Nfld. & Labrador

Marianas Trench superfan covers every song in 52 weeks

Clare Follett produced a YouTube video every week in 2016 to cover the 52-song discography of Marianas Trench, her favourite band.

Clare Follett produced a YouTube video each week in 2016

Clare Follett covered the entire discography of her favourite band, Marianas Trench, by producing a YouTube video once a week in 2016. (Rafferty Baker/CBC/Heather Barrett/CBC)

Clare Follett gave herself quite the project in 2016 — She did it all on her own. 

The ambitious teenager set out to cover the complete discography of her favourite band, Marianas Trench, by producing a YouTube video each week.

"I thought it would push me really hard as a musician to be a lot better. And I think it did that, and I'm very happy with it," she told CBC Radio's Weekend AM.

Follett is a 15-year-old student at St. Bonaventure's College in St. John's.

In December 2015, she realized Marianas Trench had released a total of 52 songs. The following January, Follett decided to learn and cover each one.

She set up a YouTube channel for the project and started uploading the songs every Friday in the order they were released by the band.

For every video, Follett wrote arrangements, sang vocals and played all the instruments — including different types of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. She also produced, mixed, and videotaped everything herself. 

"I would figure out what was in the original and then figure out what I wanted to change, and then I would go through the process of recording all of those and then making them sound good together," she said.

"Not just a bunch of individual tracks, which is sometimes the hardest part."

At the beginning of the year, Follett would spend three or four hours on each video. Once the project progressed, she set her aspirations higher.

By the end of the year she was spending 25-30 hours per week on each production.

"I think even if you go from the beginning to the end, there's a huge difference in the sonic quality of the recording and the recording quality and the mixing," she said.

"So that was pretty hard to get together, but it was a real push and it made me a lot better."

Vancouver, B.C., rockers Marianas Trench won the Juno award for Group of the Year in 2013 (Liam Richards/Reuters)

Recognition from the band

While Follett admits there were times she wanted to skip a week, a commitment to the project kept her going.

"I just said 'I've come too far to go back now. I've committed to this, I need to stick with it'," she said.

Her perseverance paid off.

Marianas Trench found out about Follett and her efforts and posted her YouTube channel to its Facebook page and Twitter account.

Lead singer Josh Ramsay tweeted to his 174,000 followers that he was touched, impressed and honoured by Follett.

While it was exciting to hear directly from the band, Follett wants to take it a step further.

"I would love to just sit down and talk music with them," she said.

Next: some original work

So how can Follett top her 2016 achievements?

This year she plans to release an EP of her original music. 

While the project was time consuming, Follett is proud of her accomplishment.

"I have a whole new appreciation for their music and what they do," she said.

"It was a lot of work, but I think it was pretty worth it."

With files from Weekend AM