Indie hero Clint Boon is heading to Sunderland and he can’t wait. Katy Wheeler spoke to the Inspiral Carpets keyboard player about Mackem crowds, music and more.

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INSPIRAL Carpets by name, inspirational by nature – they are the band that helped to define the Madchester sound.

Like many of the forefathers of the movement, Inspiral Carpets are back on the road. But after the initial split of the band, its members each went on to forge their own career paths which they now balance with reunion gigs.

Such is the following of the band’s psychedelic keyboard player Clint Boon that he even has his own “Boon Army”, his loyal band of listeners who tune in to his long-running XFM radio show in Manchester.

Indeed, music-playing as well as music-making has become a true passion of Clint’s.

Wearside ears can feast on his selection of sounds when he performs a DJ set at The Indigo Rooms and The Corner Flag, High Street West, on August 24.

In a twist, his set will be preceded by a music talk-in where gig-goers can question the musician about his career and enjoy musical anecdotes, such as Inspiral Carpets having Noel Gallagher as a roadie before he hit the big time.

Speaking about his forthcoming Sunderland appearance, Clint, 53, said: “I’ve not been up to Sunderland for a while. I used to come up quite a bit before to do DJ sets at Ku Club.

“I’m hoping the gig will become quite a regular thing.

“It’s great to play Sunderland, the whole North East has a great vibe to it. I really like that part of the world.

“I may throw in some local tracks like The Futureheads into the set.”

He added: “The talk and the DJ set will be completely separate. I usually do that kind of thing more for educational reasons.

“But it’s more sociable to do a talk with DJ set. I can talk at length about any period of my life. I’ll be chatting about what I’ve done in the past and will also be taking questions.”

Inspiral Carpets became part of the growing Madchester scene with a string of indie classics like This Is How It Feels, Dragging Me Down, Saturn 5, I Want You and Joe.

Their first album, Life, went to number two in 1990, and The Beast Inside went to number five the next year. In 1995 the band split, only to reform in 2003.

They toured Britain earlier this year and have been travelling the globe once more to play gigs. They’ve also been signed up for a string of festival appearances this summer.

Clint said: “I think what makes the band still popular is that we made great records and we made more than just one great record. We have a great back catalogue.

“Another reason is that that era, the Madchester scene, is looked back on with great fondness and warmth. Other bands like New Order and The Charlatans are touring again and the music is still contemporary.”

However, the successful reunion has not been without its hitches. Last year lead singer Tom Hingley quit to be replaced by founding member Stephen Holt.

Speaking about performing without Tom, Clint said: “It’s quite easy really. Steve is a different kind of singer to Tom, but it feels like home. It feels better than it ever has.

“We’ve been playing garage music so the gigs have been upbeat, but next year we may start doing ballads again.

“We still have a lot of affection for Tom.”

Despite line-up changes, the band will be inextricably linked with the Madchester sound they helped to hone.

“Manchester is such a great city, the size of it is brilliant,” says Clint about why the city has spawned so many successful acts.

“London is great, but it’s so big you kind of disappear. But if there’s a band in Manchester everyone knows about it, it’s easy to establish yourself.

“A lot of people admire the city’s musical heritage and students are attracted to the city and come in and embrace the city’s musical culture. People like the Chemical Brothers. They came here as students and left as pop stars.”

In between Inspiral Carpets gigs and club DJing, the dad-of-five holds down a day job as a daily presenter on XFM.

“I’m a lucky man,” says Clint. “I have a really nice balance between home and work life and both of my jobs complement and accelerate each other.”

As such, music is never far away from Clint’s ears.

“Last thing I listened to for leisure was Belfast by Orbital,” he says. “But I’m heading to my radio show now where I’ll be playing things like Florence and the Machine and REM. I listen to ska, hip hop, some drum and bass, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis and more.

“My DJ set in Sunderland will be very diverse. My sets are very audience friendly, by the end of the night the audience will have probably heard 13 or 14 different genres of music. I like to keep the dance floor going though and I do take requests.”

So what is it about music that keeps Clint going back for more?

“Music’s been there for as long as I can remember. I’m motivated by music. It stimulates me in the way that love does. Music is as powerful as the love I have for my kids, that’s the only way I can describe it.

“I love the fact that it’s a world of unknown. You don’t know what someone like Pete Doherty will be playing next year. It’s constantly evolving. Music is such a fascinating medium. I’ll always be obsessed by it.”

l Staged by Bass Kicks Promotions, tickets for the music talk-in and DJ set, which starts from 8pm on August 24, are £10 in advance or £12 on the door. VIP packages are available for £25.

For tickets, contact www.basskicks.co.uk or Tel. 447 6608.