Monday, December 13, 2010
In what's certain to be the proverbial "end of an era," one of our DC favorites, True Womanhood, ushers in our very last TVD Takeover Week. ...Ever.
(Well, here at this address.)
TW supplies the intro:
Welcome to TW Takeover Week on The Vinyl District. True Womanhood is proud to host the Vinyl District this week. You can expect features hand picked by TW and focusing on the bands, producers, and other music people that we most admire. You’ll find interviews, new song premieres, and if you’re lucky, maybe one or two of our favourite chipmunked rap videos.
We are hard at work recording some new music on our awesome vintage reel to reel for you to hear, but to tide you over till then down below is the latest, a couple songs we recorded in a mile long sewer pipe and put through a malfunctioning tape delay.
Clinic was one of the first bands that we got into, long, long before any of us could play our instruments or dreamed of playing in a band like TW, before we even discovered the Smiths or New Order, we knew Clinic. Since then we’ve kept ourselves “Aware” and in the loop with the Liverpool band’s output—6 high class albums on Domino Records. Their latest, Bubblegum, was recently released (you can buy it HERE) and they were gracious enough to answer our questions.
We’ve been listening to you guys since we were thirteen years old. What records were you guys listening to when you were thirteen?
When we were 13 (early 80's) there was a completely different musical landscape. Punk had inspired the first independent labels during the late 70's but the fruits of these ventures were not readily available to our age at the time, you would have to hunt them out and have some cash! We were definitely drawn to albums like "Never Mind The Bollocks" for the comedy value but had to rely on our parents record collections—heavily 60's/70's influenced, easy listening (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Demis Roussos, Abba, The Sandpipers etc. etc.)
Older kids at school would reveal greater rewards later on with bands like The Smiths, Echo and The Bunnymen leading to discovering the Velvet Underground's first album, early Pink Floyd and The 13th Floor Elevators. A true revelation was first visiting the legendary Liverpool record shop "Probe" which would stock early Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers, and other obscure US releases at the time.
Since this is, after all, a vinyl lovers blog, it’s important to mention your new album Bubblegum, available in bright pink vinyl! What are you most excited about with this album?
The most exciting thing about this record for me is the fact it really breaks the mould of past releases. There was a long list of things we wanted to include/not include in an attempt to create something different. Also John Congleton did a really good job of recording and mixing the record. It was the first time since Winchester Cathedral that we worked with a producer. He encouraged us to include things we wouldn't normally have thought of (eg. lush string arrangements) and as a result I think we made our most accessible album to date.
Starting with Internal Wrangler’s reworking of Ornette Coleman, you guys have had a string of amazing album artwork. What do you guys think about when designing your record covers? Does someone in the band do the artwork? What are some of your favorite record designs made by other bands?
Hartley designs all the album covers and as you can probably tell he's a big fan of Modernism, Punk and old Jazz records. I think the main thing about putting the sleeves together is making sure they'll stand up in years to come, we've all had many conversations about trying to make things look timeless and that tends to mean not relying on digital techniques. All the album covers are made by hand before being digitally scanned so you can still see the flaws.
As far as other album covers I'm personally a big fan of artists like Raymond Pettibon (Black Flag, Sonic Youth) and Pete Fowler (Super Furry Animals), both highly individual and striking.
We were impressed that the Clinic website is full of iphone and ipad applications based on your new album, giving fans a new way to relate to and experience your music. Can you give us a bit of insight on the band’s relationship with its audience, and whether you see it changing with this new technology?
It's a way of trying to reclaim value in music, to create something physical. The ease in which people can download music has almost made a song worthless, there are thousands of bands all releasing albums at the same time, things come and go very quickly. By embracing technology and creating new things like the iPhone/iPad apps it puts the music in a new context. We've always tried to do things differently, making it about the music rather than personality so technology allows us to expand on that idea and make the music more interactive. I think that's also why vinyl sales are on the up, I think it's a reaction to the digital format. A lot of labels are adding download codes so you get the best of both worlds, but you can't beat the act of putting on a record and listening to a great album.
Liverpool’s musical history, at least from an American perspective, is dominated by one band and one band alone. Do you guys still live and rehearse there? What’s it like being a band in Liverpool?
Their shadow still looms large from a tourist's perspective (a new 5 star hotel called "A Hard Days Night," Liverpool airport's motto "Above us only sky!") but there is an extremely diverse range of bands writing and recording in Liverpool. We organised a festival in 2009 that featured bands like Hot Club De Paris, SSS, Mugstar and Cold Ones, all very different bands but when you add in a bit of Medieval battle re-enactment in the intervals it really worked.
Clinic is still based in Liverpool, we have a studio set up in a large converted warehouse that houses a lot of other bands, artists and creative ventures which we have access to 24 hours a day. All our albums since Winchester Cathedral have been recorded there in some shape or form.
Finally, what has been your best experience in Washington D.C. as a band?
We've always had a great time in Washington D.C., a real music loving city - I can't choose one particular moment but would like to say a big hello and thank you to The Black Cat who have been very good to us over the years and The Rock and Roll Hotel where we played on our last US tour.
Many thanks to Clinic for being so generous with their time! For more Clinic, you can check them out online, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and buy their music. Also make sure to check the excellent new live video recorded on their last U.S. tour. —TW
Posted by Jon at 10:11 AM