Margate songwriter’s WhereElse gig releasing album to award winning documentary Red Herring

Xav Clarke’s Red Herring album release will take place at WhereElse?

A Margate-based artist, composer and songwriter will be launching his new album  at a gig in the town this month.

Xav Clarke’s Red Herring album contains the soundtrack for the award winning documentary by Kit Vincent.

The film secured the Best UK Film award at the 31st Raindance Film Festival Awards last year and was officially released in cinemas and on Prime yesterday (May 3).

Diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour aged just 24, director Kit enlists his family for an intimate and darkly humorous journey to help them come to terms with his illness. What Kit captures with his camera traverses the fine line between humour and grief, detailing his family’s acceptance of his fate, and celebrating the relationships that keep us going, particularly in life’s darker moments.

Inspired by soundtrack albums like ‘About A Boy’ by Badly Drawn Boy, Xav was tasked with crafting and performing the entire soundtrack. The result is a collection of songs and a score that talk life, death and reflection.

Single ‘Being Alive’ is the film’s opening credits ‘needle drop’ with a bubbling bassline and propellant drums, performed by James Vine of Waldo’s Gift fame. The song features harmonicas and an anthemic chorus before a saxophone solo by Robert Stillman of The Smile. Its release is the second from the album, the first being Growing Up is for Losers.

Xav, 34, said: “I wanted the music to sound like it could have been made at home and that it came unfiltered, from the heart. Kit and I both grew up in Dorset and have similar musical interests. This helped me inform the direction the sound should take, as did the strong bond between Kit and his dad, Lawrence.

“Having very recently lost my dad, I was able to draw upon my emotional response to portraying a father/son bond within the context of happiness and loss. When writing lyrics I wanted to capture both the darkly comedic tone of the film and the heart-on-the-sleeve emotional honesty on display.

“Although the film confronts the topic of death, I wanted to make sure the music came from a place of what it means to be alive and to celebrate and soundtrack Kit’s experiences.”

Xav moved from Germany to Margate in 2020 to be nearer his best pal and Itchy Teeth bandmate Charlie Hannah who runs The Grain Grocer in Cliftonville.

He has a home studio where the songs and score for Red Herring were created after the film’s team got in touch with the agency Xav works through.

He said: “They emailed the agent looking for someone to do something for an independent film. The agent sent out virtually everyone else as they were experienced with documentaries where I mainly work in animation. But they asked if they had someone a bit quirkier which is when the agent said ‘we have this guy called Xav.’

“They sent a song over of mine that I had written about losing my dad and they connected with that song.”

Find Being Alive on Spotify here

As a composer, Xav has written viral songs, music and score for numerous animated series including the BAFTA-winning ‘The Amazing World of Gumball’ (Cartoon Network), ‘Off The Air’ (Adult Swim), cult Sci-fi adventure; ‘Elliott From Earth’ – for which he received a Music + Sound Awards Nomination – ‘The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe’ (Hanna-Barbera) and most recently the Joseph Gordon-Levitt produced ‘Wolfboy and The Everything Factory’ for Apple TV+.

Xav is currently working on the score for a forthcoming Nickelodeon animated series, starting a new project for the Academy Award winning animation studio Aardman and returning to an old Cartoon Network favourite.

Xav also produces psychedelic pop with bands Itchy Teeth, Captain Fix & The Midnight Honeys, Starfish Men and Mozart Estate. His debut solo album ‘Magic Arrow’ was released last year and he is currently working on a German language follow-up.

When Xav isn’t in his home studio he makes the most of living on the coast. He said: “I love Margate and going to see music at WhereElse, watching the sun set on the harbour arm, swimming in the tidal pool, cycling the coastal path or going to Forts.”

Album release gig

The album release gig will take place at WhereElse? The Centre, Margate on May 22 from 7pm with support from JusJim, James Vine’s new solo project.

Tickets cost £9.15 will all profit from the sales going to the ‘Headway East London’ charity. Headway works with people with brain injury, supporting survivors, their families and carers.

Xav says Headway has been chosen to receive the proceeds from this month’s album launch because Kit volunteers there.

Tickets at:

Find the Red Herring docu-film on Prime here