Derry band The Clameens look set to join Ireland’s formidable cast of renowned, gifted musicians as they continue to take the music scene by storm.
The young men from Creggan and Ballyarnett have been happily steering their own course and along the way, picking up flattering comparisons with some of the biggest bands in the world, while also being lauded for their unique beat pop, catchy soundscapes and live shows.
The band have notched up appearances on Radio 1, 6Music and RTE’s Other Voices.
They were also selected as one of MTV’s Unsigned bands of 2014, with TV performances on BBC & RTE, while making their presence felt on the festival circuit and supporting acts such as The Undertones and Professor Green.
The group’s determination to hone their talent and produce top quality material has paid off as Creggan lads, Sean Breslin (lead singer), Hayden Diver (drummer) and Ethan Diver (lead guitarist), and ‘the best blow in from Ballyarnett’ as his bandmates would have it, Colum Doyle (bass and newest member to the band) have now been signed to respected London independent label 25 Hour Convenience Store.
The band were understandably in fine form this week when the ‘Journal’ caught up with them for a question and answer session.
Q) How and when did the band come about? Were you all mates and had you all played together before?
A) The band formed with Sean and Hayden back in St Peter’s in the music room of the school.
Ethan, the youngest member of the band and Hayden’s brother, joined the band after begging Hayden to join the band. Colum was the newest addition to the band but was well known on Derry’s busking scene for a while.
Q) How quickly were you able to establish your own sound and identity, and how would you describe the band in musical terms?
A) The Clameens’ formation came together quickly but our rumble beat pop sound has been growing over a long period of time. Funnily enough, the person who branded our sound as rumble beat pop was Stuart Bailie from BBC ‘Across The Line’.
For us it was struggle to pinpoint The Clameens sound because there is a big soup of influences, individually brought by each of us to our sound. When Stuart wrote about our sound we felt - at last - categorised correctly with the ‘Rumble Beat Pop’ thing.
Q) You’ve been compared to many leading bands, contemporary and from the past, but have also been able to forge your own identity. Do you feel the pressure of expectation?
A) We don’t feel pressure at all, we take some elements from many of our musical heroes, but we never replicate them the exact same.
To leave an imprint on the music walls you got to etch your own path.
Q) Who would you say were your collective influences?
A) We could fill an entire paper with influences but just to name a few we respect bands and artists such as Arctic Monkeys, U2 , The Beatles, The Who, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Jeff Buckley, and of course The Libertines.
Funnily enough, as we were growing up The Libertines were a big influences on us, and now Gary from the band is our label boss and signed us.
The first song we listened to as a signed band was U2’s first single ‘Out Of Control’.
Q) It seems your diary is fast filling up. Which gigs are you most looking forward to over the coming months and are there any plans for an album now you’ve signed up with the label?
A) We are starting to notice the diary filling up very quickly. We were in Liverpool just last week performing at the famous SOUND CITY Festival, and this was where we signed our deal too.
But we got back on the Monday and went straight back in to writing. At the rehearsal room our manager told us ‘You are in London for two gigs now in the next two weeks.’
We have a few big shows that we can’t announce yet but just check out our socials, and our first EP will be released worldwide on 25 Hour Convenience Store in the summer. So keep your eyes peeled.
Q) In terms of exposure for the band and output, how important is it to sign to a label? Was it important for you guys to sign with an independent label?
A) Luckily enough we have our 5th member, Mark our manager who has been with us from the start, He secured the deal for us.
We have had previous interest from some bigger labels over the past while, but we wanted to go with an indie for our first couple of releases. So we went with 25 Hour - they are based in London and run by a Gary (Powell from The Libertines) and Wayne Clarke, with a great in-house team of people.
It’s small but it has signed some really top class acts such as The Jacques and Bright Young People. For us, we think that having an indie label supporting and bringing our music to a bigger audience its important for growth, we can develop with the label and develop our music.
We are so delighted with everything around us, the label, the team, it’s awesome.
Q) How would you characterise the current music scene in Derry? Is there a lot of camaraderie between musicians and do you think the city and region’s musical prowess is alive and well given the wealth of bands and artists composing and performing their own material?
A)Not just because we are from Derry but we think that Derry’s music scene is probably the best in Ireland.
It has a wealth of talent and emerging talent- like we have Soak who is now a household name in the UK music scene.
It’s fantastic to see. Our scene is so alive, bands are making pathways here to bigger things.