The Clockworks are a rock band out of Galway, but relocated to London, where they’ve been signed by Alan McGee’s Creation Records, but continue to forge their own path.
Deliberately located slightly outside of the natural musical heartlands of London, they draw disparate influences, feeling equally inspired by a range of different scenes. The live show, we’re told, is pretty epic, and they’re just been on Soccer Am in front of millions.
These guys are on their way…
Congrats on the new single. ‘The Future Is Not What It Was’ feels like a message for our time. At the risk of asking the obvious, what specifically worries you at the moment?
This song was written a while ago, and coincidentally it seems to be the right song for us to put out at the moment. We’ve had it recorded and planned for release in May-June since last year, but I think a lot of the ideas it touches upon are so prevalent in the public conscience now; one of the central ideas being that we may feel so much more advanced than 50 or 100 years ago, but a lot of the major issues are still the same.
To be honest, it feels like there is a lot to be worried about.
The murder of George Floyd is horrific and sickening. The Black Lives Matter protests that have followed Worldwide, and the increased awareness that they have provoked, are hopefully a sign of the door opening to elicit real change. As many people have rightly pointed out, well, publicized, overt acts of racism are the tip of a huge insidious iceberg of this discrimination. That’s extremely worrying.
COVID-19 of course is a big one. Because it has and continues to affect every element of normality, it feels like nothing is as it should be. Like most people, we’re just trying to keep our heads down and get on with it really. For us personally, it has definitely given us time to see family, take stock, make plans, and do some writing. We’re lucky to have had that opportunity, there are so many people who haven’t been as fortunate.
You seem to draw influences from that jagged, in-your-face Mancunian scene. Do you also look at what’s going on this side of the pond, and the recent rock success stories?
There isn’t really a precedent of many bands coming out of Galway, and I think this was great for us because musically we felt almost equally as removed from Dublin as we did from London or Manchester or New York. We took in everything, and it all felt like a possibility for us, because we never had the pressure of conforming to the norms of a scene. Galway has a small and strong community of artists who are all completely different, but supportive of each other. It’s great to see Irish bands making a splash over the last few years, and becoming part of the wider culture of bands and artists.
How has moving to London changed you as a band? Can you still hear that Galway influence?
Yes! I think it’s made us work harder, and work smarter. There is so much quality and quantity around all the time that it keeps you on your toes, which we love.
The Galway influence is still there in the sense that we still feel like we’re in our own bubble a bit. We moved to a part of North West London where there aren’t many other bands at all, so it feels like we’ve still got a bit of the feeling that Galway gave us of doing our own thing without pressure to sound like/unlike anyone else. But now we’re a 20-minute tube away from the heart of this amazing scene.
What do you make of the London scene, and trying to get noticed in such a big city?
The London scene is great. We’ve made friends with some great other bands, and it’s cool seeing them at different gigs and stuff. It’s definitely harder to get noticed because of the volume of bands vying for ears, but that challenge is great I think.
We see going on stage as a chance to win people over with our songs. And some people love it and some people hate it, and that’s what it’s about really. I think if you see it only as a direct competition with other bands you’re already losing. It’s far more liberating to be friendly, and to keep your head down and earn yourself support.
How has it been signing with Creation 23?
Great. Alan McGee was obviously someone we knew loads about and respected a lot before we met. We had just arrived in the “Big City” and this legend was coming to see us play, and ended up loving us.
He and Creation have been great to work with. He invests in people, as well as songs. He’s got a great mind, and he’s willing to try something new or a bit left-field if it feels right. We really trust each other and can bounce ideas all day long which is rare and amazing.
What did you make of the Soccer AM experience?
Soccer AM was brilliant. Everyone there is lovely and they’re really supportive. We played the first show of the season, and just before we played one of the producers came over to tell us there were currently 3.5million viewers. We tried not to dwell on that one for too long until we’d played.
What are you like as a live band?
This is where I would be saying to come find out at one of the following gigs we have scheduled…but that’s gone out the window a bit. Pretty intense I think. We give 100% to every song, every gig. It’s hard to describe really. I don’t usually remember much after walking on stage.
How far off is an album at this point?
We’re not in a hurry with an album yet. We know where we want to be when we put out an album, and it’s just about working up to that place.
Is the shutdown giving you an opportunity to write at all?
I think it’s been hit and miss actually. We haven’t had much chance to practice together so far, because 3 of us came back home for a bit. But I think we’ve all had productive days. I (James) would usually go somewhere busy like a café or pub to write lyrics, so that’s not really been an option. I’ve still been able to write though, and the current situation definitely gives plenty of food for thought.
What are your hopes for the future of the band?
We’re just looking forward to getting back to playing gigs, writing loads and recording more songs. Once we have that, then we can talk about that coveted Glastonbury headline.