If you’re interested in new indie rock that is reminiscent of the alt rock of the late ’80s – ’90s, particularly the British variety, Clayton Road is worth checking out. These guys, hailing from Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, remind me of early britpop, before it got a whole lot poppier. The clean, pared down sound will please fans of The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and anyone who hasn’t heard those bands, but appreciates melodic rock.
The band released a Double A-side single, Wrapped Around/Mercury, this summer. The simplistic nature of the guitar on “Wrapped Around” is rather Smiths-esque, a definite compliment coming from a big Smiths fan like myself. “Mercury” is more upbeat and danceable. The vocals remind me of the Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs, and the music reminds me of Butler’s ’90s project, Love Spit Love. The slightly psychedelic spin on the chorus is reminiscent of Blur’s first album, Leisure, another compliment coming from a Blur fan. Hopefully this description won’t offend frontman Michael, who compares his music to Oasis, and we all know about the war between these two bands and their fans. Here’s Michael’s take on Clayton Road.
Q: How would you describe your sound to prospective listeners?
A: I would describe my sound as driving and energetic, dancey indie and more towards being melodic, rather that straight rock. i.e The Charlatans and The Stone Roses. And some of it has a Manchester sound like Oasis.
Q: How long have Clayton Road been a band and how did you meet/start playing music?
A: I started playing music about 10 years ago [which is] when I started to learn the guitar. Then I decided to do more with it and decided to write songs, then form a band. I am now working with new members and producers and getting ready for more gigs.
Q: What can you tell us about your name and what ‘Clayton Road’ signifies to you?
A: Clayton Road was a place I used to live where I recorded my first ever song and I thought the name was catchy, so I decided to keep it.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your history with labels? You left your American label to produce and promote your own music and have it made available online through Confidential Records – What influenced this change?
A: I left the American label because things were not working out with them at the time, and I wasn’t happy with their attitude. I decided to leave music for a bit, but now have come back to it and signed with Confidential Records U.K.
Q: Do you have any tips for other artists that are starting out and doing the same?
A: Yes, make sure your songs are copyrighted, obviously, and try and use reputable promotion companies, as some can just take your money and you see nothing in return.
Q: I was in Newcastle to interview a band a couple years back – Can you tell us a bit about the music scene in the region today?
A: The music scene seems to be picking up a bit and there seems to be more venues for bands to play now than there was, apart from the main ones in the area like Academy, Arena etc.
Q: Are there any new bands you’re listening to these days?
A: Yes, I quite like Muse, but I will always like my favorites like The Stone Roses, Charlatans, Radiohead [and] I also like the old Seattle sounds like Nirvana, Blind Melon – I could go on forever.
Q: What was the worst and best show you’ve ever played? What, if anything, did you learn from these experiences?
A: We have played a few good gigs at Carling Academy and a big one headlining a charity gig at Newcastle University with loads of people. I would have to say the worst gigs would have to be the ones where people might have a bit too much to drink before the gig. I still enjoy them, but I don’t know about the audience [laughs].
Q: What are your plans for the future in terms of touring, new music, etc.?
A: We are working towards touring at the moment [and] I already have a full album with a good mixture of material ready for release later on in the year probably. I also have a lot more tunes in progress, ranging from rock through to indie/dance type stuff, which will probably become the second album. I like a lot of different styles of music and hate to be kept to one style, so I don’t, but I like to think the music I do is all catchy – no matter what the style. I hope my album, Alright, reflects this.
Clayton Road on MySpace
Buy the Double A-side single HERE