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Interview: Clay

A uniquely effective marrying of hip-hop beats and indie vibes, Leeds four-piece Clay exploded onto the scene in 2014, and will stop at nothing to reach the top of the music ladder. We chatted with frontman Joe Harvey ahead of the band’s upcoming show at The Leadmill as part of Tramlines Festival.

So, not the first time playing Tramlines – how are you feeling about coming back?

It’s going to be amazing. We played The Rocking Chair last year, and we’d heard loads about how much of a great venue it is. It had this great intimate feel and it was proper rammed! It’s going to be great coming back this year; I absolutely love Tramlines – it’s a lot like Live at Leeds, you know, a whole city festival – and you always get a great vibe from those sort of places.

How does it feel to be playing at such an iconic venue as The Leadmill?

I cannot wait. Obviously it’s such an iconic venue, not just in the city but across the country and all, but I’ve never actually been before this! I’ve been to more-or-less every music venue in Sheffield, all bar Leadmill, if you can believe it.

Are there any acts you’re particularly looking forward to seeing?

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Catfish (I know Van pretty well) and I reckon Dizzee Rascal will put on a good show. I can’t think of anyone specifically, but there’s loads of great Sheffield bands I’ve got my eye on though. We’re just going to stick around and see whoever we can; that’s the great thing about Tramlines, it’s just got a great chilled-out feel to the whole thing.

You’re quickly gaining popularity on the music scene – do you hope playing Tramlines will really help get your name out there?

Most definitely. We’ve not actually played Sheffield that much, but we’ve loved it whenever we’ve come here, and I can’t wait to come again – there’s this instant connection you get with a Sheffield audience because everyone just comes together really well. We’ve got Tramlines coming up as well as our UK tour, so hopefully we’ll be able to put on a great show that the audience’ll love.

You’ve just released your brand new single ‘Honest’, what sort of reception has the track got?

The response has been insane! It’s probably the biggest response we’ve got from a new track, but it’s so different from the stuff we normally do. We usually like to create this sort of indie/hip-hop/pop sort of vibe with a big chorus, but this one’s quite melancholy. But I guess that’s what we really want to do: just progress and evolve.

The TMR article accompanying your track praised you for releasing music with a sharp-minded business perspective; how would you respond to that?

It’s quite hard to put your finger on something like that if I’m honest. I suppose opinions vary person-to-person really, don’t they? I think all it is is that we just understand how to market music, and how to get it out to the right audience. It’s flattering from on perspective, but what it boils down to is that we just love making new music, and people like to listen. We all just want to create music that lasts longer than tomorrow, really.

Obviously you’ve got a pretty unique sort of sound, but who would you say the artists who inspired that sound are?

Personally, I really like ‘80’s stuff; I’m a massive fan of Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5. But I love all sorts of stuff really, ‘90’s R&B like Eternal, modern stuff like Gorillaz, I even like a bit of Duran Duran! But really, I listen to the music itself – the beats, the riffs – music that’ll never die, you know?

Don’t miss Clay’s Tramlines slot at 7.20pm at The Leadmill, or, if you can’t make that, the lads will be playing at The Rocking Chair on the 10th of August.

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