Sunday, February 13, 2011

From the Archives - Clayhill Interview

Songs To Learn And Sing - Clayhill Interview

Clayhill - Acoustic (Eat Sleep Records, 2005)

A number of months ago I played The Dream Academy's version of Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want on the show but an even better version of the song can be found on Clayhill's 2005 Acoustic record. Clayhill's cover also plays over the final scene of Shane Meadows' This Is England.

Clayhill are a 3-piece folk band featuring Ali Friend, Ted Barnes and Gavin Clark. Ali had been in Red Snapper and also wrote and played with Ted on a number of Beth Orton albums before teaming up with former Sunhouse vocalist Gavin. The band's EP Cuban Green was released in early 2004 and was followed by Small Circle, the brilliant debut album in September of that year.

This interview with the band was first broadcast in September 2004 on Episode 2 of the programme. Clayhill were in Ireland doing a few gigs and had just come off stage having opened for Paddy Casey in Dublin's Olympia Theatre. "It's weird doing gigs like that when there's a lot of chatter going on, but we really enjoyed it, in some ways it makes you play better," admitted Gavin.

Shane Meadows had also directed a short film for the band and Gavin explained how the colaboration with the director came about; "Years ago we met at Alton Towers, when we were both working there, I worked in a chip van and he was a face painter and we started writing songs together but he went away to college and started making these really mad films, one thing lead to another and I started putting music to his short films. When we got this record together we thought it would be a really good thing if he could do a short film for us." The resulting 2005 film, Northern Soul was screened at a number of cinemas in the UK followed by a Clayhill performance.

The band would also contribute music to Meadows' Dead Man's Shoes and the aforementioned This is England. Afterlight from the soundtrack of Dead Man's Shoes is a demo of Alpha Male, the opening track on Small Circle.

Clayhill's second album, Mine at Last was released in 2006 and currently they seem to be on a hiatus with the band members working on other musical projects. Gavin has contributed vocals to a number of UNKLE tracks and with Ted has also continued to collborate with Meadows, writing music for his 2008 feature Somers Town.

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