CLOWNS – “We Want to Party With You all!”

Canio from Pagliacci, Emmett Kelly, John Wayne Gacy, Pennywise, Ronald, Doink, Krusty, The subject of that famous sad painting and Peter Mellor.

All can lay claim to being clowns of some persuasion or another.
Which is fine and dandy just like sour candy – unless you are suffering from coulrophobia – the fear of clowns, which for some reason a lot of people say they are these days.

Now I’ve always been of the opinion that the fear of clowns is more of a cultural phenomenon than say an actual phobia for most – I remember going to the circus as a child and seeing clowns – and the only people I remember running out from under the bigtop were my sister and I to ask Mum (who sat in the car) for more snow cone and Pluto pup money. For the record, the circus is rubbish. (I won tickets for sitting up the straightest in a school assembly -not very Punk Rock, but hey I was 7.)

Greasepaint, icy treats and deep fried-named-after-indecisive-space- rock-novelty-fairground snacks aside, a new breed of Clowns have been taking the stage and making people crap their pants with excitement, energy, and heavy riffage instead of fear! (I’m making an assumption here)

I typed to Jake Laderman – Drummer of Melbourne’s punk rock tour de force CLOWNS – before the band bring their Running Through These Veins tour through our fine city on the 23rd of May.

Heya Jake!
You guys recorded the new album Bad Blood at Hothouse with Jez Giddings and Craig Harnath, what was different this time around recording with them as opposed to recording with Lindsay Gravina?

The main difference would have been that we went into the studio for 10 days straight this time round, as opposed to recording an album over two years! I’m Not Right was a compilation of songs that we had written over our first three or so years, so we recorded it slowly as the songs were written.
Hothouse felt like a bit more of a playground for rock musicians, they have INCREDIBLE gear and equipment there. We went nuts on guitars and effects. Craig and Jez made it all a fun/laid back time! It was certainly a much different studio experience from anything we’d done before.

Did Craig and Jez’s work on Straightjacket Nation and Bloody Hammer albums influence your decision to work with them, was their something on those albums that stood out to you that you wanted to emulate?

Funny you say that, it totally influenced our decision. We were really trying to find our middle ground of a raw, yet quality produced record – Cheap Kicks by Straightjacket Nation is a hardcore punk masterpiece and is a sound that we felt would compliment the songs we had written.
We even spent a single day in the studio a couple of months before recording the whole record, just to see how the production would turn out. This was for our track Dead In The Suburbs and we were very satisfied with the result!

The Bad Blood album cover is by Steve Cohen, where did the inspiration come from?

Steve is a long time friend of ours, he’s been printing our shirts since day one – and often in near impossible time frames too, he works very very hard.
As well as being the Melbourne go-to for quality screen printing for most bands, Steve is also a super respected artist within the punk community in Melbourne. He’s drawn art for a lot of greats. I guess we have always admired his art and because he is a friend, it seemed only right to use art that is close to home. Bad Blood is a record that follows the theme of home/where we grew up. It was also recorded, mixed, mastered and released in Melbourne to keep to this theme.

Was there a conscious effort to progress sonically or did it happen organically?

I’d say a little bit of both. We’re always striving to try and do new things/experiment with sounds in our writing. We definitely wanted to cover new ground, that’s for sure – but I’d say that organically we ended up writing songs based around new influences. I swear we’re all influenced by a new sound or band every week! There’s too much good shit out there.

The intro on Human Error reminds me a little of Ceremony or Nightbirds are you guys fans?

Big fans of both! Absolutely hanging for Nightbirds to tour Australia, it’s gotta happen soon.

The album really has a variation of songs and amongst the heavy and the fast stuff – on songs like Never Enough, Euthanise Me and Bad Blood there are some killer power pop melodies poking through as well, you’d have to agree it’s a very well rounded album, were you guys happy with the outcome? If you could change one thing what would it be?

Very stoked on the album, we worked hard to make it right and I feel as though we accomplished what we set out to do. Dunno if I’d change anything, it feels right! Maybe more cowbell?

Songs like Bad Blood, Figure it Out and Dead in the Suburbs remind me very much of growing up in Western Sydney and the feelings I had which led me to Punk in the first place.
Where did you grow up and what was it like?

We all grew up in the Bayside area, the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, south of the Yarra River. It more often than not has the reputation for being a wealthy part of the city, but I guess growing up there allowed us to see differently. It has it’s own underbelly amongst youth – I don’t know what it is about wealthy private school kids carrying around box cutters on the trains? Stupid.
It was definitely a fun place to grow up, but now that we’re a little older, we like to get the fuck out of the dead social/music scene that is the south side.

It Stops With You is a big middle finger to all the racists out there, what other issues is the band passionate about?

We’re not an overly preachy band, I’d say most of our songs are personal to us and aren’t necessarily trying to send a message. Human Error is a track against police brutality, which stemmed from an unlawful encounter one of our friends had with the cops. Aside from that track and It Stops With You, I generally like to consider us a feel-good band, encouraging the listener to enjoy themselves – not take on our world’s problems.
Maybe one day we will broaden our song topics from just skateboarding and other stupid stuff haha.

Please don’t! Human Terror is an absolute epic, what was it like recording such a long track?

That song was mega fun to write and record. I guess it didn’t feel too different from recording a normal track, it was all written and ready to go just like the others, but it was definitely stylistically different and new from anything we had done.
Incorporating a didgeridoo into it was a weird, but incredibly cool element to add to the song. I had no idea they could sound so fucking evil! Haha. I remember recording this song was just really exciting for all of us. We were pissing ourselves laughing at the idea of how people would interpret it, totally not what most would expect from a Clowns track. I guess now that people have heard it, I guess it doesn’t feel too foreign anymore, but I hope we’ve given people the idea that they can expect anything from us.. Just wait til you hear the next record haha.

The tour is huge, what bands are you really looking forward too seeing and playing with a long the way? Who should we be looking out for?

I’m really pumped about some of the support bands. Tanned Christ are playing with us in Canberra, who I love. Perfect math-core kinda stuff. Plus it they have Drew from Totally Unicorn as their frontman, winner.
We’re playing with our buddies Beaver in Adelaide, they kick ass. Hostile Objects are playing the Wollongong show, also rad. There’s too many to list.. all killer.
I think mainly we’re all excited about hitting the road with Summer Blood for the whole tour (except Cairns haha), they’re our best buds and they absolutely rip.

Do you guys think it is important to visit regional areas and why?

It’s totally important to hit regional areas. Sometimes, having grown up in Melbourne, you can forget just how good we actually have it. Our music scene is second to none and I pretty much spend every weekend doing the same thing – going to shows.
There are music lovers everywhere, not just city-slickers, and I think what can make a show really special is how much punters can appreciate the show. If you’re from a regional area, without many opportunities for live music – it just makes it all the more exciting when something or someone great rolls into town. People get PUMPED, and as a performer it’s easy to vibe off that when you’re playing. It’s fun. Plus we just love seeing new places all the time, honestly – it’s probably my favourite part about touring.

You guys are on the move quite a lot as a band, is it hard to maintain a personal life?

Playing in a highly active band certainly isn’t for everyone. There literally isn’t an hour of my day that something band related isn’t on my mind. We’ve been doing this for five years now, and it has definitely taken a stranglehold on personal relationships within and outside of the band.
Band members have came and then left, relationships with girlfriends and friends have been lost.. Often it can be hard to have quality family time. We’re blessed to be surrounded by such supportive people in our lives really. It’s a demanding thing to do! But you have to do it because you love it.
Herny and I are lucky to work within family businesses with a lot of flexibility. Steve is often between jobs, it’s hard to keep them when you’re away a lot. Somebody hire him!

What does the future hold for CLOWNS?

More music, more tours, new places, new friends and great times. Onwards and upwards!

Anything you’d like to say to the Cairns punters?

We want to party with you all! Let’s do this Cairns!

23rd ‘o’ May CLOWNS play Garageland @ The Grand Hotel as part of their Running Through These Veins 2015 Tour. Supported by Odius, Meat Bikini, Jobstopper and Hungry Lungs.

Presale Tickets are available at Cellarbrations Liquor outlets in the City, Brinsmead and Forest Gardens for $10. Grab yours today!

Online tickets can be purchased at the following link.
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/clowns-running-through-these-veins-tour-cairns-2015-tickets-16517008818

$15 on the door – if there’s any left!

Get amongst it Cairns,
If this goes off and we all get behind it, there will be more awesome tours to come!
Catch you in the drive-thru!
Love Dozer 😉

(While writing this I found out why that clown is sad in that painting – see Hartford Circus Fire… Oh man.. try to have a nice day.)

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