Saturday, 2 January 2021

 

How did ‘The Clockworks’ get started?

Well myself, James McGregor and Sean Connelly, (singer and guitarist in the band), we all went to the same Secondary School. Sean and I were in the same year. I knew him first and we were friends since 1st year. James had been writing music for, I don’t even know how long, but he had started off writing poems and then worked on turning them into songs so eventually he and Sean started playing music together. Sean had been in a metal band around that time but he was playing drums so he decided to take up guitar for the band. Then they started writing songs and they needed a drummer. Sean asked me purely because I had shown a bit of interest in playing drums so when I started going on 16/17 they began asking me to go and practice with them. Tom who’s our bass player joined later whilst in Galway, studying in N.U.I.G.

Is it true that The Clockworks are signed to Alan McGee’s label, Creation23?

We are yeah which is absolutely mental! When we were living in Galway, we used to watch Oasis documentaries and he would be popping up and we read his book and everything. He was just this figure in music and he was always respected and admired but we never thought we would be signed to him. Sean had seen an interview with Alan in the NME and the interviewer asked him “what’s the best way to get in touch with you?” and he said “just send me a message on Instagram”. At this stage we had probably sent him about 50 messages on different social media channels but Sean sent him an Instagram message and he heard our song and he liked it. I get a message saying he was going to come and see us in the rehearsal room so get over here now. So he came to the rehearsal room and we didn’t have a gig lined up since we were just there and we thought he would stay for a song or two but he stayed for a whole set and for another hour or two after that. Before he left he said there was no waiting around and he wanted us.

Who are the drummers that have influenced and inspired you the most?

Sean was probably my first influence because as I said he played in a metal band and I’d remember he would bring his drums anytime they did music practice. He would play them all through lunchtime. I remember I used to be more than happy spending my lunchtimes watching him play. That’s what initially got me interested in playing the drums. It just seemed so cool and fun. After I started playing in the band I got into other bands. I started getting into Matt Helders, from the Arctic Monkeys. I just remember listening to every album especially the first two from a drumming perspective. I just thought there was something so gritty but you could still dance to them.  I always liked Matt Tong, drummer with Bloc Party. He was their original drummer and again just the same thing, they always picked the right beat. It’s always just right, does exactly what feels right and I think that’s the most important thing. An Irish drummer that influenced me was Miche├íl Quinn, Meltybrains? and Dermot Kennedy. I never got to see Meltybrains? live but I just remember watching whatever videos they had online because I just thought he was a fantastic drummer.

What are you currently listening to?

It’s a weird time because just out of boredom I’m listening to anything and everything. One of the most recent that I’ve really liked is Michael Kiwanuka. Probably one of my favourite albums ever is A Grand Don’t Come for Free by The Streets. I just really love, not necessarily the concept but I just thought the way he did that album was so different. Each song has its own story but yet all songs together are the full story and  you don’t need to listen to it all to understand it or appreciate it but if you do it makes it that bit better. I’ve always loved that one. I think that the way we operate and what they did on that album is that the music should tell the story along with the lyrics. It should add to it. We are writing music for the score of a film. What story we are trying to tell for a particular song is how we approach it.


What’s next on the horizon?

Hopefully get back gigging towards the end of summer but that depends on Covid-19. What we are definitely going to do is to keep recording and releasing music. We have a song already recorded that we are hoping to release in February 2021. We are just going to keep releasing singles for the time being and then as soon as gigs start back up we will be ready to go. We are not going to waste a second!  We have been in London coming up on 2 years now and that’s where we spend most of our days,

What advice would you give someone starting out in music?

That’s a good one. I would say try getting around with other people and when you can try just gig as much as possible. I was thrown in at the deep end a bit in terms of learning how to play drums. While I was playing gigs and when you are on stage and you make a mistake, you make sure you don’t make it twice because you don’t want to be up there in a room full of people not being able to play a song and that’s how I kind of learned. I think you learn quicker if you throw yourself in at the deep end and I think it’s important to play with other musicians because again if you play by yourself in a room you’re just playing a chord or 2 but if you bring other musicians along to play in a room with you, you’d be surprised at how different it is because you have to kind of feel it with 3 or 4 other people. I think it’s important to play music with other people.

Your recent singles “Can I speak to a Manager?” and “Enough is Never Enough” got huge coverage. You must have been delighted with that response!

Both of them got a great response and a lot of radio plays here in Ireland which we love. Just because we moved to London doesn’t mean we want to stop making moves here in Ireland. We still want to make an impression here. Dan Hegarty (Radio Presenter) has been great to us and also Annie Mac (BBC Radio).  We’re delighted with it because when you choose a song to release, you obviously choose the one that you think is the best at the time. You never know how it’s going to be received. We’re very lucky and grateful for how people received it.

Covid-19 has had such a huge impact on everyone. How have you managed to cope?

We definitely took things for granted but to be honest we have been lucky as we all live in the same house so we have still been able to practice and record in the studio just because we haven’t been putting anyone at risk by doing those things. That’s been very lucky for us. I think the biggest thing is how much we miss doing gigs which isn’t that surprising I guess but I’ve really missed being able to go to a venue and just even the small things. I’ve been
missing every part of it.