Clock Opera touchdown in Sunderland

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LONDON-BASED chop-pop outfit Clock Opera are one of the most intriguing acts to emerge from the capital in years.

The band excel at blending the haunting atmospherics of Kate Bush and the experimental edge of Radiohead’s In Rainbows, which is certainly no mean feat.

The talented four-piece are about to jet off to perform shows in New York and Austin’s SXSW festival before embarking on an extensive UK tour in April.

The lads touchdown in Sunderland on April 12 to play an intimate show in Independent’s Little Room. We caught up with Clock Opera’s mercurial front man, Guy Connelly, to chat about their hectic SXSW schedule and their forthcoming self-produced debut.

The Guide (TG): Clock Opera are heading to SXSW again later this month to play a string of shows crammed into just a few days, are you looking forward to another hectic trip to Texas?

Guy Connelly (GC): At last count it’s now 10 shows in five days, so hectic definitely applies. But yes, can’t wait. We’re going to NYC for the first time too, so all in all we’re pretty excited.

TG: The bill this year looks incredibly strong with acts like Django Django, 2:54, Niki & The Dove, Zulu Winter and Gossip to name just a tiny fraction of them. Who are you most looking forward to seeing in your fairly-limited downtime?

GC: You see a lot of people flashing around clutching wads of schedules, maniacally cross-referencing and running across town to see 20 bands a day.

My technique is to wait until we’ve got a minute and then ask some people in the street. Or just lean out of a balcony and watch the schedule-clutcher’s work each other up into a frenzy.

That said, I would love to stumble into Thomas Dolby, Talib Kweli or The Magnetic Fields.

TG: The UK tour starts on April 11 and you’re playing Sunderland Independent’s Little Room venue, the following evening. What can we anticipate from the gig in such intimate confines?

GC: Other than our newly-released songs, there will be scrap metal involved. And probably some body quakes and flying sweat. It’s our first headline show in Sunderland and we can’t wait.

TG: Support on the evening comes from one of our favourite local acts, Mammal Club, who you played with in Newcastle last year. Are you looking forward to sharing a stage with the lads again?

GC: Very much so, that was a really memorable gig at The Cluny. We’re big fans of their stuff and we can’t wait to see them again. I thought the video for Toward You With Lust was just brilliant too.

TG: Your self-produced debut, Ways to Forget, is out on April 23. What was the thinking behind going it alone behind the mixing desk?

GC: I guess because of the way we make music, recording sounds before writing them into songs, the production starts at the very beginning and is integral to what we do.

As opposed to writing songs and then deciding what to do with them, it happens at the same time. So there wasn’t any room or need for another producer to come in.

The final mixing was the only thing we didn’t do ourselves. Maybe it’ll be different next time, who knows.

TG: Finally, you’ve done remixes for Metronomy, Marina & the Diamonds, The Drums and Blood Orange amongst others, but if you could get one artist, living or dead, to remix one of your tracks, who would it be?

GC: Associates, an amazing experimental band from the 80s. Billy Mackenzie is long-since gone, but his partner Alan Rankine is still alive.

l Tickets for The Little Room show on April 12 are priced at £7 (subject to booking fee) and are available from / and in person from Hot Rats, Stockon Road, Sunderland.