Five Minutes with Clowns
The Melbourne hardcore-punkers chat about their endless tour and drunken piercings.
Building a reputation for themselves off the back of a relentless tour schedule, blue-collar work ethic and a borderline psychotic live show, Melbourne-based hardcore-punk outfit Clowns are rapidly ascending the punk food chain. We caught up with drummer Jake Laderman to chat about the four-piece’s breakout year and how the boys plan on sending 2015 off with a bang.
For those that aren't too familiar with Clowns' sound, how would you best describe it?
I guess it’s just loud, fast, noisy, rock and roll, hardcore punk sorta stuff.
What are you guys all about?
For us as people we're just like every other musician that wants to have fun and travel and stuff like that. I guess our aim is to just fuckin' have a lot of fun and give people crazy shows.
You guys released album number #2 in Bad Blood earlier this year and it's an absolute belter, how proud are you guys of the record?
We're really stoked with that record, especially in comparison to everything we've ever done. We just worked really hard on it and there were a lot of friendships that were tested and we had a pretty tough time all agreeing on how everything should be, but we basically set a deadline for when we were gonna stop writing and whatever we had at that stage was what we were going to record. And I think in the time frame that we had we managed to create something that were all pretty stoked on, so yeah, we're really proud of it.
You recently toured the states and played some pretty huge shows, including Riotfest, how did it go? Were you well received over there?
Yeah, yeah, it was really great! Playing Riotfest was a bit of a dream come true. It was probably the first like, bigger festival that we've done in a westernised country. We've done other festivals in some Asian countries and stuff, which was mind-blowing, but it was just cool to play alongside some really big names. We got to meet a lot of people and just had a pretty damn good time.
Sounds huge! Which other acts did you share the line-up with?
Motorhead, Tenacious D, Ice Cube, The Prodigy…it was one of those festivals that's kinda got something for everybody. I feel like American festivals are pretty much like the Big Day Out on crack because they just have an absurd amount of huge names. I guess the idea of bringing bands out to Australia is a lot more expensive, but because most of the big names are already in America they can afford to put on this insane line-up. I think over the weekend there were like 150-plus bands or something like that, so it's pretty crazy.
I know there’s an old saying - ‘what happens on tour stays on tour’, but do you think you could give us one of Clowns’ best tour stories from 2015 so far?
There's only really one I can think of that springs right to mind. We hadn't even actually started the tour yet, it was just my first night in Los Angeles. I'd just landed and our manager Glen was there, and we just pretty much did a lot of 'stuff' and got into a state where it probably wasn't good for us to be in public, and went to The Rainbow. There's probably a lot that I shouldn't go into and a lot that's pretty inappropriate, but I will say that we got very, very drunk and ended up with drug dealers at our house cutting up drugs on the table and stuff like that, then when we woke up in the morning we had a few things stolen from our apartment and I also had my nose pierced, and I really didn't know how that happened.
Keeping on the subject of touring, you head out across Australia at the end of October for the ‘Never Enough’ dates, what number tour is that this year?
I think it's our third headline Australian tour. We did two tours of the states and one tour of China. We've got another support tour which we haven't announced yet for the end of the year which is gonna be a really good one…so yeah, it's been a really busy year and it's been great.
Are you sick of playing shows yet? I know the name of the next tour is 'Never Enough', but surely you're looking forward to putting the feet up and having a break?
You know, we all enjoy having a break every now and then, but to be honest it's just onward and upward really, it's just so much fun. It's pretty much just want we wanna do and it's pretty much all we do, so it's good that we've got friends in every bloody city and it's just cool to do the rounds and see them all the time and have fun and drink and whatever.
Let’s go back 15 or so years, if we open up your CD player what are we most likely to find on rotation?
I think the first CD I remember owning was the single for Bon Jovi's It's My Life, and I had that in my walkman for a long time. I think you might find some Blink-182 in there as well. The first good record that I listened to, well, what I think is a good record was probably Frenzal Rhomb, A Man Is Not A Camel or Sans Souci or something like that. That was probably one of the first records and one that I still listen to today that I'm very much into, but yeah, there'd be a whole bunch of crap otherwise.
Who would you say has been the most important Australian band, past or present, to our country’s hardcore and punk scene?
I'll say two, one past and one present. I recently listened to a podcast of Gordy Forman from Frenzal and I got a bit more of a history about the touring they did and how hard they worked and stuff like that. Obviously they were very successful and signed to a good label, but the amount of effort that they put in…none of them had jobs, they were just pretty much road-dogs and they were living on floors for a very long time and just trying to make ends meet. So again I guess Frenzal is very close to me, personally. So they're probably the past band, back in the 90s rippin' it up. And for now I'd say probably King Parrot and The Smith Street band, I couldn't really pick one. I know they're very different but they both work very hard, and I can really appreciate anyone that just fucking gives it their all and just lays it all on the line, so any band that is kickin’ ass like they are, that's just fuckin' awesome.
You guys have earnt yourselves a reputation as having a pretty gnarly live show, how do you manage to keep the energy levels up when you're out on stage losing your shit night after night?
It definitely get harder as you go, the more dates you have and the less sleep you have you obviously get tired, but yeah, I don't know. You definitely vibe off a crowd, or even if there isn't a crowd you've got to just, this is going to sound really cheesy, but you have to just lose it and disconnect from how you're feeling and just listen to the music and get into it. Sometimes it's really easy because if a show is going to be really good you just vibe on it, but yeah, you've just got to fucking go for it you know, you find a way.
What can people expect to see when they make it out to a Clowns show?
Usually a lot of bodies flying through the crowd, a lot of sweat, and a lot of…hopefully not broken glass, but usually broken glass, and yeah, just plenty of positive vibes.
Can you describe your band in a word?
TOUR DATES (click the poster for tickets):