If 2011 taught me anything, it’s that Clubfeet have never looked so good. Now before you go judging me for having some kind of perverted foot fetish, I should clarify that I am referring to the Cape Town/Melburnian indie-pop dream team and NOT the phalangeal deformity that Google image retrieves. Emerging in 2010 with debut album Gold on Gold, the five-piece quickly upgraded to the international circuit with a slew of critical acclaim from indie heavyweights, including Pitchfork and NME, to name a few. The last year alone has seen these kids play CMJ in New York, not to mention a creative collaboration with Sydney videographer, Alex Goddard. Coming full circle, Clubfeet are returning to their old stomping ground for their first national tour, set to kick off this month, as well as upcoming sophomore album looming on the horizon. To get the full low-down on all things Clubfeet, Music Feeds caught up with these guys for a quick Q&A.
MF: You guys spent quite a bit of time across the pond last year – representing at CMJ, and US tour in tow. How was that? Any standout moments?
C: Due to Sebastian’s visa getting lost in the mail, he literally had to jump off the plane, get in a taxi, and meet us at our first gig at Pianos. It was touch and go there for a second! Standouts were the All Things Go party we played with Electric Guest, St Lucia and Penguin Prison, as well as the Nicky Digital party in a sweaty basement bar filled to the max! After NYC we limped to play a few shows in LA – that was a much more relaxed affair. We got lost on Mulholland drive, op-shopped in Echo Park, drank old fashioneds at the Standard, and watched the world series in dive bars. The only hiccup was when Vivian almost got arrested for accosting a Jedi Knight on Hollywood Boulevard. We played ‘School Night’ with Bleeding Knees Club and got drunk on free-pour Hendricks, which was a great end to the trip.
MF: Over the years you guys have collaborated with a number of artists – French Horn Rebellion, Dimitri in Paris and Crystal Fighters to name a few. How did these come about? Can we expect any upcoming collaboration’s in the future?
C: We all met at the celebrity rehab clinic ‘Passages’ in Malibu. That place is deluxe – best tiramisu in California! Expect some remixes of Brooklyn’s Savior Adore and Body Language. We also just did a collaboration with an amazing Bouzouki player Alex Toumazos for the Key of Sea project, which will be coming out later this year.
MF: Many comparisons have been made for your sound – Hot Chip, Cut Copy and The Teenagers to name a few. Are these comparisons something that you welcome? And would you cite these bands as influences?
C: While we prefer to be compared to fine cognacs (Camus Cognac Cuvee, or say Courvoisier L’Esprit) we love all those bands, so why not!
MF: Your Alex Goddard Gold on Gold clips have gone down a treat! How did that project come about?
C: He is one of our oldest friends and he actually insisted on doing the videos before we’d even planned to do one. He does a lot of work in the fashion world and we always like his vibe, so we pretty much gave him carte blanche to make the videos however he wanted. He did 90% of them on a zero budget and just flew by the seat of his pants. When one lot of super-8 film got overexposed in processing, he just took the print and painted on it. The vibe was very french 60s/80s, grungy Andy Warhol vibe, and Alex is amazing at directing models. Tiah, who starred in Count your Lovers, has done lots of performance art in the past, and we all knocked around together years ago.
MF: I love that you guys put your own spin on ‘Big Fun’s’ Teenage Suicide from Heathers. I gather that you’re pop culture enthusiasts?
C: We’re all avid consumers! Our live show begins with a mash-up of some of our favourite moments from TV/ Film, including snippets from St Elmos Fire, Sex, Lies, Videotape, Mad Men, Bright Lights Big City, and Beverly Hills 90210.
MF: I’ve noticed that many of your tracks from Gold on Gold, including Edge of Extremes, Last Words and D.I.E. Yuppiescum, convey quite a deep message hidden by dreamy synths and light-hearted overtones. Was it your intention to convey a sense of irony through your music?
C: Yeah, I think we try to strike a balance, we’re definitely not a ‘joke band’, but there’s no point to making music if you take yourself too seriously. Every now and then we like to get a little deep – if you take the third letter from each song title from Gold and Gold it spells ‘Marky Mark’.
MF: Your long-awaited second album, produced by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode) is set to be released later this year. Does this mysterious second album have a name/release date? And what was it like working with Victor Van Vugt?
C: The album title is Heirs & Graces and we’re very excited to get it out there. Victor is an old friend, so he’s always a pleasure to work with. He gives us an excuse to go to NY every now and then, plus he looks a little like Michael Fassbender – very handsome.
MF: Your latest offering, City of Lights/This Time reflects a more mellow magnetism than Gold on Gold. Can we expect more of this new vibe on the second album?
C: Heirs & Graces is a diverse album. It has deep electronic rabbit hole moments, melancholic disco, and shouty dancefloor jams. Someone said we’ve defined a new genre called ‘blow-wave’. Can’t wait to share it with the world.
MF: From your early Pitchfork praise to CMJ, it seems like you guys were catapulted onto the international arena before making your mark at home. How does it feel to finally play your first national tour? And what can audiences expect?
C: We’re so excited to play for Australian audiences. The show is kinda like a David Copperfield magic show meets Jean Michel Jarre skyscraper extravaganza.
THUR 5 JULY – THE TOFF IN TOWN, MELBOURNE (18+)
with guests I’lls
FRI 6 JULY – ROCKET BAR, ADELAIDE (18+)
with guests I’lls
WED 11 JULY – GOODGOD SMALL CLUB, SYDNEY (18+)
with guests I’lls
FRI 13 JULY – BARSOMA, BRISBANE (18+)
with guests Outerwaves
FRI 27 JULY – SPEAKEASY @ VILLA, PERTH (18+)
with special guest