Clothes Make The Man talk Mark Twain, being awesome and dressing (um, undressing) Ryan Reynolds

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

Using this insightful comment from Mark Twain as their banner, Clothes Make The Man have taken Canada by storm. The Toronto-based band, which is comprised of vocalist Ryan McLennan, guitarist Scott Henry, drummer Phil Wilson and bassist Ross Machon, released a new EP on November 2 and has been touring through Ontario and Quebec to promote it. I caught up with Ryan McLennan and Ross Machon before their show at Montreal’s Absynthe to talk about music, movies, Canada and Ryan Reynolds.

Q: That’s a really interesting name. How did you come up with it?

Ryan: It’s a famous saying, and we thought it sounded good.

Ross: Yeah, I think it was Mark Twain who first said it.

Q: So it’s not from watching the 1915 movie with the same name?

Ryan: Sadly, no. But we should really start telling people that it is. We’d sound a lot cooler.

Ross: It looks like a great movie. We should probably watch it.

Q: Have you guys ever played in Montreal before?

Ryan: Yeah, definitely. We’ve played four or five times before. It’s a great city.

Q: How do you like it? Do you think there’s a real rivalry between Montreal and Toronto?

Ryan: I love it. It’s definitely on my “Top Cities To Live In” [along with Halifax and St. John’s.] I don’t think there’s much of a rivalry. They’re just two great cities. I dunno. We’re from Ottawa originally, so I guess we’re just too polite.

Q: What do you think of the Canadian music scene? Is it as unstoppable as it’s seemed lately?

Ryan: There are a lot of awesome export bands and I think that, basically, good music gets heard.

Q: What would you say sets you apart from other bands?

Ryan: You mean, other than being awesome? No, I think it’s that we have high energy on stage and we’re really approachable. Honesty is probably part of it too.

Ross: Yeah, none of that “Too Cool For School” attitude.

Q: How would you define your sound? Who are your major influences?

Ryan: I guess we could define it as the sound of the ’90s.

Ross: Yeah, we grew up in a ’90s rock world, so our influences would be Nirvana, Fugazi and definitely Dinosaur Jr.

Q: What’s up next for you guys? Planning any new stuff?

Ryan: Yeah, we’re continuing the tour in Toronto, Ottawa and other small Ontario towns. Then we’re releasing an EP, which is part of an album that we eventually want to release. Sort of a teaser.

Q: Finally, if you could pick clothes for any man, who would it be and what would you pick?

Ryan: Tom Cruise. With a Clothes Make The Man T-shirt and boots.

Ross: Neil Young. With a nice fitted outfit, get rid of his Bud shirt. And tight jeans and a white tee. Give him a clean look.

Ryan & Ross: Ryan Reynolds. But we’d keep him naked.

For all the latest on Clothes Make The Man: http://www.myspace.com/clothesmaketheman