Leah Hamer || January 23rd
Lovable, indie-pop quartet Clean Cut Kid have been conquering the hearts of fans all over the globe throughout the course of their ever-growing career. With their quirky, catchy love songs, and vibrant and dedicated performances, it’s no wonder their fan-base expanded so much in 2016. After sampling a Stoke crowd when they supported The Courteeners at Victoria Hall here in November, the foursome are eagerly returning for a one-off, intimate show at The Exchange. REBEL spoke to their cheery keys master, Evelyn Halls, ahead of their visit to the city on Saturday 28th January.
REBEL last caught up with Evelyn, just several hours before she stepped on to Victoria Hall’s grand stage. ‘We were just like excited little kids running around like AHHHH’ Evelyn laughs, remembering our last conversation. ‘The venue was boss, it was huge and the crowd were crazy.’
Hanging out with The Courteeners must have felt daunting, ‘You know what? They were really cool. They’re just this huge indie band, so we were like- will they even talk to us? Will it be really awkward? But they were such nice lads, Liam [singer Liam Fray] especially. He brought us a really nice bottle of whisky at the London show. Really nice and down to earth, always checking if we were okay.’
What made it even more special for Evelyn and her bandmates, was Liam’s hand selection of Clean Cut Kid for their tour. ‘A tour with The Courteeners is known within the industry as being such an amazing tour to get on, because it’s always sold out and the crowds are always mental. So to be handpicked for it was amazing.’
Ending the year on such an esteemed tour was just one of the many highlights that Evelyn recalls of 2016. ‘It was mad. January we did the Live Lounge which was just amazing. Then South By South West Festival in Texas, which was probably the best week of the whole year. We absolutely loved it.’
Then they hit festival season, which gave Evelyn a very special and personal highlight. ‘Glastonbury was probably my favourite, I’d never been there or played before, and we thought nobody would be there to watch us. We started off in the summer with people kind of knowing who we were but the wider audience didn’t really recognise us, until we got to Glastonbury. We’d just released We Used To Be In Love, which got quite a lot of love. So we started the summer out playing to like 100-200 people in tent, thinking yeah this makes sense, to getting to Glastonbury and there was like 3000 people- and we were like where have you come from? Such a surreal turnaround.’
2017 is set to be far bigger and better, however, for this is album year. Me and Mike [frontman and husband to Evelyn, Mike Halls] listened to it this morning and I was running around the flat going oh my god! It felt to us like it’s been such a long road, because once you finish recording, you forget about all the mixing and work that needs to be done. It’s felt like a huge mountain but we’re there now.’
As the question of a release date is mentioned, a smirk arises in Evelyn’s voice, ‘Nothing official yet. I’m sure we’ll be announcing something quite soon(ish). Let’s just say you probably won’t be waiting too long.’ She laughs.
Despite all hailing from different backgrounds, Liverpool is the headquarters of Clean Cut Kid and the musical hub that brought them together. ‘It’s the most creative city I’ve ever live in,’ Evelyn smiles, ‘You feel it everywhere.’
Her husband Mike grew up in the city alongside scouse bandmate, Saul Godman. ‘Mike always had a sense that music was everywhere. His mum and dad always used to say that when he was three, he’d have a Beatles tape on his Walkman, and he’d go on his little tricycle and ride up and down the street until the tape wore out. I think that obsession with music in Liverpool is so well received, whereas in another city, you might struggle to find others like you.’
As they are surrounded by creative minds and emerging bands constantly, Evelyn has a long list of breakthrough artists she’s discovered in the past few years- Lying B*st*rds, Luna, Zuzu, The Vryll Society, Pink Kink, Hooton Tennis Club, Trudy and The Romance, ‘…just amazing stuff coming out. But I wish I got to see more bands, I wish we were around more. That’s the only thing I wish we could do more of.’
We laugh that her and Mike need to take a vacation in Liverpool for a few weeks and catch up on the local scene, but we both know that this holiday will be postponed for quite some time. There’s an album to perfect and endless tours to run. Clean Cut Kid are grabbing 2017 by the horns. One things for sure, they’re not kidding around.
You can catch Clean Cut Kid at The Exchange, presented by Shakedown, on Saturday 28th January. Support comes from local acts, Bonsai., Thieves Asylum and The Torch.
Tickets are available at: http://www.seetickets.com/tour/clean-cut-kid