music: interview: Clinic

Clinic have long been a critic's favourite with a very strong following on both sides of the Atlantic. This year they celebrate a decade of music-making with an album of b-sides and next year a new album is due.

Here we talk to Ade about everything from finish to bigness.
Domino Records

When I was looking through materials about you one thing that jumped out at me was a mention (in a nice way) about "lack of finish". This seems to be something that some people don't get at all and others love when it gives feelings of immediacy, earthiness etc. Does Clinic put a lot of thought into that aspect of your sound?

thanks.the roughness is just natural. the records i like all have an amateurism or lack of (conventional)technical ability. so i've never wanted to achieve a polished sound.

Another thing that jumped out was the dearth of material on the band members' backgrounds. Is this band policy or has nobody asked? If the latter, consider yourself asked!... even if it's only generally, to fit in with the surgical mask thing ...

yes i see the background as being from when clinic started. that is all connected to the music. anything else just doesn't seem that relevant.

In the past you've issued new albums on a two year cycle. Which means after this year's issue of B-sides from the past, there should be a new album next year. I guess you've already started the process - would you like to tell us about the process and maybe give us some clues about what's coming up?

the next album will be out in the spring. so far it sounds like a bright early morning album. melodic and slightly vaudeville ,with phasing! we're recording the album ourselves again. the process is still very random but we now have the freedom not to worry about time.

Amongst the band's infuences are said to be the Velvet Underground (although they're not mentioned on your myspace page), and Faust. Most people listening to your music might find some similarities when told of these influences but I wonder about the non-obvious as these bands are both complex in terms of what they did and how they worked internally as bands (or so the story goes). Do their influences go beyond the textures?

the influence of proto-punk/punk music for us is more than anything to not be afraid to go against the grain. bands like faust or the electric eels had no interest in the mainstream etc which i see as completely liberating.

You're celebrating your tenth year together this year and I guess that could prompt an evaluation of what you're doing. Are you, or is that an ongoing thing anyway?

we do always evaluate yes. but mainly we just enjoy making music which i suppose is always the best consideration. it's flattering that people are still interested ten years on.

Allied to that is the much repeated quote that Clinic is generally much loved by critics but the commercial big time continues to elude you. Although most people are happy to have more money, the so-called big time has a hefty price tag attached to it as well - this makes me wonder if you aren't all perfectly happy exactly where you are...?

basically that's true, we're happy. more money helps but at the same time you're then indebted to make more 'hits' or record in a certain way. we will, though, get to more places further afield.

Thanks a lot Ade.

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