Clean Cut Kid: "I’m looking forward to the record showing people what we really are"

Neu Clean Cut Kid: “I’m looking forward to the record showing people what we really are”

Despite their fair share of hiccups and hurdles, this Liverpudlian quartet are planning for 2016 to be their year.

Liverpool’s Clean Cut Kid have had their fair share of adversity to contend with. During soundcheck for their Brandon Flowers’ support slot at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in November, frontman Mike Halls fell off the stage – breaking both elbows in the process. “I played the gig with two broken arms,” he recalls. “Then I had five days off in which I recorded two or three demos for the label while my arms were in slings. Then we went on a twenty-date tour with Shura… So even with two broken radius bones we still didn’t slow down!”

That wasn’t all. Rather than worry their fans, they decided to keep the injuries to themselves; Mike would slip his arms out of 90 degree slings before going on stage each night. It was, as he admits, “hardcore”.

Trouble arose again before they appeared on Radio 1’s Live Lounge in January. Mike woke up two days earlier – on the day assigned to get the cover together – “completely deaf in one ear.” He was in a private ear surgery at 9am on the morning of the performance. “I had this inner middle ear film thing that they had to take off. I was driving to the clinic like ‘Why do I need this today?! We’re about to play live on Radio 1!’” he remembers, laughing.

These have merely been blips in an otherwise exhilarating past year or so for the band. Last spring they signed to a major label after their second ever gig. They headlined the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds, and supported everyone from the aforementioned Brandon Flowers, to Circa Waves, Years & Years, Rat Boy and Shura.

Despite such a crazy, whirlwind 2015, it hasn’t been case of overnight success for Clean Cut Kid. Before the band, Mike spent ten years as a session guitarist and working with many different bands and artists. Mike and Evelyn – who are now married – met around three years ago.

He was writing for one of his best friends and Evelyn happened to be singing on the project. “I just told him that I fancied her basically and he just set us up on a date” he recalls. “Our first date was the Blur gig at the end of Olympic show - the Hyde Park thing – so I came down on the train to London and we watched Bombay Bicycle Club and Blur.” Gradually they started working on music together.

"I was driving to the clinic like ‘Why do I need this today?! We’re about to play live on Radio 1!’”

— Mike Halls

Now, with all the pieces finally in place, Mike hopes that 2016 will be the year that more people get the full Clean Cut Kid picture. “I think we were never going to be a band that people just got” he admits. “People hear the sound of our songs and then check the band out and just go like ‘what the hell! Why do these guys look like this?’”

It’s the release of their debut album that he thinks will clarify any confusion. “The consistency there across the whole record conveys the whole message of the band rather than people making snap judgements about a single.” Arcade Fire are the band he uses as a prime example. “If they just released ‘Wake Up’ then you’d be like, ‘OK this is going to be some kind of anthemic, American version of Coldplay or whatever’ but obviously it’s nothing like that… I’m looking forward to the record showing people what we really are.”

Photo: Emma Swann.

Tags: Clean Cut Kid, Features, Interviews, Neu

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