Monday, January 11, 2021

Interview with THE CLEVER REFERENCES by Devin Joseph Meaney

Interview with The Clever References by Devin Joseph Meaney

Hey guys! Please take a moment to introduce yourselves and your band!
ASH: Hey, I’m Ash. I play guitar and sing.
MEL: I'm Mel and I play bass 🙂
EVAN: I'm Evan and I play the drums.
SAM: I’m Sam and I play the keyboards and do synth stuff.

How long have you all been active? And what can we expect from The Clever References in the near future?
ASH: Well the band started as a two-piece in 1 BC (Before Covid ha ha *cri*) with me and Evan the drummer. Mid-2019, I mean. Originally we were going to White Stripes it but then at the tail end of the year we met Mel who was playing bass in another band and we started jamming. Sam, our synth guy, joined mid-2020 after working with us shooting our “Tell Ben Kate” video. He has so much to add to the sound of the band and he’s a cool bloke to boot, so why wouldn’t we add em? The near future we hope to finally release our EP that has been gestating for quite a while and an album soon after! The material is written and we just need the right time to release, also we might write better songs so keeping and open mind there and...I suppose we’re also waiting on the world to change in a way ha ha.

How did you decide on your band name?
ASH: Well we went through a list of dozens of goofy band names and stuff, all too terrible to share here, but we realized that these were all just “clever references” to movies and pop culture stuff so...why not just “The Clever References”? In a way it’s the ur-band-name isn’t it? Ha ha.

What are some major inspirations and influences for The Clever References?
ASH: For me it’s gotta be White Stripes, Weezer...R.E.M. How bout you guys?
MEL: Tame Impala, Placebo, Glass Animals... But on the bass my influences are quite different. In some ways I've been more influenced by the Motown sound and maybe ...Kim Deal from the Pixies!
EVAN: For me as a drummer, I'd say CAN is definitely a band I take inspiration from. A lot of jazz and afrobeat stuff as well, Art Blakey and Tony Allen in particular. More recently Black Midi has been a band that's influenced my style a bit as well.
SAM: I’m pretty into overblown pop stuff - The 1975 and Charli XCX would be two big examples of that right now.

I found the band through Facebook ads. You caught my attention; but have other people been positive towards the band?
ASH: Oh yeah actually! Before when we could actually stage gigs, people have been super positive on us, it’s just that it’s impossible to gig in the pandemic so we turned to Facebook ads to like “gig” for us and the response has been awesome there as well!

For 2021 and forward. What is the main goal of The Clever References?
ASH: Get the album out yeah, definitely.
MEL: Start gigging again once the Melbourne music scene is back on its feet!
ASH: Oh yeah, like we’re getting restless here haha!
EVAN: I think doing a few more songs will be good, even if we can only play them at small or online shows right now. At the end of the day I think the goal is to make music!

7. Has there been any negative response? Everyone has haters (especially if you are doing something right)... so tell us a story of a time that your audience/fanbase was less than kind? And what do you think is the best way to react to a situation like this?
ASH: A couple of stray comments here and there but nothing we’d care to think about ha ha. You gotta be outta sight, outta mind with “haters”, yknow.

8. What is something you love about the music scene in your area? And what is something you are not pleased with?
SAM: The Melbourne open mic scene’s sort of how I got into performing live, and it’s where I met Ash and Evan for the first time. If I had to single one thing out, there’s a lot of variety - people of all walks of life, all ages, lots of different genres. It’s always fun discovering new artists and their unique aesthetics and such.
ASH: What Sam said ha ha!
EVAN: The music scene around Brunswick (an inner-city suburb of Melbourne) is definitely very active and happening. I guess that's also the biggest downside, because it can be quite competitive at times and it's often harder to get a gig than in other places.
MEL: The Melbourne music scene is so vibrant, I read there are more than 500 live music venues. Well that was before Covid though, things might have changed. It's been really tough for venues and musos here. I wish more government funding had gone to the music scene, as it is a vital part of what makes Melbourne a great city to live in.

9. Do you guys look at music as a career? Or is it just something that you all do for fun?
SAM: I think at the heart of it, we do have fun with it - otherwise it wouldn’t be worth putting the hours and the dedication into everything that goes with being a band. It’s the fun that fuels it into being treated as a career, I guess. ASH: The weird thing was when I was tryharding to get noticed and stuff with my projects before TCR, I didn’t get anywhere...but now that I’m just having fun with TCR, we’re going somewhere! It’s a lotta words just to say, I don’t know anymore.
EVAN: For me it's more something on the side at the moment, but if it ever did look like a career that'd be really cool. 

10. Out of all the songs you have already written... name one that holds a special place in your hearts.
SAM: I’m pretty happy with my parts for ‘Oh No (I’m In Danger)’.
ASH: Oh yeah, “Oh No (I’m in Danger)” is a banger for sure! It’s our upcoming single by the way ha ha.
An older song...I think “Tell Ben Kate” is definitely where the band came together. Sam actually supervised and recorded the audio for our viral “Tell Ben Kate” live vid. It was also the first song to be properly written with Mel as our bassist so’s the song that brought us together right, Mel?
MEL: It's our "hit" 😅 When Ash sent us the demo I knew it was going to be a good one because it is very catchy. It was also one of the first songs I worked on when I joined the band and I remember being super excited to add some basslines to it.

11. What is something that needs to be expelled from the music scene as a whole? Racism... sexism... misogyny... anything! What do you guys consider to be ''unacceptable''?
ASH: If you’d ask me from ten years ago, I might have come up with a more passionate, blanket response ha ha. And all the things you mentioned are all counterproductive to actually being in a healthy society let alone a music scene. So I can’t pick just one ha ha.
We as a band always make sure that TCR shows will be an all-inclusive affair as best as we can!

12. Lastly... please spend some time talking about anything (ANYTHING) that you want to talk about that I may have forgotten to ask! No word limit!
ASH: Can’t think of anything to be honest! 

13. Any final comments? *Please drop any and all links and promo here*
Hey so here’s some important info:
We have a new single coming out called “Oh No! (I’m in Danger)” on the 15th of January!
Here’s our press release about it and feel free to use the info in your piece!

Thanks so much! 

-Devin Joseph Meaney

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