Clean Cut Kid talk about their weirdest gigs and second album: "It's going to have a REAL sound"

From supporting the Chuckle Brothers to playing Hyde Park, Clean Cut Kid have done it all.

If you need some feel good, happy-go-lucky tracks to take you through your summer, then look no further than Clean Cut Kid.

Made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Mike, vocalist and keyboardist Evelyn, drummer Ross and bassist Saul, you may have spotted of the Liverpudlian four-piece supporting shows for The Courteeners and Shura, or their appearances at SXSW and Glastonbury.

We sat down with them at one of their biggest shows yet - the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park - last Saturday (July 8) to talk about their debut album Felt, the weirdest places they've ever played shows, and that time they chased Peter Gabriel down Portobello Road Market...

The last time we saw you live, you were performing in a house with Emeli Sande for Airbnb. Hyde Park is a different kettle of fish, isn't it?

Evelyn: "Not only that. So five years ago, me and Mike went on our first date in this park. We literally met for the first time on that little path over there so it brings back lots of memories."

Mike: "She kissed me a minute and a half into the date, you know? [laughs] She walked towards me and said 'look, we're the same height' and just laid it on me." 

Which is better: big crowds or intimate shows?

Mike: "I think we're all a bit different. Ev loves festivals whereas I like to be able to look at every person in the room in the eye."  

Ross: "It feels more intimate when you're squashed into a room with all of those people. Everyone knows all the words to all of the songs now so you get that connection."

Mike: "But you're kind of jinxing yourself by saying you like small crowds, aren't you? It's the last thing you should say!" [laughs]

Evelyn: "I love arenas!"

A lot of people at this Hyde Park will be hearing you for the first time. That's potentially a lot of new fans...

Mike: "It's quite good for the ego knowing that if we deliver it so well live, then even if they don't know us, they'll be on board by the end."

Evelyn: "You know, sometimes it's nice to be brought back down to earth and do a gig where you haven't got everyone in the palm of your hand."

It's a tough climate for new artists at the moment. How important are the live shows to keep the wheels of the band turning?

Mike: "Everyone says that you have to work twice as hard for half the gain nowadays. You make a good point that bands have to be able to deliver on that... if the live area is not sorted, or even if the social side's not sorted, or the album's not together - we've been trying to tick all of them boxes. I guess touring is equally as important although it does feel more like a day job when you're turning up to play to an audience." 

Where is the weirdest place you've played a gig?

Ross: "There was one last year with fire breathers and people on unicycles."

Evelyn: "That was an adventure camp for adults! It's called Camp Wildfire. Everyone was walking around in scouts uniforms. You can build forts and there's nude life drawing in the forest and meditation. Then you just have a huge gig at the end of the day."

Mike: "You can imagine how good that tent rammed full of people was when they've spent the whole weekend doing joint adult tasks while getting drunk. Everyone is the most open and loose that they could possibly be." 

Ross: "We also supported Chuckle Brothers back in the day at Bestival!" [laughs]

You recently released your Multivitamin EP. Is it really as good as getting your five a day?

Mike: "Yeah it is! What we did with it was, when you release that first single, you don't have a fan base at the time, no-one knew who we were. It just so happened that our first single [Vitamin C] ended up being the whole crowd's anthem, so we knew we had to loop back around again.

"We didn't just want to say 'here's the single again'. Fans loved the song, so we wanted to give them some other versions. To work with Youngr was was really exciting but also the acoustic version. People call their songs 'acoustic versions' these days when they just strip it to a piano but we decided to do like banjo, mandolin, piano, cello. It's how an acoustic band would play it." 

You're fans of Bowie, Prince and Peter Gabriel; has their bold approach to music rubbed off on you?

Evelyn: "He [Gabriel] pushed so many boundaries and it's really inspiring. We always hope to do that with what we do. Actually, Mike chased him down the street one time. 'Mr Gabriel, Mr Gabriel!'"

Mike: "It was the week that we signed our deal we bumped into him at Portobello Road Market. He was just with his grandkid and I ran like five blocks to chase him down." [laughs]

"I guess why we give props from Peter Gabriel is because what we wanted to do with Clean Cut Kid was take classic songwriting and then you make the arrangements and production the best they can possibly be."

Your debut album Felt has drawn some really exciting comparisons and received high praise from critics. Where do you go from here?

Evelyn: "You should hear the new stuff!"

Mike: "There's loads of it already. It's maybe 40% written but the big difference is we just set up our own studio in Liverpool. We've just bought a lot of exciting stuff! We bought the original Abbey Road mono set-up from Sgt Pepper's for the drums. It's going to have a REAL sound to it.

"I want it to be current, like Tame Impala. Not specifically sounding like them but when you hear a track from album two, you know that's Clean Cut Kid's second record."

Clean Cut Kid's debut album Felt and the new Multivitamin EP are both out now.