Interview Exclusive: Clay


Words: Gary Lambert

It seems that slowly but surely people are turning off the middle of nowhere festival, and getting more excited by the offers of metropolitan festivals. Tents are being replaced by party pads as people realise that you can still see a lot of music whilst also having a shower each morning and a proper bed every night. Generally though metropolitan festivals cater to a niche audience of new music and great unknown bands. However, the Venn Diagram of Big Band Festival and City Centre Location are now starting to cross with the introduction of Hope and Glory Festival in Liverpool.


With acts such as James, Embrace, Public Service Broadcasting, Ocean Colour Scene, The Fratellis, and a rather special looking Hacienda Classical all taking to the stage in the middle of Liverpool, we have something which could bring big outdoor moments to people who want to be able to experience the big singalong moments without having to worry about spiders whilst they sleep.


Obviously, a new festival is a perfect place for Popped Music to plant their flag; and proudly we have had our own input on the openers. The first band to play The Great Exhibition Stage at Hope and Glory will be Clay who are making the journey over from Leeds to make the first step into the future for this festival.


It was Jack from Clay who was able to chat with Popped Music, and between us we got pretty excited about what is coming from their launching set.

“Yeah, we’re buzzing from it. It’s such an exciting opportunity to play. With it being a new event there are probably going to be a lot of people there who are just going to see what the festival is like rather than hardened music fans looking to watch their favourite bands. This should give it a unique atmosphere as there will be such a strong mix of people. Hopefully this will mean that we can give people the opportunity to find their favourite new band. And it is a big compliment to be put on the main stage as well for such a young band.”


As I’m a bit obsessed about the city of Liverpool and the beautiful old buildings we have, I couldn’t let the location of Hope and Glory get away from being pointed out. “I’ve been told that it is in the city centre, but other than that I haven’t seen much”. For those of you who don’t know, it is to take place in the grounds of St George’s Hall. If you’ve ever visited the city and wondered what the purpose of a giant, ancient Greek inspired building was outside Lime Street Station, that’s St George’s Hall. It was said that the hall was built so that visitors to the city would see the wonder of it and feel awed/inspired. Jack was unfortunate enough to get an even more over the top explanation.

“Well that sounds amazing. We’ve played quite a few metropolitan festivals this summer, but even though this is in the city, it is going to be nothing like playing one of them where you’re playing in a bar that you’d normally fancy having a pint in. It’s going to be great being able to play not just to the festival, but anybody nearby in the city centre if we’re loud enough.”


“We try to have a visual performance as well as a sonic showcase, but it is important to us that we get the sound right. We understand that you can’t reproduce the conditions of a studio on stage, particularly at a festival, but we really try to offer the audience the sound they expect. Our music is quite instantaneous, so we always try to make sure that we sound fresh live.”


This is going to be an interesting return to Liverpool for the band. Through our conversation, I found out that Liverpool was the site of the first ever Clay gig to take place outside of Leeds. I have a feeling that the audience at Hope and Glory is going to be bigger than the four people who watched them in The Lomax.


One of the exciting things as a festival goer is that the Clay performance should be fresh and new rather than a churned out, “where are we today?” half hour as they have been quite low-key on the scene this summer.

“Deliberately it hasn’t really been a big year for us on the festival circuit. We’ve focused on a few gigs of our own and making sure they went well, but you still end up doing some festivals. We had a real standout moment playing at Live at Leeds back in April. As you’d expect Leeds gigs are always a big thing for us, but this was crazy. We played at Leeds Beckett Student Union in front of massive audience who were going nuts. This was a place that we’d been to sell out gigs in the past, and now it was packed to watch us”


There is not just excitement in the Clay camp over the live shows too. There has been some time spent getting ready to drop a new tune or two. Although it was pretty tough going trying to get any gossip on that front from Jack.

“Releases are being worked on at the moment. We’ve spent pretty much the last month in the studio, so now it is a case of working out what we want to release and in what format. We’ve got some ideas on that, but we can’t tell you yet. However, it will be released before our tour in October”.


So Hope and Glory is your chance to go to see Clay so that you can say in years to come “I was there for the very first set at that”, and that in a few months’ time, you can download their latest releases and it will remind you of a great festival that didn’t need a sleeping bag.


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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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