In anticipation for Cloning’s All Rise single launch in a few weeks, lead vocalist and guitarist Felix Parker had a chat with Grok’s Kenith Png. Talking about the band’s emerging sound, the role of mythology in their music, and how their late close friend continues to influence them as a band.
First up, congratulations on a big 2019. You guys hit some big milestones like putting out your debut single Special and getting a WAM Song of the Year nomination for Epilogues. How do you feel about it all?
Good, the end goal is to build a sustainable, long-term career for ourselves. So, it’s just trying to tick off as many milestones as we can as quickly as we can, so we can get to that point. We’ve been enjoying the journey so far.
Experimental rock bands like Radiohead, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Portishead are some of your inspirations. What about these bands inspire you?
Radiohead is a band that we’ve all listened to for a long time. I feel like one of the main things that inspires us about them is how they’re innovative. They’re always trying to make music that’s outside their comfort zone and beyond the expectations of other people. That’s something that’s really exiting. One of the things we really enjoy about writing music is just trying to make something that’s unique. So that’s something that we’ve been really inspired to pursue by Radiohead. As for Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, my parents actually introduced me to them when I was a kid. I’ve seen them three times and one of the things I admire most about their music is their lyrics. Especially the way Nick uses imagery to paint scenes and then references literary, mythology and the Old Testament. That’s something that I’ve increasingly started to toy with, moving past the first EP into this next lot of songs, just trying to tell stories through the images and referencing literature that I’m familiar with too. With Portishead, the main thing we take from them is the beats. It’s really cool to hear hip-hop influenced beats mixed with rock guitars and I definitely think we channel in our own music that sort of combination.
I definitely hear that, and speaking of mythology, your new single All Rise is out now. Some of it touches in with Norse mythology.
Yeah, as a kid I probably read way too much and one of the things I was briefly flirting with was ideas of basic Nordic mythology. Things like the Yggdrasil, which is this mythical ash tree at the centre of their universe. So, the music video and the lyrics reference an ash tree quite a few times. The song is definitely somewhat set in that world, same as the video.
Yeah, I’d like to talk about the video. The band put a lot of work into making it, which included hours of fiddling with the props and almost setting your living room on fire. Can you talk us through the process of making the video?
Of course, we spent a long time trying to figure out how to make something that was us but also represented the ideas in the song and the mythology underpinning it. Animation was something we briefly thought about, but it was really expensive. Bevan (guitar, vocals) as a kid used to spend a lot of time making these sorts of models and filming it. He’s also into photography. We decided we’d have a crack at doing it ourselves. It took a long time. We were cramming it into the space of a week and there would have been 40 hours or so of us slogging it out. We built all the sets, then we built these clay models. Then you’d have to move it a tiny bit each time and take a photo each time to get the movements. But you can’t bump the camera or have things falling over because it just looks really stupid. It was a very finnicky process, but also really enjoyable. Doing it ourselves just feels like we can be more expressive.
When did you start making music and why?
I had played guitar since I was about seven, then I picked up drums when I started high school and I think I’d written a couple songs. But, when I was 15, a close friend of mine called Will died very suddenly from brain cancer. He was a really talented musician and, for whatever reason, that sparked this obsessive pursuit of songwriting and trying to write good songs as well, whatever that might be. From that time, I got far more embroiled in trying to write tunes, trying to get as good as I could at my instrument and it’s still quite a motivating force today as well.
So, it’s that idea of legacy and honouring who he was?
Yeah, absolutely. I feel like if he was still alive, he’d be here doing this with me and it’s making the most with what I’ve got. You don’t want to take for granted existing — it’s a pleasant thing. I want to use my existence to make music and hopefully influence other people, bring enjoyment to other people while, at the same time, honour Will in the same way.
That’s beautiful and very deep. Did the other band members know Will as well?
Jack, Nic and I were part of a close friend group. Bevan didn’t but he was cousins with another good friend of us who was part of that group. We were all into music. It was a tough thing for us at the time.
Do you think it unites you guys?
Absolutely. I feel that there’s a sense of unspoken solidarity, especially at the time because we were all writing music together, especially in the wake of that. Somehow, for whatever reason, it was a unifying force for all of us, I think.
It’s good that you have that. Something else I wanted to ask was if there were any artists you’d like to collaborate with?
So many, I love all kinds of different music. I’m really into Charli XCX and Grimes.
A bit different to your style, but some similarities as well.
Yeah, I think that’s hell cool. They’re really just out there. Same with Björk as well. They’re just pushing boundaries and they’re just so innovative. They seem like the kind of people who would be really exciting to work with.
Do you have a dream venue to play?
I’m not sure. Maybe not a venue but it would be really great to get over to some of the festivals to start picking up festival slots in the next couple of years. Australian ones and a couple UK ones for upcoming artists. Stuff like The Great Escape in the UK. There are all the staples — Laneway, Falls. It would be incredibly flattering to get selected for those at some point during our careers.
Do you have any projects on the way?
We have about five songs that are recorded and mixed that are ready to go, but we’re just going to keep releasing singles this year. We’re also writing a lot of music, so we’ll record as well. We have quite a big back catalogue and we’ll be consistent with our releases this year. Just a lot of singles.
Thanks for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Really appreciate it. We’ve got a show for the single launch on March 13 at the Indian Ocean Hotel.
Check out the All Rise music video below.