Clinic Clinic… Surgi-cool (Img: Rhian Askins)

Interview: Clinic

Published on October 29th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Clinic are set to release their Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never)-mixed seventh album Free Reign on 12th November – apparently there will even be “a limited edition UFO format, which is a glow in the dark, ‘cosmic flying disc’ which comes along with a download code for the record”, it seems only fair to warn you – so Rocksucker fired some questions over to front man Ade Blackburn in the hope of finding out a little bit more about the latest chapter in the career of this ever-fascinating group…

Congratulations on another excellent LP; to still be on this kind of form seven albums in is no mean feat. The press release says it doesn’t turn its back on your last album Bubblegum, but it sounds very different to me, more spiritually in tune perhaps with earlier albums like Walking With Thee, but even more psychedelic. Is this fair to say, or a load of old twaddle?

Thanks. I’d agree, it’s probably closest to Walking With Thee because of the space in the music and being more keyboard based. It’s like a rawer, more psychedelic take on that sound, with the songs looser and less structured.

I hadn’t realised until perusing the Clinic Facebook page that you’re fans of Silver Apples. This makes perfect sense, especially on Free Reign. Given the chance, would you like to have your own crazy homemade contraption a la Simeon’s to make music out of? If so, what would it be (fantastical answers permitted)?

Yeah I always liked Silver Apples. It’s quite fun music and some of the rhythm ideas were similar to our own. I didn’t hear them ’til after we’d recorded Walking With Thee, although quite a few people thought that LP was influenced by Silver Apples. We did used to have our own contraption early on, called ‘the psychedelic box’. It was a DIY box of pretty weird effects and fuzz. Sadly it’s no longer with us.

“Seamless Boogie Woogie BBC2 10 (rpt)”, as well as being ace, has emerged as a late contender for song title of the year. I’d love to know what brought it on, not least because all the other titles on the album are relatively straightforward…

“Seamless Boogie Woogie…” came as you’d imagine, through seeing the Jools Holland show last year, hearing the percentage of piano boogie woogie against the amount of new music. The balance just seemed a bit skewed. It’s not meant to be deadly serious; I like longer titles that you can play around with.

How did you come to work with Daniel Lopatin? Would you be able to describe the impact he had on the overall sound of Free Reign?

Laurence Bell from Domino Records suggested Daniel for mixing. As the LP was based on drum machines and keys, Daniel fitted. On his mixes he adds an edge with the electronics that we’d normally fill with guitar noise, so overall it takes the songs somewhere else. “Miss You” is probably the best example.

Do you ever feel like you might be from a different planet to the majority of Liverpool bands currently going?

When we started, I felt we were really out on our own in Liverpool. It was still mainly scally Oasis-type bands. More recently though I feel more of a ‘kinship’ with the newer Liverpool bands such as Stig Noise, Stealing Sheep and Mugstar. The Liverpool scene has really moved away from the Beatles/La’s-influenced stuff of the past. So it’s good, we’re definitely less on our own planet than we used to be.

Do you get sick of being asked about the masks?

Yeah it can get tedious but I can’t complain, it was our idea.

Which instrument would you most like to be able to play, but currently don’t?

I’d like to play the didgeridoo or perhaps the tuba: both fairly impractical but good for annoying people with.

Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?

At the recent Liverpool psychedelic festival, I saw a lot of good music. The Shook-Ups and The Wild Eyes were both decent garage bands worth hearing. Also The Sonar Project are making some good electronic groovers.

Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life in soliltary confinement, with just the entire back catalogues of five different musical artists for company, whose would you choose?

I’d go for: Devo, Tim Buckley, Charles Mingus, The Fall and Electric Eels. The Electric Eels back catalogue is a bit short for lifelong solitary confinement but the others would pass a fair few hours.

Ade Blackburn, thank you.

Clinic - Free Reign

Free Reign will be released on 12th November by Domino. For more information, please visit www.clinicvoot.org

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.