Clay Rendering’s Mike Connelly Talks Dark Music and “Absolute Meaning”

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The duo that performs as Clay Rendering are longtime partners Mike and Tara Connelly. The minimal, meditative metal riffage puts you in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, a boundary often explored by the two artists in acts before: Mike played in Wolf Eyes, a group that helped push noise aboveground, as well as Hair Police; Tara has played as the Pool at Metz and together with Mike as the Haunting.

For their upcoming show at Churchill’s Pub, we asked a series of real and unreal questions about music, relationships, and existence.

New Times: Where do each of you come from? Personally, and family-wise?
Mike Connelly: I grew up in Chicago, and Tara grew up in Kentucky. We met in Kentucky 15 years ago.

Do you still live out in Dearborn, Michigan? I'm wondering, how'd you come to settle there? 
Yes. We found a great house that fits our needs as far as practicing and making music. We enjoy the proximity not only to Detroit but also the rest of the Midwest in general. Also, New York is only a day's drive for us, which we like very much. 

What's your first memory of meeting each other? 
I saw Tara at a show and immediately approached her. For some reason, she didn't think I was completely awful — maybe her contacts were smudged — and we hung out the entire night. We did not spend one day apart from that night on, aside from me being on various tours.

Has your relationship always been literally musical?
It has always been artistic. We've always done visual art together. The Haunting was our first musical project, which led to what we do now in Clay Rendering.

What do each of you do other than music? 
Make fires and watch movies like Just Before Dawn and Curtains.

What's the appeal of heavier, noisier, darker musics over other types?

What's your current set up for this tour? 
I'm on guitars and vocals. Tara is on accordion and keyboard. Our amp handles the drums.

Tell me about the visual art you two do.
Currently, Tara is the main one doing visual art. She has been making these warped heads and faces that seem to morph daily. Strange demented figures. Great companions.

If each of you could be an animal, what would it be and why?
Could not imagine being anything else.

Life: inherent meaning or purposeless?
Absolute meaning.

Clay Rendering. With Dim Past, Roover Hook, Matthew Vincent, and Bishop Sleeve. 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at Churchill’s Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission costs $6. Ages 18 and up.

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