Leeds Darkwave / post-punk quartet Klammer return with their fourth album 'The Day Before Yesterday' (released last Friday - 25th February), another gem of a collection of dark, angular songs perfect for fans of the likes of The Membranes and Bauhaus. Guitarist / Keyboardist Steve Whitfield answered a few questions for BBMATB on the band, the new album and plans for Klammer in 2022.
Klammer are Paul 'Poss' Strickland (Vocals), Steve Whitfield (Guitars, Fender VI Keys, Backing Vocals), Mike Addy (Bass) and Bruno Almeida (Drums)
'The Day Before Yesterday' is released on Revolver Records imprint 'Heavy Metal Records' and is available now on all the major digital sites. Previous albums 'Auslane' (2014), 'Klammer' (2016) and 'You Have Been Processed' (2018) can also still be picked up from digital sites and singles from the new album 'Broken Dreams In A Crashing Car' and 'Progress (Or The Lack Of)' have Youtube videos for you to check out.
Hi Guys, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for
those readers who might not be familiar with Klammer, could you give a short history
of the band?
Steve: Well we’ve been going since 2014 and have released 3 albums, ‘Auslane’, ‘Klammer’ and ‘You’ve Been Processed’, with the 4th album ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ being released on 25th Feb. We’ve played up and down the country playing our own gigs as well as supporting bands like The Skids, The Undertones, The Chameleons, Richie Ramone, and The Membranes to name but a few. We’ve also played some great festivals as well. We’ve played Rebellion a couple of times, The Great British Alternative Music Festival and Whitby Goth Festival, which hopefully shows that we appeal to a wide audience, as Rebellion is a punk festival and obviously Whitby is a Goth festival, but we aren’t either of those.
And who would you say were the main influences on Klammer?
Steve: Personally I’d say everything I’ve ever listened to, the good and the bad. You can
learn a lot from music that you don’t want to sound like! Even if it’s what not to do!
If you want names, I guess it would be Bowie, early Roxy Music, and a lot of the great
post–punk bands including The Comsat Angels. But I’m also into a lot of electronic music.
I like melodies, and for me the best bands in any genre are the ones that have strong
melodies. Buzzcocks and The Clash in punk, Nirvana in grunge, AC/DC in rock, Boards Of
Canada in electronica, etc…. Poss and I decided at the very start of the band we wanted to
sound very British/European.
You've a new album - 'The Day Before Yesterday' - released recently. Where did you
record the album; somewhere you've recorded before? And did COVID hinder the
recording and releasing of the album in any way?
Steve: We’d written most of the album before the first lockdown, but then of course once the pandemic hit it was hard to get it recorded. I’m lucky that I have a studio at home where everything is recorded but only after we’ve done the drum tracks. So we had to wait until we could get into Loom Studio in Leeds to get the drums down. Once we’d got that done it was plain sailing as it could all be recorded and mixed at mine. We did write one song called ‘Alone’ during the first lockdown. I wrote the guitar parts and emailed them to the rest of the band and they wrote their parts at home and sent their ideas
and parts back to me. I then pulled it altogether in my studio. The album was finished last spring (2021) but we than had to find a label that wanted to release it and negotiate a deal with them. So it’s finally coming out Revolver Records (once the home of The Stone Roses) imprint Heavy Metal Records.
Do you have a favourite track(s) on the album and if so, why?
Steve: Probably ‘While You Sleep’ for me. I like that we went minimal with it. There’s much
more space in some of the songs on this album.
How do you feel the album differs from your previous albums, 'Auslane', 'Klammer',
and 'You Have Been Processed'?; Was there any difference (COVID aside) from how
you put 'The Day Before Yesterday' together than the other albums?
Steve: ‘You Have Been Processed’ and ‘The Day Before Yesterday’ were recorded with the same line up and in a very similar way but as I just mentioned, I think we left more space in a lot of these songs. A lot of ‘You Have Been Processed’ had a lot more guitar layers in the songs. It was definitely a conscious decision to have less guitar over-dubs on this one.
You've filmed a video for your previous single 'Broken Dreams In A Crashing Car';
Do you enjoy making videos or do you see them as a necessary evil?
Steve: I think we all enjoy the filming. The hard part is coming up with the ideas for them! I
come up with a lot of ideas in that moment just before sleep. I’m always writing little ideas
down on a note pad by the bed.
In terms of live shows, do you have any in the pipeline that people can come and
catch you at?
Steve: I’m not sure if this interview will be published in time but we have an album launch gig at The Brudenell in Leeds on the Sat 26th Feb. We love this venue, definitely one of our favourite places to play. After that we’re playing The Westgarth in Middlesbrough (5th March) and Corrosion Fest in Morecambe (12th March). The best way for people to see where we’re playing is to checkout ‘Events’ on our Facebook page.
And are there any particular venues / festivals that you would like to play and are on
your 'bucket list'?
Steve: Fuji Rocks, but that’s mainly because I love Japan. The best place I’ve ever been to!
I’d also love to play the Roundhouse in London, that just looks an amazing venue.
Klammer have been with us since 2014; what have been the highlights for the band
since you first got together?
Steve: Touring with Richie Ramone was great, over 2 weeks of playing every night to good crowds was brilliant for us. We learnt a lot on that tour. Richie’s band were really tight and put on a great show every night. Playing to a full 100 Club was also a highlight for me. But in general just the fact that we’ve written and recorded 4 albums and enjoyed the strange ride on being in a band.
Do you think there is a good music scene in Leeds (and the rest of Yorkshire)? Any
bands from the area that you'd recommend to readers?
Steve: Yeah there’s always so many good bands in Leeds and Yorkshire. I really like
Wonders Of The Yukon and Reardon Love, which is why we’ve put them on at our album
launch. They are both very very different from us, they’re not in that rock/post-punk/darkwave vibe that Klammer exist in at all.
And in the current darkwave / goth / post-punk fields are there any bands that
stand out for you at present?
Steve: I think The Membranes are excellent at the moment. They’ve been going a long time but I think the last 2 albums they’ve released are by far the best they’ve ever done. I’ve also really liked the last couple Protomartyr albums.
And finally, what plans for Klammer in 2022?
Steve: To try and break through this post-Covid malaise in the live world and arrange more gigs. It’s pretty obvious at a lot of gigs, that there’s still a good proportion of people are wary of coming out to gigs. So we are definitely looking forward to a time when crowds get back to what they were a couple of years ago. I’ve already got ideas for half the next album running through my head, so it’ll also be getting into the rehearsal room and thrash them out between the 4 of us. Which I’m really looking forward to because for most of the songs on the 4 albums, I’ve demo’d them before the rest of the band hear them. So for the next album I’m just going to take very basic ideas for the songs in to rehearsals and we’ll working them out in a room together.