How Clowns’ punk presence spread across the globe

How Clowns’ punk presence spread across the globe

Words by Saskia Morrison-Thiagu

Clowns are no laughing matter. They have a huge following in Australia and across the world.

With the release of their new album Nature/Nurture and a massive world tour already kicking off, they are making huge waves in the punk scene.

Clowns have been gallivanting the music scene for a while now, but with each album comes a new direction and their new album is not like its predecessors. “Regardless of what we do, we are always trying to do a new thing. Incorporating different writing styles and vocal techniques,” says Clowns drummer Jake Laderman. “The record has elements of all three of our previous records.”

This differs to their last album, Lucid Again, which deviated from their distinctive hardcore sound, and instead captured the true DIY style of punk music.

“Our Lucid Again record was definitely a sharp left turn for us. We did a lot of different things on that record; incorporated a lot of different sounds. I feel like this new record has a lot more of a classic Clowns sound to it. A little more on the raucous side.”

Those that have listened to Clowns’ first couple of albums will know that Nature/Nurture pilfers elements of I’m Not Right (2013) and Bad Blood (2015), without sounding too familiar.

Punk continues to be the pulse of Melbourne’s music scene. It may never be mainstream, but it’s not punk to be regular or standard. Laderman agrees. “I don’t think being punk is a detriment to itself. I feel like in Melbourne there is a pretty thriving punk scene.”

The punk genre is stronger than ever in Australia and it’s equally adored in Europe, something which has significantly profited Clowns’ international profile.

“We wouldn’t expect anyone to know who we are over there [in Europe]. It’s really flattering and great. Particularly, some spots in Germany. It’s a really surreal feeling.”

Thanks to the internet, there are now more avenues than ever for local bands to communicate with international music-lovers and music professionals overseas – something else that Clowns can be thankful for.

“Spotify has really revolutionised everything. You can find yourself in a German punk rock playlist and now there are 50,000 people who are hearing your songs just because they are listening to it [the playlist].”

Clowns are not just one of the hottest bands on the stage but also off it, recently collaborating Punk Rock Peppers on a new hot sauce. The hot sauce, aptly titled ‘May I Be Extinguished?’, has a similar name to the track from Nature/Nurture titled, ‘May I Be Exhumed?’. Both have been scorching hits.

“It was meant to be a pre-ordered piece of merch,” says Laderman. “Little did we know it was actually going to be good.” Good meaning award-winning – May I Be Extinguished? won first prize in the Tabasco category at the 2019 Mr Chilli Hot Sauce Awards competition in New South Wales.

Clowns are currently on the first leg of their Australian/world tour. The last time they toured was in October 2018. “We are just excited to be on tour again, it feels like it’s been a really long time,” says Laderman.

Clowns are also excited to be heading back to Europe, despite the adversity they faced on their last journey. Touring can bring with it unanticipated surprises but for this Melbourne outfit, misfortune came far sooner than expected.

“We drove about maybe 50 metres out of the airport and the sliding door on our van literally fell off,” says Laderman. Luckily, a nice European resident managed to screw the door back on with a special Allen key. “Except two minutes after that, we pull onto the highway and we crash into a pole. Our van was fucked pretty much.”

Let’s hope Clowns don’t experience any more funny business on their upcoming tour.

Clowns launch Nature/Nurture at Max Watt’s on Saturday June 22. Grab your tickets via the venue website.