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INTERIVEW: Melbourne band Clowns

Clowns play The Small Ballroom on Saturday, 22 September

In an industry that consumes pop and indie slow-jams at an insatiable rate, Melbourne band Clowns, have always been hell-bent on changing the pace. While they admittedly align themselves with no particular genre, you can find their music hanging out in the punk rock area of JB Hi-Fi. Well, that is of course if you still buy cd’s (points for really hangin’ in there buddy). I recently had a chat with drummer, Jake Laderman, to chat all things Clowns, and maybe a little more.

WIth a new record set for release early next year and a national tour looming ahead, Clowns are gearing up for bigger and more raucous things. For anyone who might be unfamiliar with their music, I can tell you that it’s less like a trip to the circus, and more like the soundtrack to IT, but with less ominous pauses and more guitar.

If you had to define Clown’s sound to someone who’s never heard you before, how would you describe it?

I mean it’s pretty hard punk rock with elements of all kinds of other shit I suppose. That’s a very hard question to answer. I guess most of our records are pretty different to each other. Maybe, In a broader sense, you’d say it was a bit of a punk, rock and roll sound. That’s probably the easiest way to say it.

Are you expecting to have a different sound again on this record?

This record is definitely different to the last one. We’ve decided that it sounds like all of the albums mixed together. We’ve added a few new instruments that we’ve never used before, but the songs themselves kind of resonate with the previous records. It’s got a bit of everything that Clowns fans would probably enjoy.

Without giving too much away, what other instruments can we expect?

Well, there are some keys on it. We’ve used keys before on other records but some of the [new] key sounds are very different. We’ve got some [keys] that sound like The Spits in a way. I don’t want to give away too much but we have a couple of weird ideas for other instruments on one track in particular. I guess we’ll just wait and see how that goes.

What date are you guys dropping that [new record]?

Ah, the album is expecting to be done by April/May next year. We’re actually heading into the studio pretty soon.

That’s awesome!

Yeah, it’s coming along.

Now, you guys dropped a new single on Home and Hosed last week, I Shaved My Legs for You. I missed the premiere, but can you tell me a bit about this track and what it’s about?

So the song is a much heavier song [compared to] anything else we’ve released in the last few years; it sort of resonates with some of the earlier things we did on our first and second records. It’s kind of a love song in a weird taboo way. It’s like shaving your legs for somebody [in a modern day setting] seems like a weird thing that slips under the radar of ‘what is the norm’ for some people. We thought it would make for a pretty funny title.

With your other single ‘Freezing in the Sun’, was it always intended to be a political track? I know that the film clip touches on what looks like police brutality and government corruption. Did you go into it thinking, this is the track we want to make?

So this was a song that was co-written by Steve and Myself, so musically I didn’t have any direction with the lyrics. After hearing some of the chords, Steve just had the idea and I think it was something that he had just been thinking about for a long time and how fucked up it really is. I suppose no, it wasn’t always intended to be a political track, but it just blossomed into one.

Do you think that musicians should be using their platform more to tackle public issues such as offshore detention?

If you have a platform, you can use that platform for better things; I can understand that people that don’t want to use it for that, but if you’re passionate about something then I think it’s a good opportunity to speak out about what you believe in.

Do you have any advice for any bands who are just starting out? Whether it be punk or pop. What your advice from an industry perspective?

First and foremost, it’s important to always be having fun and to enjoy the people that you surround yourself with. You want to make sure that you’re having a good time. Secondly, I think it’s very important to know that it does require a bit of hard work and that little baby steps or milestones are something to be celebrated. You need to keep working towards something keep going back and chipping away at it; it can become really rewarding over time.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Jake. I guess I’ll see you at The Small Ballroom on Saturday.

See you there!

Written by Bree Smith

Bree is a Newcastle import who survives off British television and hummus. She spends the majority of her time chasing bands up and down the east coast and one day hopes to impress people by being able to play more than one song on guitar.

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