Posts Tagged ‘Clock Opera

03
Mar
10

HOW GOOD IS THIS!!!??? – NUMBER 41

If you love The Phenomenal Handclap Band and Clock Opera as much as we do, then hold onto your chair…

24hours after posting our exclusive interview, (see the below post), with the delectable Clock Opera, his remix of another Recommender favourite, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, arrived in our inbox.  How could we not post it!?  It’s fucking awesome!

Check out Clock Opera.  Check out The Phenomenal Handclap Band.  Then check this out!

THE PHENOMENAL HANDCLAP BAND – BABY (CLOCK OPERA REMIX)

To add to the lovely awesomeness, here’s a collection of TPHCB’s videos, because, well, they’re all so amazing…

(MB)

01
Mar
10

Q & A – CLOCK OPERA

Q & A – CLOCK OPERA

Clock Opera recently supported Marina & The Diamonds on her nationwide tour, so when they rolled into Brighton The Recommender caught up with frontman, Guy Connelly, just before he went on stage at Audio.  We found him in an open mood, happy to discuss Clock Opera’s evolution into a full band, the benefits of blog coverage, their recording plans and the dangers of playing Black & Deckers live on stage!

Clock Opera (Photo: PR)

THE RECOMMENDER: Hello Guy, so let’s start at the beginning, where are you from?
GUY CONELLY: Near Bristol, a little dead end town called Nailsea.  It hasn’t got a lot to speak for itself really.  It’s next to Portishead but I’ve never thought of naming a band after Nailsea (like Portishead did).  That wouldn’t really work.  I live in London now.

TR: Like pretty much anybody who’s anything to do with this cool, new, rising electronic pop music.
GUY: I don’t know.  I don’t think that’s true.  That’s just people’s perception, there’s more people in London.  I’ve never really paid much attention to where you come from.  Someone might say Bristol has got a really good music scene and I haven’t got a clue.

TR: There’s different parts of the country that are respected for different things.  Bristol’s supposed to be good for Dubstep.
GUY: It only takes a few people to say that there’s a ‘scene’ somewhere, doesn’t it?

TR: That’s a good point, NME are always trying to find a new ‘scene’ to grab onto.
GUY: Everybody loves a scene… except bands.

TR: When did you start Clock Opera?
GUY: We played our first gig less than a year ago.  March, I think, and it’s come on really quickly.  We had a single out in November and people started picking us up unexpectedly quickly.  We’ve only played about fifteen gigs.  We’re really lucky to get on this Marina tour.  It’s our first tour so it’s pretty amazing that it’s sold out.  I mean, obviously they’re not here to see us.

TR: We’re here to see Clock Opera tonight as much as we’re here to see Marina.
GUY: Thanks, but we’re not kidding ourselves.  What I mean is, it’s wicked to come to somewhere you’ve never played together as a band and play to a room full of people.  That’s what you want, it’s amazing and it’s our first tour.

TR: What made Marina the right person to go on tour with, for you?
GUY: She just asked us really.  It’s not like we’re flooded with offers and it’s a great tour to go on.  I did a remix for her which she liked.

TR: Is that out yet?
GUY: No, people have been asking but we’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen with it.  Originally I did it as just a bit of fun that was going to go up on a blog and then her record label heard it and she heard it and thought ‘why not use it’ so I think it’s going to come out with her next single.  I guess it had something to do with us getting this tour.

TR: There’s a connection between the two acts through Neon Gold (the blog and record label).  That’s where we first heard about you.
GUY: Yeah, that’s how I got the remix, through Derek (one half of Neon Gold) and that’s kind of how it kicked off a bit.  We had a Guardian New band of the day (article) and Illegal Tender wrote about us on the same day and all of a sudden people started swarming a bit.

TR: So, was that all from Neon Gold?
GUY: No, Derek picked us up from that blog (Illegal Tender) – I think they’re mates – and then he wrote about us which I think helped us a lot.

TR: He seems to be massively on-the-money with everything he’s picking up at the moment.
GUY: Yeah, he’s a bit of a golden boy.  There’s two of them, Lizzy runs it with him.  It seems to be a surefire route to success or at least a lot of hype anyway which is pretty helpful.

TR: Have you got plans to release any singles/EPs/Albums in the near future?
GUY: We’re recording at the moment, we’ve been doing some mixing.  We mixed a couple of tracks at the end of last week.  We’ve got loads and loads of stuff, it’s just a matter of getting around to recording it properly.  We’ve got at least an album’s worth of stuff.  We’re recording four (songs) at the moment, we’re just kind of deciding really, doing a tour and seeing what offers come in.

TR: Are you a full band now?
GUY: Yeah, since we started playing.  I wrote a load of stuff before we got together but ever since then we’ve been a band.  I still write it to a certain stage and then we all develop it and play it so we’re definitely a band.  Just because I’m up here and they’re having a beer downstairs.  They’re happy for me to spout a load of bollocks in their absence.  People haven’t been writing enough about them.

TR: Everywhere else we’ve read about Clock Opera it ‘s been ‘Guy this’ and ‘Guy that’.
GUY: It’s a bit annoying because they (the band) put a lot in and they bring a huge amount and I want that to be represented.  I think it also says a lot about lazy journalism, somebody writes something about just me and it multiplies but the truth is, we’re a band.

TR: The first couple of tracks we heard, White Noise and Alouette, don’t sound like they’re being performed by a band.  They sound like there’s a lot of laptop jigging, looping and sampling. Did you write and record that before the band?
GUY: I write as I record so a lot of the samples are ones that I’ve made at the start and they never change.  Then we add live instruments as we go along and arrange it.  We add different bits and bobs but the samples are what I start with so they always stay the same really.  We recorded those a while back but this new lot (of songs) have got more of a live sound because we’ve played about with that a lot more.  For one song, the original demo is completely different because there’s a whole new percussion section, loads of live drums where previously it was all based on computer stuff.  I really like that combination, I think that’s really important.  I love electronic music and that’s partly what we do but it also needs a grounding in reality somehow.  Likewise with the samples, they’re all digitally manipulated but I want them to have some kind of human feel to them.  You can tell they were once a real instrument, they’re not just wires generating sound out of nothing, there was something playing at the beginning.  I think that’s what I like about being a band, it brings that out more.

TR: How does it work?  You’re in your house and you hit something and you think “I like that noise”.  Do you record it in your house or do you take it to your studio?
GUY: Well, my house is my studio.  I’ve used washing machines and drills.  I really want to get a power drill solo in one song.  It sounds amazing it’s just about matching the speed with the note you want to play.

TR: You’re actually going to do that live?
GUY: I want to, it’s the threat of danger that I quite like.  It takes you away from just playing instruments on stage and maybe makes the front row step back 6 inches.

TR: You could have a whole tool orchestra, like playing a saw with a violin bow.
GUY: Yeah, I like that, I really like that.  We’re pushed for time with setting up at the moment but when we get our own tour I think you’ll see some Black and Decker on show.

TR: You seem to have mastered that tricky blend of being experimental, whilst still having killer melodies and big choruses.  Do you think it’s still possible to be original and achieve commercial success without having to compromise either?  Is commercial success the main aim?
GUY: No, it’s not the main aim but yeah, you can definitely do it.  It depends what you define success as.  I define success as having enough people loving what you do that you can play a show and get to meet people who are into the same stuff.  The measure of success is what is necessary to propagate whatever else you want to do.  So of course you can do it, there’s loads of bands that have done it.  The majority don’t but if I didn’t believe it could be done then I wouldn’t be trying.

TR: What’s next for Clock Opera after the Marina tour?
GUY: We’ve got a few remixes coming out.  There’s the Marina one, I’ve done one for The Phenomenal Handclap Band which is coming out in March and I’m doing one for The Golden Filter at the moment which might be used.  I don’t know, I’m never sure.  I’m mainly doing that then we’re going to get back in the studio and get more songs done.  Hopefully we’ll have three or four more done by the end of next month and then fill up the album.  We’ve got a few more gigs booked but we’re not planning on playing too many gigs at the moment just so we have time to figure out more songs.

TR: We’d like you to come and play at one of our monthly parties.
GUY: We will play one of your nights, I promise.

TR: We’ll hold you to that. Finally, we always ask the bands we interview to become an honorary Recommender and suggest a band that we might not have heard of.
GUY: Well, there’s a band I really like in London called Magic & Fur. They’re really cool.

TR: Thanks, we’ll check them out, good luck with the show.

And what a show it was!  A remarkable performance, packed with many very strong tracks.  This is one talent that is bursting with creativity, ideas and ability.  We cannot wait for the promise of an album in due course, but one promise we will be pursuing is the offer he made to play The Recommender’s gigs.  Watch this space, but rest assured we will be proudly shouting it from the rooftops when we confirm the booking…
(MA & MB)

31
Jan
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 71

ENTREPRENEURS

We are busy gearing up for The Recommender’s launch party, which hits Brighton in a few days, but today we are getting back to our main aim, namely delivering new music to your neocortex.  First up today is Entrepreneurs, who took far more unravelling research than usual to understand.  This is the latest incarnation from the song machine that is Adam Crisp – a man who used to dwell in our local city of Brighton, in the band Elle Milano.  In this former band they went from a three piece, to a four piece, then back to a three piece, often using a variety of fake names and personas, so you can perhaps understand the amount of deciphering it’s taken to learn how Adam got here.  He’s also dabbled in other projects, such as Kobe & The Konsoles, so it’s one confusing mangle, eventually nudging our noses up to his door with this new solo project.  Thankfully his music is so exciting, adventurous and adorable that the journey was well rewarded.  Eclectic pop, distorted melodies and an exceptional ear for a daring composition fly around your head, over beats that rampage between Dom Howard and something Russel Hobbs would tap out.  On top of all this it’s Adam’s distinctive vocals that really make us want to wallow.  His voice is tinged with parts of Alex Kapranos at his most fried, (see the track In Breach (Wet Fish Handshake)), or Matt Bellamy at his most slurred, (see track Wasted Floozies), but it’s a joy to follow through each tune.  He is planning to release a debut EP, Uv Been Robbed, (Joking But Not), towards the end of the summer.  Getting him noticed in the mean time are a handful of select remixes of Marina & The Diamonds and Clock Opera, which in both cases are more adventurous, warped and slower than the many others that we’ve heard recently.  This is one artist we are going to keep an eye on, if for no other reason than to avoid yet more convoluted untangling!   (MB)

Find him here:         Myspace

Hear him here:        ENTREPRENEURS – INFINITY

Hear him here:        CLOCK OPERA – WHITE NOISE (ENTREPRENEURS BACK SEAT SLASHER REMIX)

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

THE HIGH WIRE

You would be forgiven two misjudgments with this special London trio.  Firstly that they are indeed only a three piece, so full and plump is their collective sound.  Secondly, that they are indeed from the UK, so American and more specifically Californian, is their shoegazing pop music.  You know the sort, with it’s familiar thrumming, basic country guitar chords, uplifting vocal harmonies that purr over a percussive beat.  Inside their musical box of tricks they also pull out sackfuls of sunshine, bags of bliss and drifts of dreamy charm.  It’s reminiscent of Mercury Rev, or perhaps The Flaming Lips at their most romantic.  It turns out that this breezy trinity initially arrived a little prematurely at the end of 2008, having been selected by none other than Chris Martin to open up for Coldplay, before they were truly ready to make full use of such a shiny spotlight.  An independent release of their debut, Ahead Of The Rain, was put together and shipped out in early 2009, but sadly never fought at it’s correct weight.  After leaving their starting line with a stalling engine it perhaps felt that the talent behind the wheel was never going to join the pack, but we have recently received some good news.  Thankfully it’s now looking like 2010 may finally prove to be the year in which things start the march to victory, as their full debut album proper, The Sleep Tape, gets released on the Grandpa Stan label.  Inside are songs with themes of broken hearts and sleepless nights, but the best evidence of any evolution from their earlier work is the scale of each composition, mainly witnessed in the intertwined vocals from Tom Crompton and Alexia Hagen.  With this they will hopefully not only catch the rest of the pack, but fly right by.   (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       THE HIGH WIRE – THE MIDNIGHT BELL

TinyRedLineForBlog.jpg picture by odelaybradford

HI TIGER

This New York collective proudly point out on their Myspace that, according to the Chinese Calendar, it’s the year of the Tiger.  Time will indeed tell if that prophecy is true or a load of hopeful, star-gazing bullshit.  What we do know is that this lab-born, electronic pop band are ticking a lot of the right boxes, which is a rare thing from such an experimental project.  Born from the people behind My Other Computer Is A Sunset and Neon Coyote, they very much feel like they’re making music for 2010.  They produce a tumbler of sounds, which turn out to be a wonderful concoction of mixed up shapes and fuzz, cleverly working all the right parts of your brain.  Like much of their artwork, it’s a weird collage of influences and derivatives.  On tracks like Dance Around, (see below), it sounds like a wasted Lou Reed being backed by The Orb, with their burnt, spoken words and beats that sound like they’re thumping through the walls from next door.  On other successes, like the track Prima Donna, there’s MGMT synths and vocals that sing of friendships as if they haven’t quite come down from last nights party yet.  The meandering pauses in their tunes are beautiful and drifting, but always return to the songs original seductive plan of charming rhythms and positive story telling, “you just gotta believe that we’ll find a place, I really hope so“.  They made their Hide The Drugs EP available to download for free in parts here, but as for the future we should warn you, this experimental music will likely never fill a whole album with consistency, but when it hits the sweet spot, boy does it taste good. (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        HI TIGER – DANCE AROUND

29
Jul
09

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 44

Here’s yet another fresh catch for you to digest. The good ship Recommender has trawled the open oceans of music once more and hooked onto some meaty feasts for your ears, so quit waiting and tuck in…

ELVIS PERKINS IN DEARLAND

We want to wave our fingers enthusiastically in the direction of a beautiful musical songsmith that we have fallen in love with. Strictly speaking we only write about artists that are a maximum of one album in, as we try to focus exclusively on ‘new music’. However, Elvis’  second album, ‘Elvis Perkins In Dearland‘, is actually his first in this current band under their full name. Elvis Perkins, the solo artist released his debut, ‘Ash Wednesday‘, on his own, hence shoe-horning him into The Recommender. (It’s not like we actually need to make excuses for an artist this good anyway!?) It’s music from the same school as Bon Iver, Bob Dylan, The Band, or Bright Eyes, (or perhaps anyone else beginning with B!? – ed). We took note that he’s also the son of the actor Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates of Psycho fame, but make of that what you will. He crafts wonderful Folk-Rock music of the timeless kind that you feel you always knew, that slowly introduces each instrument as the song comfortably plods along . Melodic and intelligent, it’s like the soundtrack to a good Jeff Bridges movie. It’s written to be taken in pondering doses with coffee in hand on a lazy, thoughtful Sunday. We attach an mp3 and a wonderful video directed by Sean Pecknold, (brother of Robin Pecknold out of Fleet Foxes).

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:        ELVIS PERKINS IN DEARLAND – SHAMPOO (ysi)

CLOCK OPERA

These days getting backed by the white-hot label, Neon Gold, is always bound to prick up the ears of any trendy bloggers. Being showcased at the label’s recent Notting Hill party was a tick in all the right boxes, especially seeing as it was alongside Marina & The Diamonds, plus a DJ set by Frankmusik, with who Clock Opera more than share a sense of bewildering Pop sensibilities. And so with our ears truly pricked, label owners Derek and Lizzie, announced this amazing new act on the scene. Singer, Guy Connelly, has a beautiful drifting voice, full of emotion, that hovers over the chiming, often orchestral Pop backing. Songs build up and tower over you, yet simultaneously seem untouchable, delicate and ethereal. As the beats kick in their true taste for Pop reveals itself, or ‘Chop Pop’, as Neon Gold called it, perhaps referencing it’s samples and claps. That description hides the occasional slow, haunting strings, or ghostly nature of Guys vocals, but Pop it is nonetheless. We list the tune, Once And For All below, as it sounds like the perfect song. Involving, emotive, danceable, catchy and strong. Get ready to spend the rest of your days clock-watching.

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        CLOCK OPERA – ONCE AND FOR ALL (ysi)

HEARTBREAK

It’s always going to help getting yourself on the NME Radar Tour that rolls around each year and it’s during the 2008 merry-go-round that we first got see this London pair live. This followed the notice we had taken of these fella’s remixes of smartly chosen La Roux (attached below), The Presets and Vitallic. All of these were excellent, but more rewards were found once our investigative natures cracked open their box of original material. Classed under Italo-Disco by most, due to the heavy Depeche Mode influences, but we think they’re darker than the phrase Disco suggests, finding more in common with the Electro sounds Midnight Juggernauts provide so well. Creating giant tunes that last for 7 or 8 minutes at a time, they feel like a DJ set. Pair that up with the echoing vocals and their dramatic showmanship and it’s a mesmerising gig should you ever get the chance. Sometimes slowed down (‘Soul Transplant’), it is at its best when its pumped up (‘We’re Back’). If you like your music to be slightly dark, slightly camp, with a fuzzy bassline at the front of everything, then we suggest you get in the queue for this trendy duo now.

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        HEARTBREAK – WE’RE BACK (ysi)
Hear them here:        LA ROUX – IN FOR THE KILL (Heartbreak Remix)      (ysi)

As our nets cast wider and wider around the globe we are able to bring you more and more from the global scenes. Connections are popping up all the time and there’s a buzz in The Recommender office. Pop back real soon for more selected highlights.




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PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS

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CONTRIBUTORS

Mike Bradford (MB) - Creator and Contributor (UK)

Olivia Gable (OG) - Contributor (Austin, USA)

Matt Allfrey (MA) - Contributor (UK)

Natasha Ryan - Photographer (New York, USA)