The Great Escape: Clean Cut Kid Interview
Clean Cut Kid are the band on everyone’s lips at the moment, we caught up with them prior to their show-stopping set at The Great Escape to discuss SXSW to Spring King and everything in between.
So how are you finding the festival so far?
We’ve just got here literally half an hour ago but we’re excited.
Is there anyone you’re looking forward to seeing throughout the weekend?
We’re looking forward to Shura tonight. We’re going to try and see Muna too but we have to shoot off after the gig. You guys should definitely see them on Saturday night.
We actually saw you supporting Shura in Hove last year, how is it to be back here?
Everytime we come to Brighton it’s the best night ever. It’s cool, we absolutely love it here.
What did you think of the venue? (The Old Market)
It’s been newly kitted out with a big high stage now. That kind of layout is a bit like being at The O2 in the sense that it can be difficult but it was cool. We haven’t been gigging that long but Shura’s crowd felt the most similar to our own and everyone was loving it and really focused on getting into the music.
Do you think the time slot you play at festivals can affect the crowd mentality or do you find the crowds you attract are the same, no matter what time you play?
That’s an interesting question actually. We just played SXSW and it was the first festival we’d been to where they had that reverse headline slot going on. They’d have a band like Everything Everything on at 1pm and then all the other bands followed after that and they’d have John Legend on. For me it switched the whole vibe of the festival, because normally you’ll work towards the end of the night and everything up until that won’t be as important. It’s the headliners that everyone seems to be excited for mostly.
I hate that it makes bands, who play earlier on, feel less special, whereas at SXSW you have this feeling that no matter where you are or whatever time it is – it feels dead equal and you can just stumble across a band at 2pm or, when we were playing at 4pm. It always felt just as exciting as a band playing across town at 5pm. It was just amazing, it was a really cool vibe and I think it would be good if there was more of that in festivals but I’m not sure how they could change that.
You really feel the different crowds, festival by festival. We just played Live At Leeds and it’s one of those old school city festivals, like this one, where everyone’s just up for it and that’s cool. We’re dead excited about The Great Escape though.
Do American crowds give off a different kind of vibe compared to British crowds?
We did CMJ festival in November last year and it was very New York and cool, you just had all these hypey venues kinda happening and it was in little pockets. SXSW was unique and you can’t really judge it, there were people everywhere just floating around and you don’t really know if they are there to watch you or just walking by.
The thing about live music is that it’s impossible to capture three quarters of the magic of it. You can find these people and watch videos of them but it’s hard to see how they really engage with their audience unless you’re there. That’s the thing about SXSW, there was no bollocks, there was no time for anybody to hide behind production. There were little stages and they were stripped back so everybody had to give their best and that’s cool. We love SXSW.
Would you say that people know of you more in Liverpool, where you’re from?
Yeah, the main thing in Liverpool is that people buy into the words and lyrics a lot more, so when we play there we’ll play a lot of the B sides. People will shout for ‘Jean’ and ’20 Years From Now’ and the songs where they know the story. They buy into that and they want to hear the story and that’s a Liverpool thing. It’s like the roots of pop music almost. Sometimes with festivals it’s almost tempting not to do an ‘all hits’ set and you want to throw those songs in where you want to actually say something.
Do you have anymore festivals coming up this summer and if so, which ones are you looking forward to playing the most?
We’ve got about thirty-one coming up. About a third of them we haven’t even announced yet. We’ve just put a poster on our Twitter page with all the dates on and there’s three dates that have been left off there that haven’t been announced yet. We’ve got Reading and Leeds again this year, we’re on the Festival Republic stage and that’s with a lot of bands that we really love like Spring King. Then we’ve got Latitude, which will be a good one because it was our first festival last year and now we’re coming back and headlining The Lake Stage. That’s a big leap because we played the DIY stage, which was a small tent and now we’re headlining a bigger stage and it’s all thanks to Huw Stephens because he’s curating that. So thanks to Huw for that!
Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you, enjoy the rest of the weekend, it’s been a pleasure!
Lauren Wade and Glenn Houlihan