Leeds band Clay came into being in June 2014, and consist of songwriting brothers Joe and Jack Harvey, bass player Rob Gration, a childhood friend, and Danny Armitage.
The bands track Sun Dance was picked up by Zane Lowe back in 2014, who played it BBC Radio 1 as one of his last ever Next Hype features.The track was also featured on prime-time HBO show Ballers in the USA starring Dwayne Johnson shortly after.
Since then the band have gone on to release two more tracks, Oxygen and Stay Calm!, both of which have been received with the same acclaim from the likes of Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart at BBC Radio 1, their debut EP, Heaven was released on July 15 and they will be heading out on tour shortly with a date at Cardiff’s Moon Club scheduled for August 8.
How did Clay come together as a band and where did the name come from?
Clay came together primarily as a result of a collective ambition to get out of suburban Leeds and see the world. The band comprises of two brothers, me (Joe) and Jack. We'd been writing together for some time and it was only when we approached Rob and Danny, who we met through mutual friends, that the body of work we had amassed started to become a coherent set of songs. Unfortunately, there isn't a particularly interesting story behind the name! One syllable all the way, though.
How would you describe your sound?
This question never gets easier. I'm sure most bands would agree but it's particularly difficult for us. Perhaps that's a good thing. It's an eclectic mix really, we don't directly try to emulate anybody in particular, although I think we're subconsciously influenced definitely by modern pop music. We listen from everything from Stormzy to Tears for Fears so I'd like to say somewhere between that, whatever that means!
You’ve just released your debut EP, can you tell us about It?
Its called the Heaven EP! I wholeheartedly see it as our best work yet. The songs are ambitious in every way, we channeled the modern pop production we obsess over and made it truly unique. Lyrically, it's very direct and honest and I think that's really going to connect with people. The content is about isolation and ambition so it's pretty universal. We can't wait to get it out.
You’ll be playing Cardiff, is this your first Wales’ show and are you looking forward to it?
Yeah it's our first Wales show which we're buzzing about! It's strange because we record in Wales and our producer, Gethin, is from Pontypool, but we've never done a show there. It's still a surreal prospect for us that our music is being received so well in places that we've never played. It's almost as if the songs have traveled further than us which is very humbling.
Finally what are you listening to at the moment?
I think it's important to have an evolving music taste so we listen to whatever is current, be it what we hear on the radio, or discover online. I think that's particularly important in this day and age, where everything is instantly accessible. Our music needs to reflect modern life and culture, and I think dwelling too much on old music can be damaging to a band nowadays. We're really digging new American band LANY at the mo.
- Visit moonclub.net for booking details.
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment section The Guide on July 22, 2016