CLAMM chat 21st century living, catharsis, and punk on Mornings
April 27th 2023
It’s tough out here sometimes. Not to be bleak, but almost everywhere you look, young people are confronted with the glaring failure of 21st century neoliberal capitalism to deliver on its promises. Millennials stress about property ownership and the perils of the gig economy, while zoomers are set to face the worst economic odds of any post-WWII generation. Oppressive systems perpetuate inequality and concentrate power in the hands of a select few, while the ever-present shadow of global warming only grows larger in the face of government inaction.
Confronted with it all, it’s hard to stay sane. Luckily, Naarm punk outfit CLAMM can help. Their music looks to the screaming void and screams right back, a writhing and heavy protest against the injustice of the world. Through it they hope to bring catharsis, creativity, and community. CLAMM’s guitarist and vocalist Jack Summers joined Hannah Rose on Mornings.
Given that the perils of late-stage capitalism are not only theoretical but actually part of their day-to-day life as artists in so-called Australia, it’s not hard for CLAMM to delve deep into overwhelming generational fears in their music. Their lyrics possess an authentic sense of rage, which Jack explained comes almost subconsciously.
“I think it’s definitely a cathartic thing. It’s not something I have to try and think about very hard. … The feeling of giving all of my hours to something that I just have absolutely no passion for hurts me.”
Coping, creativity, and community through music are common themes in Naarm’s punk/DIY scene. Alongside CLAMM, emerging groups like Eggy, the Stroppies, and Toad are bringing a new energy to the field. CLAMM itself was initially a side project made up of members from the bands Gamjee and Dragoons, but as things started to get busy the group quickly became the main priority for guitarist/vocalist Jack Summers, drummer Miles Harding, and bassist Maisie Everett.
“I want to do what I’m passionate about and I want to do what I love. And there has been some level of momentum that has come with that so I feel like it would be a waste to not kind of have this music as a priority for me.”
Last year the trio released their second record Care, which saw them broaden their palette with the addition of synths and saxophones. Tracks such as ‘Bit Much’ and ‘Scheme’ succinctly delve into complex existential phenomena through the avenue of feelings as opposed to intellect, often via almost chant-like repetition of simple nouns. ‘Money, power, status, cowards / Telephone, louder, radio, tower / Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday / I like Saturday, he likes Monday’ ring Jack and Maise’s breathless voices on the chorus of track five, ‘Monday,,’ accompanied by urgent drums and spiralling guitar. CLAMM’s music acknowledges how f*cked everything is, and sits with you as you just let it all out.
This balance of apt social commentary and emotional universality in CLAMM’s music has resonated worldwide. The band is set to embark on their third tour of the UK and Europe in May, after repeatedly being asked back by venues.
“There’s cities we’ll be in, countries, and we’ll just be like, what is this place? Who’s coming to see us here? But, you know, people come. It’s been really amazing.”
A show on a canal boat in the Netherlands (“[we’re] tying down amps with ratchet straps to the side of the boat”) looks to be a potential highlight. In the meantime, CLAMM are finishing off their AU tour.
“We’ll play and we’ll play pretty hard and fast. And that’ll be that.”
Listen to the full interview with Jack on Mornings with Hannah Rose up top, and be sure to buy/stream CLAMM’s latest album on Bandcamp below.