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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | July 5, 2020

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Uncivil Rest

Uncivil Rest

| On 29, Apr 2015

Uncivil Rest is the musical moniker of Brisbanite James Cluff, who’s been on a musical journey culminating in the upcoming release of his first Uncivil Rest EP.

After spending time playing with a bands over the last few years, James is finally working on his own music, saying, “I’ve always written music by myself, and normally I’ve had people around me. Now that I’m on my own writing music I’m really writing for myself.”

Citing his influences and similar-sounding artists as “The National, maybe Matt Corby, Johnny Flynn and City and Colour,” he’s quick to add that he tries “to make as much of my sound my own”.

Following the gradual release of a few tracks, including the EP’s lead number “Lurking Ghosts”, James is proud to be presenting his first EP as Uncivil Rest on Thursday. “Lurking Ghosts” itself is a soft but striking track, carried by James’ pleasantly deep voice and featuring an emotive, lyrical build.

“I’m going to call the EP Ghosts. I wrote most of the tracks in the first part of 2014, but I’ve been writing music since 2012.” When asked if it was these “ghosts” that had kept him from releasing music before this point, James said:“The reason it’s been so long getting this EP out there is that it’s such a personal collection. I’m at a point now where I can, in a way, be detached from who I was when I wrote that music. Obviously, it’s still me, but it’s not easy to blurt out to the world “this is exactly who I am.””


“A lot of it is about my relationship with people. I went through a lot of changes last year, and a lot of emotions came out of that. Performing has never been natural for me- when I play music I’m confident but I guess speaking with people, I’m not a very social person.”

The Ghosts EP will be launched at a local coffee shop, Reload Espresso Bar, and will be the first event of its kind to be held at the venue. James said of the decision to hold his launch there: “It’s probably my favourite local coffee shop, and has probably one of the coolest spaces to play live music in. I don’t mind where I play- anywhere really, as long as it’s a chance to release that emotion.”

From the production side, James was lucky enough to wrangle former Yves Klein Blue bass player, Sean Cook, to aid in the recording of tracks at The Plutonium, an experience he describes as invaluable.

“In previous bands, Sean’s name had come up. He was mentored by Magoo (Lachlan Goold) who’s another amazing producer, so I thought it’d be worthwhile giving him a go- and it was. He was great. I got a session drummer and the rest was a mix of Sean and myself,” and adds, laughing “obviously I gave him the bass track”.

James said that, in  terms of his process for creating music, and the approach he took to the recording of the songs for Ghosts, “I like the way I’m told Angus and Julia Stone record, which is that their first recording of a song, their first take of it, is how they want that track to be recorded on an album.I’ve developed my songs a lot, especially in a lyrical sense, and try to keep my songs as authentic as possible in the way they were first written.”


On top of the expert-produced songs on the EP, James has been working on a few “laneway sessions”, which he created to facilitate “stripping things back and doing some chilled out performances. I want to keep my laneway sessions going. It’s nice to do more stripped-back performances of my EP songs which are bigger, band-focused songs in the recordings.”

No stranger to being in front of the camera, James has a music video for lead single “Lurking Ghosts” in the works.

“I’ve just filmed a music video with a guy called Josh Hodgman (of Josh Lincoln Films), for my first single Lurking Ghosts. He’s a bloody awesome videographer, and we made the ultimate team.”

For such a recently-emerged artist, Uncivil Rest shows a lot of promise- which (combined with well-written and produced tracks) could prove to be a winning combination.

What Uncivil Rest’s Ghosts EP Launch

Where Reload Espresso Bar (9 Chrome Street, Salisbury)

When Thursday, April 30 7pm

How Much $5

More Details Uncivil Rest