I shifted into the dark Hotel-Café, slinking through sweaty revelers, late for the Andy Clockwise experience. The worshippers came in all shapes and sizes, hands raised and swaying feverishly to “Love And War.” I get swept up in the revival. I’m sold. Australian born Andy Clockwise would call what he does ‘schizo pop’ – indie-pop to others. With the album War Stories on the horizon, and the release of “Murphy’s Law,” Clockwise is itching to move the world one more time.
A CLOCKWISE DAY…
3PM: Coffee and then my laboratory!
9PM: More hitzzz!
MIDNIGHT: Whiskey and hitzzzzz!!!!
HYDROGEN MAGAZINE: You were born in Sydney. A proper Aussie…what were the early years like for you?
ANDY CLOCKWISE: Early years were good. I grew up by the beach in Sydney with my parents in a Christian rock band…Me and my brothers and sisters would do normal kid things and then jam around on tunes with each other between watching our parents and grandparents play the horse races on a Saturday. I grew up in a conservative area, so I was blessed to have a family who thought incredibly
outside the box and instilled a great idea of being ourselves and not caring about the people around us. Maybe too much…I’m writing a movie script with a lot of my families crazy awesomeness in it, so I hope they don’t get offended [laughs]!
HM: Describe your sound in 3 words…
AC: Really f***ing awesome [laughs]…The new Beatles?? I dunno man…Norwegian doom metal? [laughs].
HM: You were helping a friend produce a demo-tape in exchange for a place to stay when you recorded an EP which you submitted to an Australian radio station and a career was born. Tell me about that improbable beginning.
AC: Well, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”…I had dropped out of school, and was bumming around being a scene star drinking free booze at art galleries, playing some shows here and there and just genuinely being a stupid punk. One of my favorite places to hang was with my friend
Bertie who came from Australian artistic royalty, and her mom and her sort of took me in like a lost soul and let me hang around her place…or maybe I just didn’t leave! It was really cool. I met painters and socialites and Sydney raconteurs that really impressed me but the best thing that happened was, she
had an old computer with music software on it. Once I sat on that for a while, I was hooked. This was before DIY people making albums on lap tops and stuff, and I had no idea what I was doing…but we did it, and the rest is history…
HM: Your EP “Song Exhibition” stayed on the Australian Modern Rock Top 20 Chart for 7 months. Pretty impressive. Tell me about its genesis.
AC: Man, you are going way back. I couldn’t tell you about that one, but after that, I made classic fm. A double album for my first album…I remember that being a crazy time. Again, I had no idea what I was doing…actually I probably still don’t! People who tell you they know everything about music are mostly
full of s**t or boring anyway.
HM: You released the EP Are You Well? in the US in 2009. Tell me about the single ‘Love & War.’
AC: Well, Are You Well? came from us playing a lot of shows around Los Angeles and getting us into the scene. I came here not knowing anybody and we built up enough of a following to put something out.
Love and War is about all the grey areas that I was finding in my life if you can understand that. Los Angeles is an affected place, but it is somewhat proud of its creepy little brother status. That’s what I love about it so much. It’s the Wild West. There are no real rules, no rigid etiquette or acceptable modes of behavior. Love and War is about my experiences with that blank canvas…the good and the bad.
HM: You toured the album with The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas. What was that touring experience like? Were there many bones buried on that one?
AC: That was awesome, he was awesome, the band was awesome, our shows were awesome! The Melbourne crowd was crazy that night, it was like one of the best shows we ever played. The tour was crazy though. I brought my bass player Josh Norton to Australia for the first time. I think he was shell shocked by some of it [laughs]…and that is all.
HM: Your first LP record The Socialite was released in the US. What was the process when writing the album?
AC: That album took me a week to record up in the valley at Elliot Smith’s old studio New Monkey before he passed. There was a great energy there and up in Van Nuys, there is nothing much else to do but work. Then we didn’t put it out for 2 years after that [laughs]. I write all the music and record the
instruments myself, so to be honest, we just work really hard. I don’t have any rules with this stuff, otherwise what is the point? It’s gonna sound how it’s gonna sound. But yeah, we definitely got some cabin fever…
HM: You are one busy man and have always have side projects going on. Tell me about “Gala Dali and the Other Lovers,” “This Choir Kills Facists” and “Movement Jones.”
AC: Sometimes, when I get bored, I get my talented awesome friends together and we do something different. The choir is awesome…we get together, we sing, we get drunk and we dress up like we are in the army. It’s awesome…it keeps it fun for me.
HM: Tell me about “Murphy’s Law” which you have coming up.
AC: Everything that will go wrong, will go wrong…and there ya go. This album has been lost. I got robbed and had to start again after a year’s work….just so much s**t went crazy. That song is a joyous ode to chaos. It’s not actually released yet, but some stations have been playing it.
HM: I’ve been to your shows at The Hotel Café in Los Angeles. I call it ‘the happy sweat fest’ because I left drenched and completely satisfied by the whole experience which is hard to describe. The crowd were more worshippers than fans, feeding off your electricity. It was amazing to watch. Tell me about performing in Los Angeles and about that unique interaction with your audience.
AC: Look, a lot of people ask me this question and so I have had time to think about it I suppose, but that’s the thing…I’m not really thinking up there. I’m letting go. Too many shows I go to are so self-aware and contrived. What I loved when I was growing up regardless of the genre, was shows and performers who were dangerous or involved with me as a little kid in the audience, believing so much in what this weirdo was doing. That’s what I responded to, and that’s what I always wanted to do. I like being involved with everyone in the room whether they hated or loved it. I mean, they paid money, they may as well react to something whether it’s good or bad.
I suppose some people respond to that because, I dunno…they work in an office or they have nothing to let loose at or just because life is a trip [laughs]. If they have a good time, I’ve done my job.
HM: What do you like to indulge in when you’re not sweating it out onstage?
AC: Cigarettes and coffee…
HM: What’s up next for you?
AC: Think I might have a nap!
FOR MORE ON ANDY CLOCKWISE, VISIT: http://www.andyclockwise.net/