- Sun, 2008-04-06 15:54
You may have booked your tickets, you might already be wearing your ridiculously over sized sunglasses but… have you put together your summer soundtrack compilation playlist? Perhaps it is a little early, but here at I Like Music we are eager to get underway with the festival season and what better way to begin than with a collection of catchy, indie pop anthems.
Clocks provide the perfect remedy to the festival anticipation fidgets. Having just released their debut single ‘Old Valve Radio' and completed a tour with Scouting For Girls, Clocks look set to bring in the summer in style with sing along 60’s pop and Britpop anthems. We caught up with front man Tom Hewitt to chat about their upcoming headline tour, the debut album and festival anecdotes.
"I Like Music because… there's always a song that sums up how I feel at any given time.” Tom Hewitt, Clocks
ILM: Your debut single 'Old Valve Radio' is out now. Can you describe the track, its vibe and how it came about?
Tom: 'Old Valve Radio' is a stomp-along track in E major with big chords and bittersweet lyrics about life and love for a student. It's a kind of semi-fantastical abstract look back at uni and beyond. I wrote it one evening after being told we needed some more songs.
ILM: You have just completed a tour with Scouting For Girls and you are about to embark on your own headline tour. What do you look forward to most about playing live?
Tom: It's rather fun playing to new people every night; no two crowds are the same. It's great to get a good reaction.
ILM: Do you have any funny anecdotes or stories from being on tour?
Tom: Ed once had to wee in a cup because we got locked on the tourbus by mistake!
ILM: You have just recorded your debut album. What track did you have most fun laying down in the studio?
Tom: There were a few nice moments, particularly in 'Happening To You' we got an almost reversed cymbal effect by attaching tennis balls to the end of the drum sticks first to make soft beaters. A b-side, 'You Just Don't Know' has some percussion in where we all tied bits of wood to our feet and danced around the room.
Tom: You write harmony driven, catchy indie pop. Please describe the Clocks music making process. Lyrics first or melody or random?
Tom: It varies a lot. It can be coming up with chords or a riff on a guitar or piano first, or sometimes I'll sequence some stuff and add real instruments later. I sometimes write directly as a score to start with - it's easier to visualise how everything interacts - the bassline, the vocal harmonies and so on. I'll often get some lyrics and melody down while developing the chords, filling in the rest later. In my experience, the best place to come up with lyrics is in the shower while there's no one else in the house.
ILM: You have a unique art concept for your band - 10 hand painted Russian Dolls that each represent a song on the album. How did all this come about? Which is your favourite doll?
Tom: It's actually more like each song has a scene of dolls associated with it...it was one of those ideas that got thrown around and it just stuck. Pete Fowler did a good job painting the dolls - the smallest ones are VERY small, it must have been very difficult getting all the little intricacies just right. My favourite has to be the largest doll though.
ILM: It's getting nearer to festival season! (woohoo!) Will you be playing any festivals? Do you have any amusing festival stories or personal highlights - either as a band or just as a punter?
Tom: So far we've got the Great Escape in Brighton in our diary (Ocean Rooms, 16 May) and we have, fingers crossed, some more slots to be confirmed soon. We played at Glastonbury last June which was great fun. The highlight has to have been being driven past all the muddy folk on a buggy. It was nice to know we weren't going to be covered in mud until after our performance. We camped there last year too which was a real experience. As ex-Scouts we relished it quite a lot.
ILM: What is in your CD player right now?
Tom: Brendan Benson - 'Lapalco'
ILM: Can you tell us about one of the best gigs you have ever been to as a punter and why? How did that inspire you?
Tom: As a punter...V Festival 2006 was great, particularly enjoyed The Magic Numbers and Bloc Party.
Tom Hewitt – Vocals/Guitar/Keys, Ed Hilliam – Vocals/Guitar, John Ricketts - Bass , Rich Farris – Drums