Live Review & Interview: His Clancyness
Somethingyousaid’s Carol Bowditch strengthens the Brighton and Bologna music scene bond with His Clancyness.
There are few things that lure me out on a Sunday, especially as my first European autumn feels more like the worst day of winter back at home in Sydney. However, it was my duty to check out His Clancyness, a Canadian slash Italian outfit that a new friend from Bologna had raved about. This friend kept going on about a musical connection between Bologna (the band’s current point of base) and Brighton (my current point of base), lacing his hands together to symbolise this bond. I had to honour this, so I rugged up and found myself at the local rock’n’rollery, a place with quite possibly the best name for a dive, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar (why not?) to check out His Clancyness.
The band played a charming set on a fucking freezing Sunday night to a packed room of enthusiastic punters. The gig acted as an exposé of their newest material taken from their record, Vicious, with the set including numbers like ‘Gold Diggers’ and ‘Slash the Night’. With lo-fi musical aesthetics nodding to garage artists like Modern Lovers, Deerhunter and Women, the live performance was supplemented by frontman Johnny Clancy, who seems to have honed his stage presence and vocal trickery to mimic that of a Richard Hell. His impressive performance was met with a perfect fusing of synths, subtle female harmonies and excellent precision of percussion.
After the gig, as Johnny and his bandmates made their way north to Glasgow, we got together via the internet for a little interview:
After signing with Fat Cat Records, a Brighton-based label, how might you compare the music scene there to your current hometown of Bologna?
On a smaller scale, from what I can tell it’s sort of similar. Small city, ton of kids, venues to play and a general inclination towards art. That can never be a bad thing. Brighton is lucky to be close to a lot of other great places. Bologna is not, that’s the main difference.
As His Clancyness was previously a solo act, did you find the process of recording the newest record, ‘Vicious’, easier, or more challenging now that you are working with a full band?
A bit harder cause it was double work. I demoed all the songs by myself and then the others learned their parts and we changed some stuff around. It was pretty effortless though. I was worried but the others understood right away the mood I was going for.
Do you remain with the creative control behind the music and lyrics or is it more of a collaborative effort between yourself and your band-mates now that you are working as a unit?
Well we will see from the next LP. I’m excited to start working especially with Jacob our drummer. I think we can go in quite a few directions. Giulia who plays keys and synth has always been sort of a spiritual guidance in His Clancyness. I like tight units.
I liked that you were selling printed denim jackets and zines within your selection of merch at the Brighton gig. Do you think it is important for a band to explore different creative outputs through art and fashion as well as through their music?
I think it’s important to remember that music is art and not only for Facebook posts. We love thinking about artwork and weird merch just for the fun of it. Sometimes we lose money on our crazy ideas but at the end of the day it enriches us. That’s what we are in it for. Experiencing new things and living life as much as possible. I love the idea of giving the listener a world to crawl into and I think the zines, the artwork, the jackets, the visuals on a certain level can do that.
You’ve spent the last few weeks touring England, how have you been spending your free time? What has been your favourite memory so far from your travels on this tour?
It’s been fairly easy, drives aren’t long so we got to hang out in a few cities, especially Oxford, Glasgow and Liverpool. Highlight so far has been seeing the beach in Crosby, near Liverpool. A breezy day.
Who have you been listening to while on tour?
Poor Things from Glasgow were a good band. We’ve been listening to so much stuff in the van: Soft Boys, Congos, Minor Threat, The Vaselines, The Feelies, Joanna Gruesome, Elliott Smith, Adolescents, Darkside, Sonic Youth and the list could go on forever.
Finally, you’ve lived and traveled all around the world, have you ever consider taking His Clancyness to Australia?
I have, I always think about it. Please make it happen. We promise good things.
His Clancyness have a slew of upcoming gigs, see if they are playing in your city below, or simply keep up to date with them here, via their website or have a listen to their tunes here at their bandcamp page.
Feb 10 Orangerie/Botanique w/ Maximo Park, Brussels, Belgium
Feb 11 Melkweg w/ Maximo Park, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Feb 12 Docks w/ Maximo Park,Hamburg, Germany
Feb 13 Huxleys w/ Maximo Park, Berlin, Germany
Feb 14 Monarch Berlin, Germany
Feb 15 Flex w/ Maximo Park, Vienna, Austria
Feb 16 Tunnel w/ Maximo Park, Milano, Italy
Feb 17 Lochness Pub, Riva Del Garda Tn, Italy
Feb 18 Theaterfabrik w/ Maximo Park, Munich, Germany
Feb 19 Live Music Hall w/ Maximo Park, Cologne, Germany
Feb 22 La Maroquinerie w/ Maximo Park, Paris, France
Feb 23 CPCR Liege, Belgium
Feb 24 Rockhal w/ Maximo Park, Luxembourg
Feb 25 Mascotte w/ Maximo Park, Zurich, Switzerland
Mar 21 Urban Perugia, Italy
Mar 29 Interzona Verona, Italy