I sat down with Clean Cut Kid (minus Mike due to a sore throat, so being on vocal rest!) ahead of their sold-out show at the Bodega to chat about going independent and taking complete creative control over their new music.
So you’ve just started the UK tour, how’s it going so far?
Absolutely amazing. It’s been a year since we last toured, so we were excited to get back on the road. It’s just been class, amazing crowds, sold out each night. It’s nice to be able to play all the new material as well. That’s just so much fun because we’ve sat on it for 12 months, so to actually get it out to the masses is great.
How is the new material going down?
Good yeah, really well! A lot of the recordings we see on Instagram are all of the new stuff which is really cool. And there’s little bits in all of the new songs where it’s quite easy to get the crowd to sing back. Sometimes you’ll see the same people at each gig, so they will book a week off work and go to every gig. So, at the start of the tour they won’t know the songs but by the end they’re singing along – that’s so cool!
Listening to the new single “Deafening”, it seems like a shift from some of your earlier work. Was that a conscious decision?
Well we decided that we would make this album independently. So, we were in a new headspace; suddenly we were free from the label we were on, free from people’s opinions. It’s much more like we were left to do what we wanted to do. It hasn’t been a conscious thing of ‘let’s go down this route’.
We’ve just basically sat down and gone ‘right, what is the sound of Clean Cut Kid now, three years on from when we first popped up on the scene?’. It just so happened to be an old school sound, which makes sense because we are more into old school music. Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles – that’s all the stuff we draw on. With the ‘Feel’ campaign it was so easy to second guess yourself, saying ‘would this suit this, would this suit that?’. And as cheesy as it sounds, with all that gone, it’s just about the music again. It was a real freeing moment, where we were like ‘right, let’s record an album’. Me (Evelyn) and Mike built a studio in our flat, we just said ‘right, let’s not think about anything else; what it has to sound like, what the radio wants it to sound like, what the label wants it to sound like – let’s just make it’. So glad it’s going down well though! Also, Mike recorded and produced all the new stuff, so we’ve used all old school recording techniques using vintage gear – it’s been really fun.
So, the new album is around the corner then?
Yeah! it’s kinda done, all ready! There’s one more EP to come before Christmas, and then the album in the new year. We won’t be waiting around. We’re doing these releases through a label called ‘Awal’, they get involved in the stuff that you need them to get involved with, like promotion but leave you to it on the creative side.
Oh, that’s ideal then!
It is actually ideal! Loads of artists such as Tom Grennan, Frank Carter, the Kooks, the Wombats are on them. All these bands are realising their ethos and the way they operate.
Well it’s clearly working.
Exactly! And it speeds up the process, because bands can do what they need to do and there is no muddying of the water. So, the recordings are quicker, you can get music out there quicker.
What can fans expect from the upcoming material then?
All the tracks that have come out so far are a very good gauge of what the album will sound like. It’s got a real sound! We’ve used the same equipment across the whole thing, there’s this mic that we’ve used – it’s proper old school 60’s.
I would expect something a lot deeper, we’ve gone quite emotional. There’s a mental health theme going through it. These are themes that we’ve come across in the last 12 months, be it in the band, with family, with friends – it’s all very personal. But looking at it in a positive way, coming from a positive place.
I’d say it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. And Mike’s done all the artwork as well, so it feels like our first child! For the first time as well, every track on the album has come from an experience that has come from making the album. With “Felt” there were songs that we had written four years ago. With this album for the first time ever everything happened in that space of time. So, it’s very special to us because all the memories and situations are quite fresh.
Be sure to check out Clean Cut Kid’s latest single “Deafening” and their upcoming album in the new year.