Formed two years ago in Liverpool, Clean Cut Kid have already had their own sold out UK tour, have been busy playing festivals including Reading and Glastonbury and all before their debut album has even been released. The band are influenced by bands like Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire but have their own unique sound and well-crafted mellow lyrics. I caught up with Evelyn Hall and Saul Godman to talk about what their first year since signing their record deal has been like.
Tonight is your second night touring with The Courteeners, how’s it going?
Saul: We haven’t actually met them yet. Mike’s met them because we’ve played one gig with them before and he’s had the man-to-man songwriter chat.
Evelyn: We’ve heard they’re really cool so we’ll see.
2016 has been a really big year for you and included your first headline tour. How was that?
Saul: Brilliant; it was sold out every night, which was more than we could expect.
What was your favourite city to play?
Evelyn: Liverpool was amazing. It’s our hometown so the reaction is always really warm, but it was also the biggest headline gig we’ve done. It was part of Music Week in Liverpool so there was a lot of excitement around that. We got to see our family and that kind of thing and we never get to see anyone at the moment other than the band because we’ve been on tour this whole year, pretty much.
Saul: We had a big London show the night before, which was so good, and then we came back to Liverpool and it was even better so it was a good show to end the tour with.
What’s the best thing and the worst thing about touring?
Evelyn: The best part is probably that you get to see everywhere for free. When you’re younger you dream of touring with a band and travelling the world and so you look out the window and think ‘wow, I’m actually doing this’. The worst thing? It’s not that glamorous. Not yet. Like our van had a hole in the roof which leaked all over Saul’s leg.
Saul: I’m also quite a nervous passenger, actually, so I have to pretend I’m not in the car so I’m not worrying start to finish. But Mike’s making tunes on his laptop as we’re going and we’re all having a laugh and then you get to have a gig at the end of the night so it’s all worth it.
Evelyn: It is fun. It can be quite tricky missing people and home comforts but it’s class getting to play a gig every night for two or three weeks in a row.
Is there a good music scene in Liverpool?
Evelyn: Yeah there are loads of bands and it’s a good place to plant your feet.
Saul: It’s good for any type of artist.
Evelyn: It’s a cheap place to live so it’s good for musicians and photographers and people who make films to start freelancing when they haven’t got much money. It was great for us as we could rehearse all the time. There are a lot of bands coming out of Liverpool who are just amazing.
Which Liverpool bands should we be excited about?
Evelyn: Zuzu, a girl with a guitar, Lying Bastards, they’re amazing as well, and this kid called Lumen who produces his own backing tracks and plays guitar over the top.
Saul: It’s a city where there’s five gigs a night every night so it’s hard to choose. There’s a Facebook page called Liverpool Bands where everyone promotes their own gigs and stuff; it’s a good community.
Going right back to the beginning, how did Clean Cut Kid get started?
Evelyn: I first met Mike when I was working with a guy Mike was writing tunes for and we started dating… and making music together. We eventually decided we should get a proper band together so we got Saul in and we got Ross in. We kind of found Saul as we’d been looking for him for ages and we found him busking on the street, and Ross was found through another chance encounter. It felt natural for us, but looking back it’s crazy to think this might not have happened if we hadn’t been in the right places.
What inspires you to write songs and make music?
Evelyn: Mike writes all our songs and he’s just always written ever since I’ve known him. He’s inspired a lot by his life; everything’s either happened to him or someone he knows so it’s very autobiographical. He never writes from a place where he hasn’t experienced it, so he’s very much inspired by interactions with people and life in general I guess.
Evelyn: (laughs) Well, that’s not true; I’m married to him so I’m his only girl.
Saul: This album is about other girls, the next album will be about Evelyn.
After seeing your music videos I wondered if you’re involved with making them as they’re very unique?
Evelyn: We normally have a little seed of an idea and then the label sends it to directors who develop the idea. We generally like the videos to be able to be described in one sentence. It has to make sense on paper and then look really beautiful and look really cool. With everything that we do we’re trying not to be too influenced by anyone else so it’s good that the videos are coming across as interesting and not just another boring band video or anything.
I really like the one with the guy with the baseball bat who’s dancing.
Saul: That guy actually has his own band. If you do your homework you’ll be able to find him.
So if people haven’t heard of you, which song should they listen to first, and why?
Evelyn: I’d say Vitamin C.
Saul: It was our first song so it’s a good introduction to the band. It has lots of different elements with the girl and boy singing and loud guitars and soft guitars; it’s got a mix of everything. It’s not a typical rock song.
Evelyn: We made it before we had any label input as well.
So what are your plans for 2017?
Evelyn: We want to get our full-length album out and another single. We’ve been tracking it for the last year so it will be good to get it out.
Saul: And loads of festivals again.
Any last words?
Evelyn: Buy our music, tell your friends!
Saul: Keep calling Radio One and tell them to play us.