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"Touring Band Makes Stop in State College"

By Kyle Wall

They've toured the Northeast, won awards and have been voted the best new artist of 2008, but what the ambitious musicians in Clarity are most excited about is grabbing what has eluded them thus far -- a recording and publishing deal.

The Bucks County quintet will once again bring its contemporary pop-rock sound to SoZo, 256 E. Beaver Ave. The group will perform at 7 p.m. Friday for its third performance in State College, where the number of local fans first exposed to them at an Ataris concert last fall is growing rapidly.

The show will also feature a whole slew of fellow Pennsylvanians. Philadelphia's Jealousy Curve, Lansdale's Parkwright and State College's own North of Nittany will open the show. Advance tickets can be bought for $8 on the band's MySpace page, while tickets at the door will cost $10.

On the band's MySpace page, Clarity members paint themselves as a group with "sweetly placed pop melodies" and an "urbanized electronic rock sound," while listing modern bands such as Maroon 5, The Fray and Augustana as primary influences.

"Everyone listens to different things, which is kind of cool," bassist Paul Mencel said when asked if the group's influences stray too far from the present.

"But basically what's on our page is what we listen to," he said.

After singer/guitarist Patrick Grant played gigs as a solo acoustic act for some time and the band dabbled in cover shows for financial purposes, the five members gathered to officially become Clarity in early 2008. By year's end, Wilmington, Del. radio station 93.7 WSTW had voted the group "Best New Artist of 2008" and runner-up for "Best Band."

Mencel said there is presently about a 50/50 split in the ensemble's State College fanbase, with the majority of new fans showing up after its September performance opening for the veteran pop-punk act.

"We love it," Mencel, who also serves as the band's booking agent, said of playing for the State College fans that populate SoZo.

Katie Patschke (freshman-hotel, restaurant and institutional management) hadn't heard of Clarity before The Ataris' show, but is gearing up to see the band for a third time in one year.

"The lyrics are amazing and they're a really good live band," said Patschke, who added "Sanity" is her favorite Clarity song. "The vocals sound just like they do on their CD."

The disc Patschke referred to is one of the band's demos that has been distributed at shows since the group's inception. Mencel said Clarity's main goal for the remainder of the year is to release music in a more formal manner, ideally an EP to be released in the coming months.

"For 2009, we're trying to put out this EP and get a major publishing deal," he said, adding the band has been speaking with various labels. "We're shooting for TV and movies and hoping to get on a national headlining tour."

Though he is unabashedly optimistic about the future of Clarity, Mencel quickly laughed and clarified his previous statement.

"We'd have to be the opening act on the headlining tour," he said.
- The Daily Collegian

"Quote-Dave Elkins"

"MAE and Clarity shared the stage in Doylestown, PA late last year. Their live show, refreshing sound, and their inviting personalities locked me in immediately. I look forward to great things for this band in the upcoming months!"

Dave Elkins - Capitol Records Artist "Mae" - Dave Elkins

"Quote-Annamarya Scaccia"

"Clarity's music stands at the intersection of a number of trends in modern pop. Catchy melodies bring to mind pop-rockers The Fray and Maroon 5, a versatile keyboard plays off jangling guitars reminiscent of the indie scene, driving bass and drum rhythms propel the tunes forward with the momentum of dance rock. All the elements this quintet brings to the table combine to form a dense, danceable, and infectious sound."

-Annamarya Scaccia (Origivation Magazine) - Annamarya Scaccia

"Eyes Wide Open"

Clarity is a band at a crossroads. The Bucks County-based quintet finds itself at that crucial stage in a band's development where there's nothing to do but choose a direction and hope the answers and success it seeks lie at the end of their path. Years have been building toward this moment for them - the stars aligning at just the right times to bring them here. It has taken patience and a little bit of luck, and it would be easy to rush down a certain road because it looks the most enticing. But Clarity has time for a little more patience, and they want to be damn sure they know what they're getting when and if they choose to sign their first contract.
Before Clarity was a glimmer in anyone's eye, Patrick Grant, the band's lead singer, pursued his musical dreams as a singer-songwriter. Grant, who also plays guitar and does the lion's share of the songwriting for the group, initially sought his fortune playing open mics anywhere he could, from his native Bucks County to Philadelphia, even up to New York City. But the 17-year-old musician felt a need to create a fuller sound.

Clarity’s current lineup represents three years of organic evolution toward the music that Grant envisioned. The first addition was older brother Paul Mencel, who filled in on bass and performed the managerial duties. The addition of drummer Mark McGuire completed the line up at the time, which went by Patrick Grant & the Rising.

The trio recorded a CD, titled Tomorrow Will Be Won, at Milkboy Studios in Ardmore, PA. The producer of the full-length added keyboard to some of the tracks, an element that Grant found essential to the sound he wanted - enter Eric Henkels on the keys. Up until this point, Grant had played the role of frontman, but around this time, he says, "the relationship between us grew into more of a band feel, and I liked the way it was going." To reflect this shift in their thinking, they decided to rename the band Clarity.

The fifth and final piece of the puzzle was guitarist Dave Hughes, a high school friend brought on when Grant, now 20, decided Clarity needed "more power, and someone else to play lead guitar lines." This is when the sound of Clarity locked in. Musically, the band stands at the intersection of a number of trends in modern pop. Catchy melodies bring to mind pop-rockers the Fray and Maroon 5, a versatile keyboard plays off jangling guitars reminiscent of the indie scene, and driving bass and drum rhythms propel the tunes forward with the momentum of dance rock. All the elements this quintet brings to the table combine to form a dense, danceable, and infectious sound.

After the addition of Hughes and the completion of their current roster, the band started booking lots of shows, playing wherever they could, in front of as many different people as they could, thanks in large part to Mencel's continued managerial skills. As they built their fan base, Grant continued to write songs, the band continued to evolve to create a cohesive, layered sound and, earlier this year, they found themselves at a recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

The result of this session was the Nothing to Lose Sampler, which the band began selling at shows this past summer. But never ones to sit idle, Clarity has spent the time writing a new batch of songs, refining their sound, and playing out for their fans since recording the sampler. They also were in talks with some labels who've shown interest in their songs. Clarity has shown remarkable patience with this process, however, refusing to jump blindly into a contract just to say they are signed.

They had some label interest in mid-2008, but held off in order to get some new songs together and make sure they were getting what they wanted. The band put together a slew of new material, and remained in very close contact with their fans while doing so. While they worked through the songs, they used their MySpace page as a tool to get feedback on the new tunes directly from the folks who support them. They would occasionally post demo tracks and get input on what worked. So, to an extent, their fans helped decide what songs made the cut.

Now they once again have label interest and, in January, were 99 percent of the way to signing with a small indie label. The group were set to record in Virginia Beach at the end of last month, but decided against it in the eleventh hour. They are still in talks with the label, the name of which they don't want to reveal until their deal is set, but they opted once again to take things slower to ensure they knew what they were getting into.

"Originally, we were rushing into the contract so we could depart for our recording," says Mencel. "However, we learned firsthand that the most important thing in the music business is patience. With that in mind, after the contract is as close to what we want as we can get it, we are going to sit on it for a little while."

But that's not to say they are biding their time, sitting around and waiting for the perfect contract to fall into their laps. Rather, they feel they have the time to make sure everything is in their control and ready to go when and if they decide to sign. Grant has been furiously writing, trying, according to Mencel, "to write 'the one'" - the single that would propel them into the mainstream. The new music, according to Grant, has "a lot more energy to it, and a lot more mature writing," and he feels that he's starting to create the type of melody he's always wanted to.

The band is also establishing themselves in the region – they just recently won Best New Artist in the 2008 Homey Awards, hosted by WSTW, a pop and rock radio station based in Wilmington, DE. They were also nominated for Best Male Vocals, Best Band, and Best Song for their single “Sanity”. These nominations, along with the fact that “Sanity” was the station's fourth most requested song of the year after only 3 months in rotation, indicate that the boys from Clarity are slowly but surely finding their way to the mainstream. Today: Wilmington. Tomorrow: only their ambition is holding them back.

And their openness with fans continues. Even now, while working hard on a contract and preparing for a visit to the studio, Clarity is posting new demos to their page and looking for as much feedback as they can get. Mencel also expects to be frequently updating their MySpace page ( with news updates, new merchandise and new videos. They also had a busy concert calendar for February, and are planning a busy April and beyond. Instead of doing one large tour, the band is instead opting to do a series of smaller tours that take them around to nearby towns and cities. Look for them on April 17 at Cabrini College with Virginia pop-rockers MAE, and keep an eye on their page for upcoming dates. And as soon as they get their contract hammered out, they will surely make plans to enter the studio and get their new material down on record.

Although the future of this contract is unsure, it’s certain that Clarity will keep working hard, writing as much as they can, and playing as many shows as possible. This is just the way they operate, and as soon as the right contract passes their desk and they're signed, Clarity will no doubt continue to work just as hard. Mencel's advice to struggling bands reveals a good part of the reason Clarity is in the position that they are: "Keep doing what you're doing, just push hard, and if it means you wake up early to get the job done, you wake up early to get the job done. It's just a matter of putting in the man-hours."

Almost as an aside, he adds, "And make sure the songs sound good."
- Origivation Magazine By Nick Krefting


Clarity recently recorded a 5 track sampler, which includes Clarity's pop single "Sanity." The band will releasing an EP in Spring 09.



The Philly suburbs are the proud home to the musical movement known as Clarity. This extremely energetic band from North Wales, PA is known for its clean melody lines, probing lyrics, driving rhythms and enthusiastic performances. Sweetly placed pop melodies over an urbanized electronic rock sound are sewn together to create a unique infectious sound. The band drives its name from its clarity of purpose and focus as stated in it’s “Practice classically, Perform radically” credo. Clarity started out with a cult-like following of friends and family, and then went on to include friends of friends, and friends of those friends. But suddenly girls who they’ve never seen before are asking them to sign their jeans at sold out venues throughout the greater Philadelphia area. From New York to Nashville to LA to Philly, Clarity has been performing to inspire a wide range of fans, who eagerly await news of Clarity’s next appearance and move. Through live performance the band has the opportunity to share the stage as direct support for some of their influences such as MAE, PERSONL, THE ATARIS, ACE ENDERS, GOOD OLD WAR, PEPPERS GHOST, THE CRASH MOTIVE, PARACHUTE, GREEN RIVER ORDINANCE and several others. Clarity has been named “Philly’s Buzz Band.”

With their single, “Sanity”, Clarity has become one of the top 5 most requested local bands on several internet and on-air radio stations. The band’s large radio presence recently lead to an on-air performance and interview with Mark Rodgers on DE’s premier pop/rock station 93.7 WSTW. After WSTW's acclaimed Homey Awards were announced in Feb 09 Clarity came away with the title of "Best New Artist 2008" along with runner-ups in "Best Male Lead Vocal", "Best Song" and "Best Band."

Clarity has had the opportunity to showcase for several labels, mangers and booking agencies at showcases including the Dewey Beach Music Conference, and Dewey Beach Pop Fest. Clarity’s heavy presence and drive have lead to several label, manager and production opportunities. Currently, Clarity is practicing, writing, and “demo’ing” daily to prepare for their much anticipated EP, due to be released in Spring ‘09. After recording, the band will follow a heavy tour schedule, spreading the name and promoting the EP. Clarity will continue to play, write and perform until they reach the top.