Todd Clouser is a composing guitarist, songwriter & performer based between Mexico City and the USA. Combining elements of rock, jazz blues, spoken word & improvised musics, he has toured the world with his group A Love Electric, as a solo act and performed alongside luminaries from John Lurie to John Zorn, Flea, Cyro Baptista, John Medeski, Keb Mo, and more, performing at rock, jazz and world music festivals across the globe. His prolific output & genre-evading creativity had NPR call Todd “a fascinating musician ….. (he) doesn’t belong to any scene and doesn’t want to”, and Mexico City’s La Jornada mentioning the group as “one of the most important acts of recent years”. A native of Minneapolis, MN, Todd grew up traveling the USA following his favorite artists & self publishing poetry/recordings before being signed to Ropeadope Records for his first “proper” release, entitled “A Love Electric”. As time/tours passed, A Love Electric became a band, first an instrumental act joined by NYC downtown scene heroes Steven Bernstein, Cyro Baptista, & Billy Martin, eventually settling as a trio that explores Todd’s songwriting while honoring the inquisition and fearlessness or jazz tradition, w/Hernan Hecht on drums & Aaron Cruz on bass. The trio has gone on to release 6 records on labels in the US & Mexico while performing nearly 1,000 concerts in the span of 7 years. So much has happened since those early days. Philanthropy/community outreach work has been an important of his work in Mexico and beyond. With the founding of his “Music Mission” initiative, Todd and patrons have donated thousands of dollars worth of instruments, education materials, workshops and basic needs support to communities in Nicaragua, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Durango etc. Todd is also the founder of Ropeadope Sur, a record label based out of Mexico City with a focus on Mexican acts in search of increased projection of their music, the first act signed being Los Cardencheros de Sapioriz, an acapella group singing slave-era songs on the ranches on northern Mexico.
It’s always nice to visit with family and Todd and I had a chance to catch up as he is heading to Madison on May 124th to play Garver Feed Mill in a trio with Alex Mercado and Rodrigo Villaneva. We get into the event which is entitled Cinema Music for Unmade Film and the tour that it is a part of. We spend some time also talking about his latest releases, “Fake Dudes” by Magnet Animals on Rare Noise Records, and a brand new live album on Ropeadope Sur called “Live, Loft, Köln”. The best part of all the things Todd is a part of is that there are so many kinds….it really provides me, a listeners and a sharer of music to learn so much about so many. I think this latest conversation will do the same.