Clock Opera make extraordinarily accessible electronic pop music. They may draw from such esoteric sources as the systems music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass and have played their second ever gig at the Queen Elizabeth Hall backing the Ballet Rambert, but you don’t need any special qualifications to enjoy what they do – just an appreciation of idiosyncratic electronic and organic sounds.
Guy Connelly, the vocalist, guitarist, sampler and master machinist behind Clock Opera can be placed in that small but select pantheon of distinguished male pop vocalists that also includes Billy Mackenzie of Associates, Haydon Thorpe of Wild Beasts and Antony Hegarty of Antony and The Johnsons, all singers unafraid of expressing themselves in an unguarded, emotional way.
Andy West (bass, guitar, synths), Che Albrighton (drums, samples) and Dan Armstrong (samples, synths, keyboards, backing vocals) join Guy on stage and make guitars sound like harp glissandos and keep the pace with his constantly evolving ideas and methods of chopping up sounds into smithereens and fiddling with them sonically and in terms of pitch and rhythm.
Together, Clock Opera are a studio unit who push the recording process to the limit, but who are also a fully functioning performing band able to reproduce the intricacies of their music while gaining a new urgency and energy with every show.
How did you all come to meet each other?
All through the family tree of defunct bands. I used to live with Andy & recorded Che playing drums in one of his old bands. Dan was a mutual friend who had previously played in another band.
Clock Opera is an unusual name, how did you get it?
A composer once wrote a symphony for pocket watches, but it was never played. So we decided that it would be played by us.
How would you describe your music to a first time listener?
That’s your job! Other people have said like a cross between Autechre & Aled Jones.
So was it always your intention to sound like this when you first started the band?
No, to decide what your music would be before you make it would be a mistake, as you’d never be happy.
Is your writing influenced particularly by other bands or music?
Today it is Associates, Scott Walker, Philip Glass.
Your Metronomy remix is one of my fav production of you – what are your goals and approaches to remixing vs. producing vs. DJing?
Remixing and producing require weeks and months in the studio, followed by a period of waiting for a record to come out. DJing requires a couple of hours, some cash and some free drinks. We sometimes think that perhaps our goal should be to do more DJing.
Do you think that giving away music for free (as free mp3 or streaming) could help you sell more physical or even digital releases?
Eventually, maybe. There is a strange paradox in giving something away in order to sell it. I’m sure there’s a good reason. We hope that it will make people come to see us in real life though.
How do you keep in contact with your fans? Through your site, community sites…?
All the usual networks. The more personal the better though. We love it when people write us emails, we had a wonderful one from China yesterday (hello Wanson).
You have a new single « Lesson N°7 ». Are you putting out a full-length album in 2012?
We’re getting very close to our album and are going into the studio to do some more mixing in a couple of weeks.
Can you tell me some words in French? 🙂
Denver est un chien coupable. Il a mangé les friandises.
Any closing words for TEEZ’FM listeners?
Band WLTM new friends for gigs, possibly more. GSOH optional.
Thanks to Clock Opera & Lawrence
interview by Thierry Jaussaud