"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where a recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
TWELVE CLAY FEET: "Totem Bells"
Twelve Clay Feet and their album 'Totem Bells' - U.K./Cambridge rock with the spirit of fellow Cambridge rocker, Syd Barrett, constantly hanging above them like a gloomy ghost of music past. They're obviously caught up in the Brit-rock scene, featuring influences from many different acts including the likes of Zeppelin, Verve, Pink Floyd, Joy Division, as well as the U.S. sound of Nickelback. Find out more about the album, here's: Twelve Clay Feet...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
We've had some fantastic reviews so far, including high marks from ‘Guitarist’ magazine. Our loyal fans have been waiting a long time for the album and their reactions have been overwhelming. It's helping us to pick up new fans all the time.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
The Recording for whats on 'Totem Bells' was all done over about six months. As we recorded the album ourselves, however there was around another year of false starts. We kept re-recording every time we got our hands on some new equipment.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
When we started I think our expectations were for quite a lo-fi feel, but we were really surprised with the results we got. I guess we wanted to capture what we do live, plenty of energy and passion. When we we're lucky enough to have it mixed by Fraser Smith (Shed Seven/Ian Brown) it really came alive.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
At the recording stage I suppose the producer was our bassist, Ollie. So loads of input from him, amid head scratching and plenty of "erm do you want give it more, erm... something" from the rest of us. Our relationship with Fraser has really helped. He seemed to know exactly what we are about and his contribution has been invaluable.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Absolutely. In my humble etc..
It's a dynamic record, with lots of light
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
The recording was a complete
learning process, we had mics hanging of
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
We were limited in how much we could get down at one time, so we had to
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Personally my favourite song changes, some are newer than others, but right now I would say,'Sour Rum'. Fraser’s production is epic and lyrically it has a pleasing mix of story telling and honesty, if I do say so myself?
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
I think when you listen back to what you've written it can be surprising how the mood comes across. Often unintended, but thats what makes music so pleasurable to write. Our process of writing is kind of organic rather than conceptual. Sometimes it’s only on reflection that you realise what you’ve created..
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
We have learned how to write music playing in this band, or at least versions of it. We are constantly developing as musicians, but we don’t pay any attention to trends, so what we do is a reflection of who we are. Attitudes can change with age I guess, but when we’re jamming time might as well be standing still.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Not one thing.. Mainly because we are the record company at the moment, although I did come to one of the sessions with a cigar in my hand, tutting and shaking my head if that counts?
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
The one that springs to mind is at a session where two massive Doberman type dogs, that where being looked after near by, managed to break into the studio, tear up a feather cushion and shit all over the place. It was a hot summers day, so we abandoned the recording we had planned and went to the pub.
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
'Totem bells' is an expansive rock and roll album, it twists and turns through psychedelic epics into blues style stomps. Sometimes intense, sometimes delicate, we’re very proud of it.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Being a Cambridge boy I fell for Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd in a big
way, and growing up in the nineties the Verve’s early stuff had a big
influence. There’s too many to mention between all four of us, but our ears are always open to
new sounds, as well as old. Whilst we have our
heroes I genuinely think we’ve started to develop our own Character, so I
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,