuminating.

“I get embarrassed less and less as I get older,” they explain. “I used to get embarrassed all the time, and now I’m like nothing phases me. They are completely opposite covers. I was really ready to try something new and show something different. Not that there are any connecting stories in the album, but I see ‘Supermodels’ as a sequel to ‘Supermonster’ or like an older brother. A little more clean, a little more polished and a little more straightforward. ‘Super Monster’ is fizzy and young and silly, which matches the cover art more. If we’re comparing it to a supermodel, then this is more put together.”

Ever since they emerged straight from their bedroom making quirky indie pop in the late 2010s, it’s been clear that Claud is a significant songwriting talent. Their music is tinged with just the right amount of emotional heft, melodic sensibility and personal resonance to make them an instantly relatable figure to a new generation of youth eager to reject any established norms of ‘this is how you need to be a pop star’. For Claud, though, the challenge has always been finding deeper meaning within their own thoughts and feelings, and it drives ‘Supermodels’ to take their artistry to a new level.

“I’ve been doing a lot of reflection and re-reading through a lot of old journal entries,” they explain. “My albums are a marker of time in myself. I have songs on ‘Super Monster’ about being guarded and being unable to be vulnerable with people in my life. That leads to having a difficult time being vulnerable with my songwriting. That really shifted in the last couple of years. It had a lot to do with being more honest with myself. After I put out the song ‘Tommy’, it felt like a really vulnerable song, but it was received with open arms by the people who listen to my music. I felt a lot more comfortable being vulnerable in my writing after that. This record is really honest. It doesn’t reveal anything I’m uncomfortable revealing, but it is a deeper dive into my thoughts and life.”

Reflecting on their first album and the whirlwind of attention that comes with both virality and trying to navigate being an actual working artist, Claud reminisces about the naivety of those earliest songwriting days. “I really admire the person who wrote that album,” they laugh. “My 19 and 20-year-old self. I really admire them because it was so earnest, and even two years later, I have so much more life experience. This person didn’t know what was coming to them.”

“Once you’re real with yourself, you just have to laugh about it. Laugh at the ridiculousness of it”


What was coming to them was a burst of interest and passion around the world as people discovered and fell in love with Claud’s music. People like Phoebe Bridgers, who made Claud the first signing to her Saddest Factory record label, and people like Paramore, who have just taken Claud out on the road in the US where they got the chance to try out some of ‘Supermodels” rockier and harder-edged material in front of huge audiences.

Rather than be daunted by the increased interest, Claud used it to fuel a renewed focus on their writing. “I wanted to dig deeper. A lot of the album was written in private, whereas a lot of ‘Supermonster’ was written collaboratively. I was able to be more honest and real with myself,” they say. “I think there’s a lot of humour in the record, too,” they continue. “Once you’re real with yourself, you just have to laugh about it. Laugh at the ridiculousness of it. I didn’t want to dwell on things, and I wanted to try and find humour and light in some of the harder situations.”

It definitely takes humour to name a song on the album ‘Paul Rudd’. In case you don’t know, Paul Rudd is a funny man. A very famous funny man. A very handsome, famous, funny man. Using humour as an entry point to perhaps their sweetest and most lovely song yet, Claud’s ‘Paul Rudd’ is a beautiful thing. “I love to talk about this song,” they laugh. “I wrote this song last winter. Paul Rudd has been one of my favourite actors for a long time. If I were to start acting, I’d want to be like him. He brings such ease and comfort to the screen. I was watching a ton of rom-coms at the time, mostly with him in it. This is one of the songs on the album that I completely did myself from start to finish. I wanted to capture that rom-com guy gets the girl at the end of the movie feeling. The lyrics are “The way I feel is just the way I feel”. It’s us, and it’s always been us, and this is how it has to be. I called it ‘Paul Rudd’ because I imagined myself as a Paul Rudd-like character that he’d play.”

Are there any other famous people they might like to name a song after? “Maybe Ice Spice,” they laugh. “I have a crush on Ice Spice. How could you not?”

“A lot of the album is me wondering if I messed up”


Ice Spice, if you fancy a pivot into more of a rock lane, then Claud might be your person. There’s certainly more of an expansive, wide-ranging quality to ‘Supermodels’ that saw Claud embracing a side of themselves that hadn’t always been obvious in their older music. A palpable sense of direct confidence.

“I wanted to make an album that felt like it could be sung in a coffee shop but also in a stadium,” they say. “I wanted something intimate but a big statement at the same time. After picking all the songs, I realised a lot of the songs are rock-esque. I listen to a lot of rock music and a lot of indie rock, and in the past, I never really made music that was super guitar heavy or indie, but now I feel like I’ve leaned into it more in a cool way.”

One of the heavier-leaning songs that went down a storm at the Paramore shows was album highlight ‘A Good Thing’. It became a key song to encapsulate the whole record. “A lot of the album is me contemplating and wondering if I messed up or regretting stuff and wanting to go back in time,” they reflect. “‘A Good Thing’ is, y’know what, just leave it alone. It’s fine; everything’s going to be alright. Take a deep breath and leave it alone.”

It’s sometimes a cliche to say a second album is a step forward for an artist, but in Claud’s case, it feels real and profound. It’s the thrilling feeling of an artist truly taking flight. “I’m really proud that I produced a big chunk of the album myself,” they beam happily. “There’s a newfound confidence that I didn’t have before. If ‘Supermodels’ is an extension of ‘Super Monster’, it’s a big step in terms of finding my voice more. Even as I’m writing more music now, the things I learned from making this record are really informing my life and my writing and everything going forward. I feel like I unlocked a new part of my artistry.” ■

Claud’s album ‘Supermodels’ is out now. Follow Dork’s The Cut Spotify playlist here.