One of the most underated bands right now is Claypigeon, having been going for a while now they’ve yet to find the same amount of success as some of their friends and peers who you will often find them playing with. Having recently released a brand new EP (that gained 8 out of 10 on Sound-Rev), their first release as a three-piece band, Claypigeon are yet again doing the rounds live, tonight I see them as the main support for other Sound-Rev favourites New Town Kings at the Camden Barfly. After the show, and quite a few drinks, we squeezed into their car for an interview, here is how it went down, or what of our half hour chat I deem publishable…
You recently recorded an EP with Pete Miles, how was that?
Jak: Wonderful, absolutely wonderful, we’ve done like absolutely terrible little, sort of DIY studios and we’ve done gigs in DIY studios as well and then we did the last album, ‘Time Won’t Cease’, we done that ourselves as John’s university project, so it was an absolute pleasure to do something decent you know, Pete is a really really nice bloke and he actually not only has the equipment but he knows how to use it and that does make a massive difference. It was an absolutely beautiful day, it was only a day which is the unfortunate thing, we did three songs, in a day, which is a rush, but that said it was just a fucking pleasure to do it with him, we wanted to get like the three tunes down and released as soon as possible cause now there is only three of us we just wanted something that people could hear and they could understand what we sound like now, because we’re still selling ‘Time Won’t Cease’ and that has got the four of us on it and we don’t sound like that anymore, it’s really good to get something down really quick with someone who knows what they are doing, it’s just a pleasure.
John: He didn’t really have enough time to produce us I don’t think but he did help us to slow things down and speed things up and saying things like “what you doing that for, stop doing that”, that kind of thing, which is really good.
Jak: He liked John’s bass pedals; he said “interesting” maybe 15, 17 times at the beginning of using them. He does some bands we like as well and he is a good guy to go to, when the album comes around if we have the money and if he’s up for it we’ll definitely do it with him.
Why did you decide on the ‘pay what you want’ method for your EP?
Jak: We wanted to do a CD release but we were a bit scared because obviously it’s quite a new thing now because there are now three of us so we were a bit scared that no one would buy it, there was lots of reasons that was one of them. The main thing with a CD is that you pay for the CD so if you want to get CD’s made up it doesn’t matter if you put 3 tracks or 15 tracks on it you pay to have the CD’s made, it’s kind of hard to sell a 3 track CD I think, the other thing was just stealing it, like I said we recorded with Pete Miles, we just wanted to get 3 tracks done and out there, I wanted to do pay 1p or more but it turned out that was just too fucking complex to comprehend, I’m not entirely keen on that you give away the music for free, you know what I mean, cause I think enough people nick it that you shouldn’t really give it away for free as then you kind of stick yourself up like it’s not worth anything, it should be worth something. It is basically free, the pay what you want thing is kind of, I don’t want to be like Radiohead but it’s nice to get a bit of money for it. I think it is worth something, I don’t want to tell people what to do but I think it is worth something so it’s kind of a nice way.
John: We were umming and arring about it but the final factor was if it’s 1p then you had to pay 1p, and we assumed if that’s the smallest you’ve got to pay quite a lot people are just gonna pay 1p, which is really annoying, it means you can’t buy it if you’re not over 15 or however old you have to be to have a debit card or a credit card and also we wouldn’t get any money from that because of PayPal, they’d just take all the 1p’s so…
Jak: It wasn’t about making money from the 1p thing, it’s just the fact that you know it’s worth something you know, so you should have some sort of effort to get it, you shouldn’t like just click your fingers, like people expect these days cause there’s so much stuff you can download for free, you just sort of click a button and ‘oh I’ve got it’ you don’t appreciate it. But the 1p thing just didn’t fucking make any sense and the other thing people just don’t have PayPal, John said that, and I caved into that in the end as I don’t want people to not be able to get it, you know, I’d rather everyone listened to it and it was money that we made off of ‘Time Won’t Cease’ so we spent that and were back to square one saving up for the album, which is the next step, and that won’t be fucking free (*laughs*) and it’ll be physical as well, they’ll be CD’s, nothing like having a CD, I’d much rather do a CD every time but it made more sense this time.
Have you ever thought of vinyl then, on a personal basis, I always prefer a physical release but if I spend my money I want to spend it on a nice record rather than a CD when you might as well have the digital files?
John: Me and Jak vary on this completely. I’m a sad record geek so I like all my records and I like all my vinyl’s but I actually prefer the bonuses of vinyl that you can just put in a download code so you can just bypass the CD which everyone apart from me seems to have gone off of in terms of getting it, so you get the collectable thing and if you don’t have a record player you can have some crazy coloured vinyl and be like (*puts on silly voice*) “oh it looks pretty” and then you just listen to it on your iPod anyway.
Jak: I definitely agree that a vinyl is better. We done a tape really recently, with Ben from Tyrannosaurus Alan, called Broken Toy Music, it’s the only physical copy of ‘Compass’ which is on our new EP and it’s much much better to do a physical thing, but my problem with vinyl is that it’s a little bit… elitist isn’t really the word but most people don’t have a vinyl player and it’s a collectible thing and that’s great but everybody’s got a CD player and that’s always been my sort of attitude, I think vinyl is a much better thing but I don’t really buy it just on the download code, I don’t know, we had a little debate but I think ultimately you got to still do CD’s because with vinyl you have to be really really into music to own something that plays vinyl and I don’t want only people who are you know, record geeks being the ones able to listen to our music, even though I love them people, I don’t want it to be exclusively them, I want everyone to be able to play it and that’s the only reason really.
You’ve been doing shows all over recently, any highlights?
Az: Our nicknames in Sheffield. We got nicknames by this nice girl Jess, I can’t remember the names but John knows them…
John: I just know mine, I was called Imogen, I don’t know why.
Az: Imogen (pointing at John), Hackney Mark (pointing at himself), and Not Mark (pointing at Jak)
Jak: We did do quite a decent gig as well. Liverpool was fucking brilliant.
Az: Leeds where we invaded our mates house and just ruined his night by just playing Fifa.
Jak: Maybe we should go for musical highlights.
John: Liverpool was a banger.
Jak: Yeah Liverpool was good.
Az: Cambridge was pretty memorable.
Jak: Yeah, when we played, in the middle of ‘Compass’, a fight broke out, we stopped, everyone got involved in the fight, everyone left, and the people who were remaining in the venue to watch us built a human pyramid for the rest of the song, so that is something that doesn’t happen often.
John: I think they made it to cheer us up, ‘oh sorry everyone left, what could we do, oh let’s make a human pyramid’.
Az: That human pyramid only started because I thought the original fight was a human pyramid and me not being able to shut my mouth mentioned it down the mic and they just thought yeah, let’s give them a pity pyramid.
Jak: Pretty good, erm, pretty good fight though. The Skints one the other day was good too, in Kingston, that was really good, a fucking pleasure to play with them always, and to help them in some very small way, it was a good cause. It was a good show actually, everyone was really nice, there’s not always that many very happy and very friendly people, that’s got to be a highlight.
Jak, you recently did a track with Tyrannosaurus Alan, how did that come about and did you enjoy being a part of it?
Jak: We toured with them last… June? It was a really good, really enjoyable tour and we got on really well with them, we did the track, John mixed it and they asked me to do the vocals so I was over the moon about that and me and John done it together in his room…
Az (In a comedic tone): They did it together in John’s room. (*lot’s of laughter*)
Jak: Yeah that’s how we do it together all the time. Erm anyway, today we recorded it in Maida Vale so it’s been really cool to be involved in that. There’s not a huge amount of bands that we get on really well with, not that we don’t get on with other people, but they’re in our tight circle of very close band friends, lovely lovely people and hopefully we’ll tour with them again soon.
What is next for the band Claypigeon?
Jak: We have a few dates in July, Cardiff and Bristol…
Az: Nottingham, London… We were gonna play at an animal sanctuary but John’s too busy.
Jak: No the reason we can’t do the animal sanctuary is because were doing that gig with…. what they called?
Jak: Chocking Victim yeah, we’ve got a couple of dates with Choking Victim in July and a few others and that will kind of make it into a tour and make it make sense.
Az: I’m personally upset we’re not playing the animal sanctuary, I would have loved to see a tiger’s reaction to Claypigeon.
John: I looked on the website and it’s like cows, chickens, there’s no tigers…
Az: A Cow might start squirting milk at you Jak!
Jak: After that, then an album, we are trying to write at the moment, we are getting there, we’ve got bits. Doing a full-length album is the next step, then we’ll be properly a new band, at the moment we’ve just got the old album which is good but as a three-piece it sounds completely different so it will be good to have a whole set written as three, played as three.
You mix a lot of different genres in your music making it hard to put a label on Claypigeon, what would you label Claypigeon?
Jak: We’ve taken to just calling it punk rock now. The only thing that flows through in every song is some vague punk influence, it’s always got something to do with punk, loosely, and it’s mostly just to do with my vocals being slightly out of tune, but it’s the approach to it rather than the actual music itself, we play any genre in a slightly punky, slightly messy chaotic way.
Claypigeon’s ‘EP3′ is out as pay what you want via bandcamp now.