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Post-Punk’s Klammer Talk Influences, Songwriting and Modern God

Klammer are a four piece based in Leeds who are building up a solid reputation for their particular brand of post-punk, infused with melodic grooves and a thoughtful lyricism. Their latest single Modern God is being released out on Under Dogz Records. The song opens with an angular guitar sound it set over a hi-hat heavy beat, creating a tone which is dark and brooding, with a slight air of early Cure to it. Steve’s deep voice, with it’s proclamatory delivery sits against the pulsing feel of the track well. The song examines the lack of ‘love and truth and sanity,’ exploring what the qualities of a modern deity might be without making an overly didactic statement; the lyrics allusive rather than explicit.

Though it explores quite a complex theme with some carefully wrought words, the song retains a tight pop like structure, clocking in at three and a half minutes with no wasted space. Visually, the video puts a simple aesthetic of the band either in all white with black instruments or all black with white instruments, to good use. It is a strong showing  from a band who are set to release their third album later this year. I put a few questions to Steve and Poss about their influences, views on genre titles and a cryptic approach to songwriting. You can read their answers below:

Group cover image by Steve Dutton

What was your first exposure to music?

Steve: Well pop music when I was very little but the first serious music I got into was Bowie and Punk (The Pistols, The Clash and The Stranglers).

Poss: Hearing David Bowie at a very early age and then investigating as much music as a young boy could absorb.

What’s the origin of the name Klammer?

We liked ‘Clamour’ as a name, loud confused noise, but thought we’d change it to look more European.

How did the band get together?

Steve: I’d mixed a song for Poss’s old band The Prisoners, shortly after that they stopped being a band and Poss asked me if I fancied writing some songs with him. 6 months later we had the first album ‘Auslane’ written and recorded. We then got the band together to play live, I had to go back and learn all the guitar parts and how to play the songs.  We did it all back to front really.

Who or what would you say are your main influences?

Steve: Everything I’ve ever listened to (good and bad) but I’d say the main ones are Iggy Pop, Early Roxy Music, Joy Division, David Bowie, The Cure and The Pixies. The punk attitude of ‘I’ll do it my way and not conform to your rules’ still burns bright in me.

Poss: Yes everything I’ve ever listened to but it was Glam and Punk that shaped my character and my desire to actually make music of my own. The Punk ethic of DIY music was truly life changing for me.

Photo by Steve White

You state that you put a ‘contemporary twist on a post-punk attitude’, given the rather nebulous interpretations of what constitutes post-punk what does it mean to you and your output as a musician?

Poss: It never fails to astonish us when people who come to our gigs tell us what we “sound like”. We’ve had everything from Gang of Four through Roxy Music to Southern Death Cult!

Steve: Yeah Punk and Post-Punk are very broad churches. For me Post-Punk means taking the spirit and energy of the first wave of Punk and being a bit more experimental with it. We feel we’ve sucked up so many influences over the years and squashed it into what is Klammer, we’re very careful to try and stay true to ourselves. We are trying to make something new and not just copy the past.

One line from Modern God struck me, ‘this modern God keeps Ancient Rules.’ Do you think that there is a grim sense of recurrence about recent political and events and to what extent, if at all, do these impact on the music you make?

Poss: Yes, you’re very astute. That’s exactly what I was trying to convey in the lyric of Modern God.  We’re all happy when things appear fine and life is good but who’s going to stand up and be there when the bad times begin again? Our Saviour will appear radical and promise the earth but will ultimately disappoint…

I probably do write more political lyrics than I realise but I really do try to be cryptic.

Steve: Humans do seem to forget what history should be teaching us far too quickly and we fall for the same mistakes again and again!

What advice would you give to a new band looking to get started?

Have fun, but work hard on it. It’s been a long slow road for us and we still feel like we’ve only just started. Unfortunately it’s not just about the music, don’t forget the business side of things. It’s boring but bands have to be so organised nowadays, the days of record companies doing everything for you is long gone.

Are there any bands that you think people should know more about?

There are bands like The Membranes and Evil Blizzard who are well known but they should be way bigger than they are! Two fantastic bands, I’m looking forward to both their new albums.

How do you guys write songs, is there a main lyricist in the band or do you all chip in?

Steve: So far, I’ve written the music and then Poss has written the lyrics to the music. We are keen to start writing all together in rehearsals for the next album, but we need to get this one released first!

What’s the best gig you’ve played to date?

Hard to chose, but I’d say the two with The Skids and another one with The Undertones. Rebellion was also a high point last year.

Are there any funny (repeatable), stories from your time in Klammer?

Poss: Lots of very funny stories but non are repeatable in print. “What happens on tour stays on tour”!

Looking forward, what are your plans for Klammer over the coming months and years?

The New single ‘Modern God’ is out on 11th May. Followed by another single in July called ‘Spiral Girl’ and then the 3rd album ‘You Have Been Processed’ in Aug.

The second single and the album will both be coming out on vinyl, which is always exciting for us.

Here’s a link to the video for the new single:

www.klammer.co.uk

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