Antics with attitude in Aberdare: The Nukes and Clay Statues

Have you ever made a spur of the moment decision and gone off on a whim, chasing a gut feeling? And don’t you just love it when this pays off? Well, I recently trucked off up to Aberdare in the valleys of South Wales on one of these whims. This particular whim was to go and check out a couple of bands from Aberdare whom I had only just come across thanks to a good friend who lives there. The bands I went to see play were The Nukes and Clay Statues, and I was so pleased to find that the journey was well worth it, as both bands played blinding sets at The Glandover Arms.

The opening band of the night was Say When!, a young indie rock band. These guys played with great enthusiasm, but I have to say that they did not really do much for me. Their style of rock just blended into the vast collection of so many other similar bands who sadly fail to stand out from this bland majority of young and enthusiastic acts.However, next up on set was The Nukes. Homegrown in Aberdare, these guys are a mixture of punk/grunge/dub/indie consisting of Geeky on guitars and vocals, Butch on bass, Gaz on drums and Llew on keys. The Nukes originally formed in 2008 as a trio coming from two punk bands. In 2010 Llew joined the band and added his keyboards into the mix. This group of experienced and accomplished musicians played a fantastic set, blasting out their own style of energetic rock while taking no prisoners. There were a couple of dub/punk numbers and these were both excellent. This band perform a perfect crossover of genres, all blended and performed to perfection. If you can imagine a combination of Motorhead and The Offspring with a touch of The Clash, plus some hardcore punk and some dub, then you won’t be far wrong. Their list of influences include Nirvana, NIN, Dead Kennedys, Beck, NOFX, Black Sabbath, The Clash, Johnny Cash and many more! The Nukes are well worth checking out.

Next on set, after a short break, was Clay Statues, another band from Aberdare. This inspired little two-piece outfit consists of Dorian Holmes on bass and high vocal abuse plus Dorian Adkins on the drums and slight vocal abuse. They describe themselves as punk/disco/rock/fun times, and I agree with this but would drop the disco.

This inspirational duo played a set which captivated and commanded attention from the onset of the first number. The basic combination of bass guitar plus pedals and a drum kit works amazingly well. This pair of Dozzers create such a wickedly resplendent sound packed with so much vividly inspired bias in the lyrics. Doz Holmes fires these out with a venomous snarl, articulating and inflecting like a true social threat. With a little backing from Doz Adkins, the vocals variate from easygoing indie fashion to full-on screamo/hardcore. Just like a good alcoholic beverage, the mesmerizing tunes that these guys bang out are so hard to put down once started. I strongly advise you to keep an eye on the Clay Statues MySpace page, as they are giving away a selection of tunes entitled ‘Free Shit’ and believe me – this is all good shit. In fact I am feeling so generous and needing to share this good shit that I am giving you the link here!

I had a  little chat with Doz Holmes on behalf of Rock and Roll Report…

Q. In your own words, what do Clay Statues have to offer listeners?

A. We can offer sexy, loud, chaotic, cathartic two-piece dance/punk music. A constant barrage of new material and our lovely valleys accents.

Q. I already know that you have supported The Damned, but have you played alongside any other big names that readers may recognize?

A. Early on in the band’s history we supported Jubilee (made up of members of QOTSA, NIN) at their Reading Festival warm up show in Cardiff. As well as The Damned, we’ve supported Stiff Little Fingers in Reading and the almighty Reef in Nottingham.

Q. As Clay Statues just consist of you on bass and the other Doz on drums, does this help or hinder creativity and how?

A. In many ways I think that it helps the creative flow because we can never be lazy; we have to rely on the tools at hand. It can be pretty exciting at times, especially when people are digging what we’re doing.

Q. Could you tell us a little about your forthcoming EP release, and maybe a little about your previous releases?

A. The new EP is called A Town on the Edge of the World and it has three tracks on it. It represents a lot personally, the lyrical content is quite personal, more so than anything we’ve done previously. We’re releasing that in the next four weeks. We’re also aiming to get another EP/mini album of new stuff out in the next three months, along with a new FREE SHIT EP every month – it keeps things quite interesting.

The first thing we ever released was in 2008 when Matthew Davies was still drumming, that was called When I Was Your Age Pluto Was Still a Planet. A lot of the songs were re-recorded for Yay, Volcano! We were going to release another EP at the end of 2009 called Eastern Bloc Winter (one of the songs made it’s way onto Y,V!) but that was shelved when Matthew left. Once Dorian Adkins joined, he added quite a bit to the existing songs, as well as us writing new songs. Our ‘first’ EP Yay, Volcano! was recorded in Cardiff at the start of 2010 and released in May. We recorded a few more tracks over the summer and added them to the EP to make Yay, Volcano V.2.

Q. What are your hopes and aspirations for the future of Clay Statues?

A. It’s to continue doing what we do, to build on the relationships made in 2010 and to continue writing and recording new material. If we don’t keep moving, we’re going to start to rust.

Q. What influences your song writing the most: life experience or the work of other artists?

A. In terms of writing songs, they either come out of jams in the practice room or I have some sort of idea and I take it to Adkins and we’ll work on it. Sometimes, there are already lyrics, other times, I’ll take what we’ve done away and write words to go on top. But the main groove of the song is always a 50/50 thing.

Lyrically, I take inspiration from popular culture and thoughts that go through my head. There’s always a certain subject matter I can go back to, which makes its way into a lot of songs, consciously and sub-consciously.

Q. Can you recommend any other bands/acts to readers?

A. Certainly! Ch-ch-check out these bands: The Nukes, Aulos, Zinc Bukowski, Henry’s Funeral Shoe, 4 Brothers, Broken Vinyl Club, Add-Mission, Gung Ho, Sicknote, and Little Eris.

Two quality DJs to check out are DJ Tommy Tank and Mike Freear.

If you want to have a listen to what we were doing before Clay Statues check out The Firebrand, Mook, Dischordance and The Smut Puppets.

For all the latest on Clay Statues: http://www.myspace.com/claystatues

For more on The Nukes: http://www.myspace.com/nukepunx