Hailing from the sometimes sunny shores of Southend-on-Sea, CLOUT! are the thoroughly 21st century, experimental five piece who are here to challenge our conceptions of what a band should be.
Constantly switching instruments during their sets it’s plain to see the musical punch that CLOUT! are packing. With their topcoat still wet, the boys have only played a handful of gigs (several in support of i-D faves S.C.U.M.), after setting three years aside to rehearse and develop their sound in studios between London and Southend. Constraining CLOUT! to a certain genre is tricky; their far-ranging, free-falling tastes result in diverse inspirations from 60s and 70s psychedelia as much as from 80s dancehall, all stitched together by sampling and beats from the 90s ‘Golden-era’ of hip hop. Their first EP, released 9th May, features a clutch of CLOUT! crackers as well as remixes by Kwes (Micachu and Hot Chip) and Tom Cowan (The Horrors). i-D Online caught up with the boys for a live session and a chat about their past, present and future…
What’s the story behind the name CLOUT!?
Grant: It’s just a hip hop word really. There’s that Gangstarr song ‘Speak Ya Clout’ which we really like. It means power I guess, that and empowerment.
How did you meet and how long have you been together?
Grant: We just knew each other from Southend going to the same places, recording demos every now and then. Then we started playing as a band maybe a year ago after writing for ages and we decided to start gigging recently.
Is there any message about music in general you are trying to express through your tracks?
Jordan: The message of love and to treat each other fairly. We’re just making stuff we like to listen to, I mean obviously we have people in mind but the majority of the time I think that’s what every musician does, play what he likes.
Bradley: We’re all young musicians and so the reason the songs are so varied is because we grew up with the internet as a facility to listen to everything ever made, and that means anything can become a relevant contemporary resource or influence. Also the fact that now we have access to a whole world of electronic instruments, you can now source Joe Bloggs in America who makes this particular bizarre machine which you can then use to create both familiar and new textures.
Tell us about your recent gigging?
Grant: The last one was the most enjoyable because it was a mess, the sound guy was like Manuel from Faulty Towers!
Jordan: There is a fine line between enjoyment and the gig actually going well. I would say our most prolific gig was Offset, that was the driving force behind it all.
Chris: We were the first band on that day, I remember the last couple years I have been to that festival, people wouldn’t usually get out of their tents until 3 o’clock; we were on about 11 or 12 and it really filled-up. Everyone came out to see us, it means people got off their arses and came to watch us which was really nice.
What was the first record you can remember listening to?
Chris: Jimmy Nail, ‘Crocodile Shoes’.
Bradley: Michael Jackson’s album, History, I absolutely loved ‘Earth Song’ when I was a kid.
Grant: Fugees, ‘Ready Or Not’, the CD single.
Jordan: I was brought up in a very Beatles-driven background but I don’t like The Beatles so I’ll say Fugees too.
Chris: Motown compilation.
Photography Henry Gorse