Liverpool indie-poppers Clean Cut Kid have just released one of our albums of the year so far; so, when we were offered the chance to catch up with them at this year’s Barn On The Farm Festival to chat about their debut album, the pros and cons of Spotify, and breaking bones in the line of duty, we couldn’t turn it down:
Are you happy to be back at Barn On The Farm?
Mike (Halls, vocals and guitar): ‘Oh, it’s great. We’ve each played here a few times as part of other people’s bands, but last year was the first time we played it as Clean Cut Kid, and it was brilliant. To be invited back this year, and play on the main stage, and to have people in the crowd singing the words of the songs back to us? Well, that’s just amazing. Hopefully we might’ve persuaded a few of ‘em to buy the album!
How much of an impact has streaming had on your album sales – and, by proxy, your ability to live as full-time musicians?
Mike: ‘It hasn’t really had much of an impact, to be honest. I do think that we’re witnessing a turnaround right now, though.
Evelyn (Halls, vocals and keyboards): ‘To be honest, if you’re talking about the difference between how much money goes back to the artist, then obviously buying is still going to be king. However, with streaming, it seems that for a load more things it’s more important to get your streaming numbers up: like, radio stations look at it, promoters look at it, and a load of other people within the industry look at those figures, too. So, ideally, we’d like a balance of both.
Mike: ‘It’s not the same audience, as well. It’s just not the same bunch of people. On the one hand, you’ve got Bradley Walsh selling an absolute shedload of albums, but only 13,000 monthly Spotify plays…
‘…and then, you’ve got Katy Perry, whose new album only got to number six in the charts, but who gets about fifty million monthly Spotify plays. They’re two difference audiences, and it’s impossible to compare the two. The only thing we care about is that there are still people coming to the shows – if they are, we’re clearly doing something right.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
Evelyn: ‘I really like playing Felt.
Mike: ‘I don’t! Not at all. The chorus to that one is a nightmare. I like playing Stay. We all like playing Vitamin C, too – everyone’s always smiling and having a good time when we play that. It’s nice to see.
You’re off on tour later this year, too – how much of the album can we expect to hear on the tour?
Evelyn: ‘All of it, hopefully! We try to play every song from the album whenever we do a headline show – even the ones from the Deluxe Edition. It’s cool, because some of those songs that people don’t get to hear at the festivals are some of our favourites, so we really enjoy playing them whenever we can. It’s a little self-indulgent, but who cares?
If you could be in any other band, which would it be and which instrument would you want to play?
Evelyn: ‘I would be Stevie Nicks in Fleetwood Mac. I’d just play her tambourine, sing, and look cool as hell – that’d be great fun.
Ross (Higginson, drums): ‘I’d go for being Dave Grohl in Nirvana. Who wouldn’t want that job?
Out of every song ever recorded, which do you wish you’d written?
Evelyn: ‘God knows. I can’t answer that one! I’d take me hours to just go through them all.
Ross: ‘Graceland by Paul Simon. Without a doubt.
What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Ross: Hmm… Well, it’s not a particularly strange thing, but Mike both broke his elbows right before we supported Brandon Flowers. It was during soundcheck, and he tried to jump over the barrier, but he misjudged it and fell over it. Broke both of his elbows.
Evelyn: ‘And then played the gig. He didn’t know he’d broken them, and throughout the entire set he was like “argh, they’re really painful!”. When he went to the hospital after the gig, he found out that they’d been broken the entire time.
Describe each other in three words?
Ross: ‘Evelyn is cool, kind, and generous.
Evelyn: ‘Aww! I’d describe Ross as hilarious, healthy, and talented.