We spoke to vocalist and guitarist Jack Summers about the band’s headline show at Max Watt’s for RISING festival.
Melbourne trio CLAMM just wrapped up a run of five shows across three days supporting The Chats at Croxton Bandroom. This string of performances is a good warm-up for the band’s upcoming show at Max Watt’s as part of RISING festival.
“This is definitely our biggest show,” says CLAMM’s guitarist and vocalist, Jack Summers. “We did two shows at the Curtin [in February]. They were both sold out, but capacity was slightly different. It’s a really good lineup at Max Watt’s. It’s a big and loud room.”
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Summers formed CLAMM with drummer Miles Harding in 2019. The two had previously performed together in the bands Dragoons and Gamjee, but decided to form a new band after Summers started writing a bunch of heavier and angrier material.
Beseech Me, CLAMM’s debut album, came out in January 2020. Along with Motor City punk riffs and Harding’s strapping assault of the drum kit, Summers’ hoarse yelp forms a major part of the band’s sonic identity.
Beseech Me presented CLAMM as one of the most potent young punk bands in the country, but the timing of its release wasn’t opportune given the COVID lockdowns kicked in just six weeks later.
That said, 2020 wasn’t a total washout for CLAMM. While Beseech Me had initially been an independent release, it was recently picked up by UK punk label Meat Machine Records, a subsidiary of Tin Angel Records.
“Getting that record deal with Meat Machine happened during COVID, which was strange, but really nice to have something positive with music in a time where it was hard for anything positive to happen,” says Summers.
There are certain anxieties shared by musicians around the world when it comes to navigating the streaming-centric industry model. Essentially, there’s a concern that if an album release isn’t handled with apposite precision, the record might completely disappear from the public consciousness.
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The opposite appears to be the case with Beseech Me. The London-based Meat Machine have not only made Beseech Me available worldwide, but also pressed it to vinyl for the first time.
“Rich [Guy] who runs Meat Machine and Tin Angel came across [Beseech Me] somehow – someone must have sent it to him – and he just liked it,” says Summers. “He’s got one of those record labels where he just puts out what he likes.
Beseech was recorded before CLAMM’s third member, bass player Maisie Everett, joined the band. Luke Scott plays bass on the album, which was recorded with engineer Nao Anzai in the winter of 2019. The band was still in its infancy, but the finished product sounds no less assured or stylistically cogent.
“Recording it, we never thought we’d have to listen to it so much or that it’d be around for so long,” says Summers. “It’s really good that people are enjoying it, but we’re really excited about the new songs we’re playing and recording. I’m immensely excited for people to hear what we’re going to do next.”
Recording has commenced on album two, but its release is still a little ways off. In the meantime, the show at Max Watt’s will be a prime opportunity to witness how far CLAMM have advanced.
“We’ve got some saxophone and some synth on the new songs, so we went, ‘Let’s bring that to Max Watt’s’,” says Summers. “We’ve got two saxophone players playing with us: Anna Gordon [ex-Mangelwurzel], she’s an incredible musician, and Stella Rennex, who’s playing in Smarts and Parsnip.”
Anzai, who’s also recording the band’s second album, will join them on synths.
“We’re over the moon about that,” says Summers. “Playing with two saxophonists and Nao on synths is something we’re so excited about.”
CLAMM hit Max Watt’s as part of RISING festival on Thursday May 27. Grab tickets here.