Clinic are Liverpool’s alt-rock cult legends. Since 1997 they’ve been making fiercely progressive music which is as unique as it is breathtaking. Last year they released Free Reign, their seventh, and arguably their finest, studio album. Still relevant and still doing it their way, they tell Getintothis’ Alan O’Hare we’ve always followed our own path and it’s nice to get recognition for that.
Clinic has been releasing records for a long time.
In fact, they have been recording their distinctive trips for more than a decade now – their first EP was available at the end of the last century!
Yet it somehow seems fitting, and the completion of a perfect circle, for the Scouse quartet to be nominated for The GIT Award in 2013.
They’re almost godfathers of the DIY scene. The aesthetic of the music and how it’s presented almost matters as much as whether they choose to use live drums or programming.
‘Absolutely,’ laughs head Clinic honcho Ade Blackburn.
‘We love giving work to other people we know and admire: sleeves, posters, gigs… whatever.
‘We’ve somehow managed to do that from the very beginning and exist on the periphery without compromising. I would say our naivety has helped us with that though.‘
He’s being modest. Clinic are masters of changing lanes without stepping off the gas.
They have always managed to sound like themselves – even when they do throw in a bit of Kraftwerk, Bo Diddley or Sun Ra.
‘We’re still improving,’ declares Ade. ‘The biggest kick I get out of music is to create and play new things. We’ve been playing lots of the new stuff at the top of the set recently – it sets a nice contrast.‘
He’s not wrong. As ‘the new stuff’ is some of the best music the group have made. Seventh studio album Free Reign – for which they have received this GIT Award nomination – is a belter and a step forward.
Sure, the ever-present sci-fi noises, relentless keyboards and melodica still dominate, but this time the metronomic sounds of drum machines give the songs time to breathe and expand.
‘This record is looser and contains a lot more space,’ reveals the front man.
‘We were deliberately trying to create a mood and move on from the two minutes per song idea or whatever. Sometimes people don’t take to a new record – but the reaction to this one has been great.‘
Clinic always get people talking. No matter if they’re taking to the stage in their now customary surgical scrubs and masks or releasing a remix album within months of the original – Free Reign II is out now, completely remixed by renown producer, Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) – the band never stand still.
‘It’s really flattering that people still consider us relevant,’ says Ade.
‘Compared to the rest of the nominees we’re an older band, but we’ve always followed our own path and it’s nice to get recognition for that.
‘Liverpool has come a long way in the last few years and there’s a lot more going on in the city now. It’s healthy. The GIT Award is a big part of that and another really good idea.‘
Cheers! ‘It’s true,’ laughs Ade. ‘Bands who aren’t on major labels need coverage and things like the GIT Award really help. The original punk, indie or whatever approach has a charm of its own and art created on a shoe string needs highlighting too.‘
Further Clinic reading on Getintothis
Clinic‘s Free Reign in Getintothis‘ top 100 albums of 2012.
Getintothis talk to Clinic: Our new spacey sound is even weirder.
Clinic live at Static Gallery, Liverpool
Clinic: Static Gallery, Liverpool – picture gallery
Clinic live at FestEVOL 2012 at the Kazimier
Clinic live at the Bombed Out Church, Liverpool Sound City 2011.
Liverpool Sound City 2009: Clinic & Seal Cub Clubbing Club: Monochrome.
Further GIT Award 2013 reading
GIT AWARD 2013 shortlist revealed ahead of April 19 Leaf showcase
The GIT Award 2013 the nominees: the shortlisted artists in detail
GIT Award 2013 at Leaf on Bold Street Friday April 19 with £1000 to winners.
For a full list of the GIT Award 2013 judges and their profiles read here.
The GIT Award 2013 returns championing the best of Merseyside music.