When the BRAG speaks with Stevie Williams, frontman of Melbourne punks Clowns, he’s waiting for a train home and contemplating if he should spend his afternoon doing a poster run around the city.
It’s this DIY ethic that is at the very foundation of the band – whether it’s getting hands-on with promo, or booking national tours by themselves, it’s an all-in operation. The latest of Clowns’ activities is the Never Enough tour, running through October and November. They’re the last headline shows planned before taking a well-deserved break and working on a follow-up to their latest record, Bad Blood.
“We released [Bad Blood] in February this year, which to me feels like two weeks ago, ’cause we really just smashed it the entire year,” says Williams. “The idea is that we will do one last headline run and at the same time be writing for our third album, which will hopefully be out next year sometime. This will be the last time that people will be hearing predominantly Bad Blood material at our live show.”
Clowns are already a few songs into writing their new album, and while they’re planning on exploring new sounds, they have no plans to mess with a successful formula. “I reckon we are going to do it at the same spot we did Bad Blood [St Kilda’s Hothouse studio] – we just had such a good chemistry with the engineers there and it was really organic,” says Williams. “The studio is only 20 minutes from my house, and the sound of it, as well – there was nothing on that album that I thought could have sounded better.”
Alongside their upcoming headline tour dates, Clowns will support Rise Against at their Australian shows in December. They’ll go from top of the bill at the Factory Floor to playing the Hordern Pavilion a little over a month later – “It’s pretty weird,” Williams agrees.
“It’s one of those things that I know is happening but I can’t really comprehend what it’s going to be like until we go and do it. The Melbourne show is at Margaret Court Arena, so it’s going to be the biggest gig we have ever done, closely followed by Brisbane and Sydney. I think we’re just gonna go up there and do what we have done for every other show. We’ve done shows in people’s backyards, and we will play a show in an arena. We aren’t an exclusively club band, or a ‘we only play festivals’ kinda band. You can book us for wherever and we’re gonna do the exact same thing.”
Rise Against will add to the list of big names Clowns have supported recently. They’ve also shared the stage with The Meanies, Frenzal Rhomb, Adolescents and D.R.I., all acts that have had a significant influence on the Melburnians.
“Those are the bands that inspired us to be in a band,” says Williams. “Not only do we get to tour with them, but we’re actually mates with them now, which is a weird blast – at first [when we] started getting to play those shows, I was definitely a bit of a fanboy and a bit scared, but after you do it a bit it just becomes normal. It’s kinda funny; playing with the Hard-Ons is kinda like playing with The Bennies, which is a band we’ve known and played with for years – except the Hard-Ons inspired us to be musicians and we used to party with The Bennies.”
[Clowns photo by Ian Laidlaw]