Are your earballs feeling insufficiently tickled by the feathers of the current metal scene? Feeling like there must be something new, fresh, and savage out there for you to wrap your trembling fingers around and hold close like a fraggle in the winter time? Well, here to tell you why they might just be the droids you’re looking for, we sat down with Derbyshire’s Clawback the Day to chat about hopes, dreams, drinking, and leaving the lead singer behind at gigs.
Clawback the Day are Craig Nash, Adam Greenway, Colin Thring, Matt Scott, and Damon Downs, all Derbyshire born gents with the exception of South African born Colin. So, call me Mr old predictable trousers (which is kind of mean so actually no don’t), but first thing’s usually first and so we began by asking what Clawback The Day were up to at the moment.
“At the moment,” they begin. “As a band we are busy writing new material to get a full album’s worth and to hopefully record soon. Rehearsals are focusing on this gig with While She Sleeps, as want to put on the heaviest tightest show we can.”
Obviously While She Sleeps are one of the most popular British metal bands currently carving up stages and sludge piles across the known universe, so it’s a big opportunity for Clawback the Day, but it’s also a well-deserved one. For all the criticisms one could level at most bands, a lack of commitment is certainly not a viable one for these guys.
“As for the band,” vocalist Craig adds. “We have been writing loads of new material in preparation for our support slot with the brutal While She Sleeps at Real Time Live in Chesterfield on September 18. We are so stoked to play this and our new tunes are really f***ing awesome, we are sounding better than ever, but hey I’m going to say that because I love writing music with these reprobates.”
Of course, it’s all well and good getting these fairly high profile support slots, but for you dear readers that’s not enough is it? Is it? Answer me! Fine, I’ll pretend that was rhetorical. So, just for you readers desperate for more info, we dug a little deeper to find out why the band think that you should be listening to them.
Craig begins with a grin again. “Clawback The Day is five dudes from different parts of the world, getting together to write killer riff-driven music that blows the very tits of people. We have such a diverse taste in music in the band, from Thrash to Grunge, from Punk to metal, it’s just dirty-ass, beat-making, lung-bleeding, kick-ass stoner metal. If you like metal fast, slow, hard, soft or all of the above you need to listen to us. In my opinion we don’t sound like any other band because we have so many influences.”
Health warning: pertaining to the above statement made by Craig Nash of Clawback The Day. As a true professional, I felt it only right that I first trial the music and the vocalist’s suggested consequences of doing so. I can confirm that only metaphorically were my moobs blown off. In a physical sense they still remain proudly and unimpressively positioned on my doughy torso.
“We also bring a high energy!” Bass player Adam adds. “Whether we’re playing to three people or two hundred, we’re ever professional and ever so slightly sarcastic.”
Guitarist, Colin gave us an insight into how they have managed to gain enough of a reputation to start picking up these more high-profile slots:
“It’s simple, play a good show, get a good response, gain a loyal fan base who love what you do. I love being in this band and we are all so driven mentally and physically in getting this band where it needs to be. Our following is growing daily, which is so really humbling too.”
“It was such good news hearing that we could support While She Sleeps! They’re a band making a huge mark on the scene at the moment and to be on a bill with them is unreal. It came about with them being local to the music shop Real Time Music, which has an incredible venue upstairs, Real Time Live. We have been so lucky being offered such a huge opportunity and it will be the biggest show CTD have played.”
Listening to Clawback The Day, it’s pretty evident that there is a wide spectrum of influences threading their way through the band’s sound. Obvious influences such as Lamb of God and Tool are readily apparent. The sound is savage but there is also a great deal of intricate technical work going on and some genuinely well-crafted song writing. So we shoved a few more whisky’s across the table and them about the spectrum of sounds that have crafted Clawback The Day.
“Mike D all the way!” Laughs Adam, “but I am also a massive fan of INME and you can print that! They’ll all laugh but f**k em.”
“There are so many vocalists and lyricists that inspire me as well as bands and people in general,” says Craig thoughtfully. “For years I based my voice around Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, but over the years I’ve developed my own style. When I was at Uni I met an inspirational guy called Steve Dark who really taught me breath control and how to use the power of my voice from the diaphragm. I only started screaming at around 2005 and then heard about Melissa Cross and ‘The Zen of Screaming’ which has been a massive help in preparing vocals. My top three vocalists are, Maynard James Keenan of Tool / A Perfect Circle, Lamb of God Screamer Randy Blythe, and Layne Staley from Alice In Chains.”
We’d spoken a great deal about the upcoming support slot, but with their star on the rise, surely it won’t be long before I’m interviewing an excitable bunch of young whisky-swilling upstarts who are all giddy at the prospect of supporting Clawback The Day so I had to ask: Are there any bands currently out there that Clawback the Day would happily murder a Fraggle to have support them?
“Killswitch Engage,” states Adam without missing a beat.
“Killswitch mother f****r!” Adds Damon sweetly.
There’s a couple of votes for Machinehead, before the boys agree on the final consensus that:
“We will play wherever there is whisky and beer.”
Naturally, as there was beer and whisky flowing, it would have been imprudent not to follow up the mention of Killswitch without playing a quick round of every metal fan’s favourite game: Jesse or Howard? The response is a landslide victory for Jesse, which Damon summarises by stating:
“Jesse for me. I love Howard’s voice, it’s epic sounding, but Jesse’s got that voice now and an awesome scream that commands an audience.”
Adam quickly gets us back on track by giving us an insight into the bands philosophy and what inspires the song writing of Clawback The Day.
“Too many young bands are trying to sound like their heroes. We came into this with an attitude that we don’t want to be specifically like anyone else we want to be like us. We all take inspiration, but it’s how you transpose that into music that will stand the test of time.”
“It’s like one of our latest tracks,” Craig adds. “It was inspired by the book/t.v show Dexter, it’s called ‘Dark Passenger’ and is one of our fastest songs. It’s brutal. I love the riffs and beat in that song.”
If you really can’t get to a Clawback the Day show anytime soon (in other words – before they take over the world), then they’ve been generous enough to put together some video loveliness for you. I asked them about their latest vid.
“Aww dude that was filmed in a basement,” Adam explains. “It was an awesome day. The problem for me was when I filmed my individual piece, the ceiling was quite low so being 6’2″ I basically had to bend over double.”
“It’s funny,” Nash says. “Because that’s our second EP ‘Dont Talk to Me’ with the B-side being our first EP ‘Bring Me The Rain’ remixed and mastered. It was filmed by ‘Tim Browne’ and ‘Heather Burns’ at Rock Shots photography and to be fair it’s probably our least heavy song. I’m immensely proud of it and the story it tells through the visuals. The song is about taking a stand against people who try to shut you up or slag you off.”
“The funny thing,” Adam adds before deciding to give us some info that is decidedly unfunny. “With that vid, which again is an inside joke, is that when we filmed I was in renal failure, the part where we were all drinking JD they had it from a glass and myself at that moment in time couldn’t drink so I decided to grab the bottle and swig straight from it. Good job it was only apple juice.”
Luckily Mr Greenway had a successful operation back in February and is back rocking as hard as it’s possible for someone rocking a bass to rock. The health troubles coupled with Colin fleeing back to South Africa for a while at the start of the year may have slowed things down a little but it’s obvious that absence doesn’t just make the heart grow fonder, but makes a metal band, erm, metal harder.
“It’s taken a while to get back into but it is going stronger,” Colin says. Before adding an anecdote about a gig where they decided to leave their singer behind at the end of a show. “Yeah, we deliberately left him behind.” He laughs, “it was an easy choice.”
A glum-faced Craig expanded for us. “Yeah, there was very little discussion involved. We were a four piece back then, before Damon came on board, and it was like, ‘Nash you are catching the train back’ and ‘I was like, what? really?’ and they were like ‘Yep’.”
Craig also added a few more words to the story. However, if I printed those here, this would be my final article, and you readers just aren’t that lucky I’m afraid.
It’s obvious that Clawback the Day have got a massive amount of love for their homestead and Real Time Music Live as a venue, but we wondered if there was a dream venue or festival that the boys would love to play.
Colin John Thring: “Wacken Open Air would be a dream festival-wise,” says Colin. “And then Brixton academy in London.”
“Dream Venue would be Nottingham Rock City,” says Craig, “just because it’s so intimate. I saw Lamb of God play there and absolutely slay it. Dream Festival would be Download on the 2nd Stage, simply because that way people have to choose to come and see you because 9 times out of 10 at Download you are near the main stage, whenever I go I always plan that s**t weeks in advance, I’m quite a music geek in that sense.”
“Bloodstock!” Adds Adam, “we may even enter Metal to the Masses.”
Of course, in an ideal world music could be the sole purpose for all musicians but annoyingly life often has other ideas. In addition to earning pennies, fatherhood has also become a reality for a portion of the band, so we queried how tricky it is to find a balance between being a parent and being in a band.
“It can be tough,” says Damon frankly. “Being a full time musician and a father is all about balance. Finding time for myself is hard. But, I f*****g love my daughter and I f*****g love music so I make it work. Just simply embrace it all to its fullest and I’ll worry about me when it all stops.
As previously noted, Clawback The Day may not say it themselves, but it’s clear from the briefest of meetings with them, that a great deal of care and attention is paid to the crafting of their songs. Their sound is powerful and will hit you in all your favourite places, but there is an astute ear for melody evident throughout their tunage. I wanted to know what they thought was more difficult: writing a killer riff or writing a melody.
Colin is the first to remove his glass from his mouth. “I’m more into riffs. Damon is the king if both though.”
“I do f*****g love both,” Damon confirms. “A great song is a great song, whether it’s Simon and Garfunkel or motorhead.”
“Well I’m gonna say melody right?” says Craig, “I try to be as inventive as possible with my vocals whether it is screaming or singing, I like pace control and tempo in vocals, like the way you present syllables. The band challenges me whenever we are writing, they come out with a riff, usually by Damon, then Col just seems to go effortlessly over the top with another riff, then matt works out a simple pattern before filling it out. I get a melody in mind, and Adam completes it with the groove and then we just jam over the top. It’s really organic, it just sort of ‘happens’. Usually I will hear a riff or a beat and it just feels so good. It’s like a sudden rush.”
Sadly the whisky bottles had emptied and we had to bid a fond farewell to Clawback the Day, but before we tearfully waved farewell and wandered forlorn into the lashing Derbyshire rain, the boys let us know what was next on the agenda for Clawback The Day.
“What’s next?” They tell us, with a hopeful gleam in their eyes (although that could be the booze). “More gigs. We just want to get our music out there. More likes on FB, more watches of our video, more subs on our YouTube page, more songs, sponsorship, all the things that should happen to us. I know that sounds pretentious but I really do believe in the band that much. I eat, sleep and breathe this. In 2015 I hope to have played many more gigs and be completing an album.”
If you want to know more about Clawback The Day you can check them out on Facebook here:
And you can catch Clawback The Day supporting While She Sleeps at Real Time Live in Chesterfield on Thursday the September 18.