Interview: Upbringing: Clean Cut Kid

Upbringing: Clean Cut Kid

Liverpool newcomers prepare for DIY Presents’ Community gig by telling us about their musical upbringing.

Clean Cut Kid are barely out the pram, but the Liverpool four-piece have already stamped their trade on all sparks, excitable pop. Debut single ‘Vitamin C’ found them in full-blown excitable mode, bringing early Haim and Fleetwood Mac comparisons. Since then, they’ve added more shades to their trade, from ‘Jean’’s bittersweet pulse to the big-thinking ’20 Years From Now’.

On Wednesday (4th November), the Polydor signings play one of their first London headline shows for DIY Presents at new festival Community. Instead of giving them the usual introduction, we decided to ask the group about their musical upbringing; the highs, lows and pivotal moments of their early days. Elevyn Halls provides the answers.

Get tickets for Clean Cut Kid, April Towers, NGOD and Miamigo at London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen here.

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What was the first gig you ever went to?

Evelyn Halls: Funeral For a Friend, when I was around thirteen in Middlesbrough Town Hall. I think someone like Fightstar supported.

Can you remember the first song you ever developed an obsession over?

EH: I remember being obsessed with a tape I got when I was about seven called ‘This is Disco’. No idea what was on it ,but I played that tape to death! Actually, maybe I’ve blocked it out…

What was the first song you purchased with your own money, and why did you choose it at the time?

EH: It was probably something awful and Nu Metal-ey… because I was awful and into Nu Metal!

What’s the story behind you getting your first instruments?

EH: A lady called Mrs Dutton came into our school and did all these tests with us. One of which was walking around the gym hall and then measuring our hands. All the time she was watching us quietly and writing notes. Then we had to hold different instruments and at the end of the day she handed some kids a letter to give to our parents. It basically said we’d been chosen to learn a stringed instrument. I took my cello home one week later and was hooked.

What’s your worst musical habit?

EH: Probably playing by ear rather than thinking harmonically when I’m working things out on piano.

What was the first album you ever bought with your own money, and why?

EH: I think I was eight and it was Whitney Houston ‘My Love Is Your Love’. I thought she was amazing. I had a fascination with her voice but also thought she was the most beautiful woman alive. I really liked her outfit on the front cover too. She was wearing a black mini jumper type dress and knee high leather boots. Bang on trend!

What kind of inspirations outside of music have an impact on your songwriting?

EH: Mostly interactions with people and watching things happen in their lives from the sidelines. Mike definitely gets inspired by things going on around us in our lives, he’d never reveal what his songs are about but he tells me sometimes. There’s one that’s about people really close to us, but they’ll never know. If Mike Halls writes a song about you it means something’s really touched him about your situation. He manages to do it so subtly yet so profound. He’s a genius.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a musician?

EH: Stick to your own style. Don’t let nailing the technique mean that you lose your unique sound. It’s way better to stand out because you’re different than blend in because you’re safe and normal.

If you could be any band from the past two decades who would it be, and why?

EH: Arcade Fire. They look like they have the best time and they’ve got this massive family vibe going on. It seems like this untouchable bunch of runaways from the circus and I bet it’s a boss feeling being part of that.