Interview: Point Clear
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Matt, Jamie, Josh & Ben
1. What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I think music has been a big thing for all of us from a young age. Matt had classical influence and instruction from being a wee bairn and continues his studiousness to this day, as an international student of New York jazz drummer Daniel Glass. Jamie is the loving produce of professional musicians so it's literally in his blood. Deep down under his engineer's exterior, he's got a flair for the disco-pop he was brought up around. I remember being subject to music from all categories when I was very small. My Dad used to play me music from Django Reinheardt to Focus and JJ Cale. He would often talk to me about the feel and expression of the blues players like Son Seals, Muddy Waters, and BB King. We used to listen to a lot of Pink Floyd together too. A love of hip-hop and rap came from my Mum, we'd listen to a lot of Fugees and Outkast together- though I never inherited her love of Genesis...not one bit. Ben's had a lifetime of thrash metal and heavy rock. Without music, I think he'd be an even more avid gamer. Being an unsigned band at this stage I suppose we would largely be in the same place career and life-wise, albeit with different
2. What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? I think it's fair to say that Jamie's various places of work have inspired many songs over the years! In his spare time, he's a bit of a petrol head and enjoys re-building classic cars and bikes from his youth. Matt is into cycling, yoga and is a half-decent photographer, which has come in handy for band shoots. Also as an added bonus, we've made some great contacts by sharing shots of bands we've shared stages with. Ben and I (Josh) have done various forms of modeling between us, though it's more plastic and paintbrushes than airbrushes and banana hammocks- he does Warhammer and I do Airfix. I think doing things that relax the mind help clear channels and ideas can sometimes flow more freely when they come from the subconscious- like the classic "it came to me in the shower" which, incidentally did happen the other day. It sounds wet but things that we enjoy doing are good for the soul and that all helps. 3. How long has your band been around? We've been around since 2016 playing local pubs and venues and more recently we've had radio play on a number of stations and been on the bill for some small festivals. Our first gig was a battle of the bands hosted by Braintree TV and judged by among others, Danielz of T. Rextasy. We'd only been rehearsing a few weeks and did it mostly for the experience so it was a total shock when we won. All the judges had really positive encouraging comments so it was a huge boost and gave us a real kick to get it on. 4. Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? We are based out of North Essex and South Suffolk in the area in-between Colchester, Chelmsford Ipswich and Cambridge. We are lucky in this sense as each has its own set of venues dedicated to playing live original music. This has an impact on how we reach audiences and the other bands we get to play with. A couple worth a shout out are Wiink, their sound is somewhere between indie and grunge and they have a really mature chemistry considering at the time they were only in college and about to go to uni (together- rock n roll!). Three Foot High are a three-piece from near us who have a really cool sound- big driving riffs like Clutch and Miss Lava. Motorcycle Display Team (MDT) and Swimsuit Competition have also got a lot of upbeat catchy material worth a listen. Being semi-rural I guess has forced us to spread out a bit more, we haven't got a dense set of venues on our doorstep but that has meant we haven't stayed within a local set so we've got to work with loads of different bands, promoters, and sound guys and that in itself has helped us get gigs by word of mouth which is a good feeling too. Take a look at our Facebook & Insta pages for more insights on what we’ve been up to within the local music scene. FaceBook https://m.facebook.com/pointclearband Instagram https://www.instagram.com/pointclearband/ 5. How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you? We struggled for a long while to find a name that we thought fitted our style and that didn't have too many connotations to other genres or bands- and most of all because for every sensible idea there were 11 ridiculous ones. We settled on Point Clear because we felt it didn't put us into any particular box yet also encapsulated that with our songs there is a real message of how we feel about the scenarios and situations that the tracks deal with- even down to the smallest everyday things that we hope the listeners can relate to. In short, we like to make our point - clearly. 6. Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. We've been lucky in that respect, I don't think' we've really had any real stinkers. Jamie broke a string when we played the Brightlingsea festival and his spare guitar was locked in the car so that was a bit of a mare and we ended up losing a song out the set, but Ben and Matt played a Queen jam and it turned out alright. The best shows are the ones that are packed and people are there singing along and really getting into it. We've had a few of those so it's hard to pick one above the other. 7. Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already? The Horn in Bishop Stortford has a tiny stage which is cramped and awkward, and you can reach the ceiling- but the guys down there are always so professional, helpful, and friendly and are doing a great job with what they've got to keep music alive. Despite the obvious drawbacks I really enjoy playing like we've been tinned in a factory- I find it so soulless having acres of room on stage it feels so empty and sterile, being right next to the other band members gives me a much greater feeling of cohesion with it all. We've filled that place a couple of times and it's awesome! It's easy to see why stadium bands say they miss their days playing full-house sweat boxes and it makes me all the more appreciative of where we are now. The Camden Roundhouse is an awesome venue, so as far off as it may be, that'd be a wicked one for me. 8. If you could play any show with any line-up who would be on the ticket? Well, our fantasy line up would be a monster gig with musical legends from current & bygone eras (so we’d bring back some giants from the afterlife, obviously). I think it'd end up being a crazy eclectic night. We’d have a string of inspirational guests like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Bonamassa, Led Zepplin (Bonham probably has an invite to every living drummer's fantasy party), The Police, Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N Roses Zak Wylde, Motorhead, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters and Fleetwood Mac (both Peter Green and Rumours line-ups!)... I suppose it would be our very own Live Aid with 20-minute sets from dawn 'til dusk.. Has to be said I'm not sure I'd survive the party.
9. What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
It sounds so cliché but you get out what you put in: practice hard and play hard. Make sure you can hear everyone, it's about the music, not just being the loudest. So many problems can come later on if you can't all hear what's going on. Also, it's really important to have a clear idea about what your goals and aims are, I think so many problems come when bands have members with different ideas about what they want from or to put into the band commitment wise and this can cause so much tension. The most important one though is: have fun!
10. If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Have more confidence and never be afraid to ask questions, the people on YouTube playing faster don't matter- you can do it!
11. Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? That's tough, but for me, it would possibly be If it Goes that Way. It's one of the first Point Clear songs which Jamie wrote years previously. From the get-go, it's a great high energy track that drives all the way through. It was one of the main ones that got me really excited about joining the project and 4 years later it still gives me a real boost on stage and I love playing it. 12. Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most? Hit and Run is definitely a crowd favorite and it's one of Jamie's favorites too. It's the first track on the EP and a great upbeat opener. Matt's a big fan of the groove in Aint Gonna Change Ya, that'll be on the album so watch this space! I really like the big build-up and solos in I Can't Wait which is the finishing track on the EP.
13. What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Jamie is the main songwriter- the band was created with a lot of the material already written. He's been laying down ideas that came from every day- confrontation, conflict, love, lust, loss. Anything that had an effect and gave inspiration could well turn into a song. I think it's a cathartic process that for some is necessary to be able to process and move on from certain things. Some more recent tracks have come from someone playing a riff or something at rehearsal that makes us prick our ears up, which we then jam to and record, and Jamie will take it away to work on giving it structure and laying lyrics down.
14. What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? I don't think any of us have ever been a fan of preaching or imperative messages, the main aim for us is to communicate what's going on or how we're feeling about something. It's about telling a story about the everyday things that make us angry, sad, happy, or horny and I hope that our audiences will always find something in the tracks they can relate to because of it. 15. Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them? Ha yea, we've had a couple of Some Kind of Monster moments- we're all really passionate and creative so like to have input down to the smallest of elements which naturally can't always be harmonious. But the key for us has always been to sit down talk through the problems we've had and set out a plan. Most creative disagreements end in a diplomatic vote and that settles it- it works quite well. But we always talk this through such as why things might not work with the song, or what the other guys are playing, so it’s an understanding process. Each of us really believes in the band though and think that serves as a reminder that this is more important than small disagreements. I think ultimately though the main stresses we've had are as a result of outside life- so it's again important to take stock of the fact that we're in this for pleasure and not let it get in the way of the good thing we've got going. But my advice to any other bands would be this: talk and really listen to each other! 16. What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up? Currently, we're promoting our EP and trying to really get our music out there. The feedback on the EP has way exceeded our expectations. We’ve been blown away by how people have enjoyed the different aspects of the music and the quality of the mix. If you haven’t already, please have a listen and help us spread the word: iTunes: https://clicktime.symantec.com/3MBpiitMAGJB5g7R8M9hu5K7Vc?u=https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fgb%2Falbum%2Fid1537844039%3Fapp%3Ditunes Apple Music: https://clicktime.symantec.com/3MSwHedM6hbTRUqpnmE3AP87Vc?u=https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fgb%2Falbum%2Fid1537844039 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0mwlYdykmJqc9hGIq7JaZA We're also on Amazon Music: Just ask Alexa to play the album Far and Wide by Point Clear!