Twelve Feet Clay have just released their debut album ‘Totem Bells’, read on for more about the band and their canny knack for blagging their way into gigs…
What are you currently up to?
We have just launched our debut album ‘Totem Bells’ at a barn storming gig in our hometown of Cambridge. We’re gearing up to get on the road and bring what we do to the rest of the UK.
Brief history of Twelve Clay Feet and how you all met…
Jay (lead Guitar) and I are twin brothers, so that one’s fairly straight forward. Jay’s a few minutes older, so I assume he introduced himself first. We knew Bob (Drums) from school and he and Jay had played in a band together previously. We found bass player Ollie, in the orchestra of rock musical, in which Bob was playing the lead role. We played for several years under the name ‘Delphi’ with two other friends, before taking the name Twelve Clay Feet as a four piece.
Could you take us through your new album ‘Totem Bells’?
We recorded the album ourselves and were very much learning on the job. We were constantly messing around with different sounds and techniques, adjusting and editing the songs as we went. We were fortunate enough to meet Fraser Smith (Shed Seven/Ian Brown), who agreed to mix the album. We were all blown away with how much he understood what we were after. His approach to the mixing led to a really dynamic and exciting record.
Lyrically I like storytelling, but also a certain amount of ambiguity. Sometimes I’m surprised how dark and visceral the picture I’ve painted is, particularly in songs like Sour Rum and Cornfed. There is an equal amount of celebration and joy in there though. We’ve been writing together for a long time, so musically we have an instinctive feel for where the mood of a song is going and it all feeds back into the mix.
You have a new video up on YouTube for the song ‘Cornfed’. How important is YouTube in getting your music more widely known and whose idea was it to have those scary faces?!
It’s the first port of call when you hear about a new band, even more so since Myspace started to decline. You often get to see the people behind the music, which I guess can help you to connect with it. The zombie make up was the Director, Mark Pickering’s (Pickering Bros) idea. Some people think that it’s not me, rather a third brother that’s rarely let out of the attic. Mark was fantastic to work with, we had a great time making it.
What have been the live highlights so far for the band and who ideally would you like to tour with & why?
We have supported Editors, Slow Club and Hard Fi in the past, amongst others and played some great shows in London. The album launch was an incredible night, with an unbelievable turn out and overwhelming support from friends and fans. I reckon BRMC know how to have a good time on tour, but I’m sure the whole band would like to share a stage with Arcade Fire.
Who have been influences on the band musically?
It’s a diverse mix individually, but the bands that we all share a love of have to be Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Jane’s Addiction.
Does social media like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc. help bands like yourself get established and how do you try to convince people to buy your music when so much music is free online, legally and illegally?
Word of mouth is a great way for bands to build a fan base. These days something exciting can take off as fast as an internet connection speed will allow. Realistically though, trying to be heard above the millions of voices is difficult. I think right now, exposure for bands like us is the most important thing. Obviously If ‘Totem Bells’ went platinum we wouldn’t complain. At the moment, we just want everyone to hear the music we love making. I can’t convince anyone to buy our stuff, just hope they fall in love with it.
Any good rock ‘n’ roll tales to tell?
When I was younger myself and a mate, Mickey, used to blag our way into after-shows. So, I’ve bashed cigarettes off Carl Barat, played table football with the guys from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, having drunk most of their Jack Daniels (they weren’t pleased) and told Chris Martin that he has big hands. Ok, so the last one isn’t very rock and roll.
A few years back the band was pulled over by the police on the way back from a gig in Shoreditch. Bob was driving a little erratically because we were lost. They made us all get out of ‘Avril,’ that was the name of Bob’s Fiesta, and searched us. When I mentioned that we were a band, one of the police officers suggested we cover power ballads, which led to us doing a duet of ‘I want to know what love is’ in the middle of Hackney at midnight. He was a surprisingly good singer, for a member of Her Majesty’s Constabulary.
Where would the band like to be in a year’s time?
Doing cover versions of power ballads, ideally. If that doesn’t work out, touring and recording. We are really looking forward to getting ‘Totem Bells’ on the road, but we are equally excited by the music we’re writing now.
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock Featured Albums of 2019
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