Interview: Clothes Make The Man

Clothes Make the Man @the Horseshoe, 11.11.2010
[Note: We sincerely apologize for guitarist Scott Henry being left out of this shot!]

I sat down with Clothes Make The Man just as they were completing their set list for their big EP release show. Fortunately, they took a break to have a chat with me.

According to Ryan McLennan (vocals, guitar), common themes for Clothes Make The Man include “girls, self improvement, the destruction of the planet, people’s mindsets going through good and bad times, life and trying to document your own life.”

Having released a well-acclaimed debut album in 2007, I wanted to know what the biggest differences were between Distance, their sophomore full-length slated for release in 2011, and their self-titled debut. Drummer Phil Wilson was quick to point out they have a “way better drummer.” McLennan indicated that “songs are stronger,” and continued by saying, “it’s less indie rock and more roooockkkkk” (and if I could emphasize that properly, I would). Wilson describes the album as “glossier and bigger.”

The changes are in no doubt partly due to recording with Julius Butty (Metalworks), an experience that is described by McLennan as, “tremendous.” He goes further by saying, “He’s got a great work ethic, but he’s also friendly and fun. He just lets us be ourselves. He’s one of the guys but also has all this technical know how to actually make things sound amazing.”

Wilson continues, “He was a hard worker when we were in the studio… but never like strict or crazy, but he made it as good as it could be.”

Scott Henry (guitar, vocals) says, “He gets the best out of you. That’s what a good producer does. He’s a good producer because of that.”

Ross Machon (bass) then mentions Butty’s dog eating the band’s pizza, which leads to Henry recounting a hilarious story of leaving the band’s dinner on the counter only to lose dinner to the dog. Henry was the only one who had a portion.

The guys have finished recording Distance, but curiously they chose to release the Control EP teaser first. When asked why, Henry said, “Money. We don’t have enough money to do it properly, to be honest.” Machon added that money was not the only motivation saying, “And we needed to put something out because, you know, we’ve been writing that last one forever. This sorta like passes time between the release of the last full length and the release of this full length.” Henry adds, “It gives our fans something that’s pretty neat.”

When asked what they’re most looking forward to, McLennon quickly says, “making a new album.” Clearly these guys love making music, but he also added, “having more fun, playing more shows, doing what we’re doing, keeping it going and finding ways to keep ourselves interested (which isn’t hard), keep finding momentum, and meeting more people.”

I asked them about touring experiences and Machon said they “always have fun on the road together.”

They had just gotten back from out east and when asked about their favourite place, St. Johns, Newfoundland was immediately offered up as a favourite. He was quick to add, “With the exception of moose driving.” We proceeded to have a lengthy chat about the dangers of driving through moose country and Henry indicated, “You always have to be on the lookout for moose. You’ll die if you’re not paying attention.” I was then overwhelmed by stats of the amount of moose and in proportion to the population of people and how many accidents are moose-related.

This led to a silly chat about “playing a show to raise funds to annihilate the moose. (titled ‘Massacre of the Moose’).” Machon said they’ve considered a “moose meat company” to make money (as well as save some lives by curbing moose-related deaths).

(Note: No moose were actually harmed… that I know of.)

Given our blog is about buying shots for bands, I wanted to know if the guys had any good drunken stories. McLennan started with saying, “On my 29th birthday, I was basically almost kicked out of the band due to booze and emotion.” Machon decided to finish the story by saying McLennan fell over halfway through the set. MeLennan, who seemed hesitant to finish the story, indicated he didn’t want to say anything negative, but Machon countered, “That wasn’t negative. It was great!”

This immediately led to a buzz about how much they play drunk versus sober.

Machon, who seemed to be the one who always regained focus to get back to a question, offered up a story of his own. “In St. Johns I quit the band and got replaced by this guy on stilts with a slap bass” that “took out a tile in the ceiling.” Just imagine the hilarity!

Finally, their shots of choice:
Scott Henry – Jack Daniels
Phil Wilson – Jager
Ryan McLennan – Jager
Ross Machon – Jager (although, initially said whiskey)

At the end of the interview, they turned the tables and started to interview me. I had to put on ridiculous glasses that were seriously working against my contacts while they drilled me with questions all at the same time. I walked away laughing about my conversation with this rambunctious quartet.


Categories: Interviews


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