Prefix Magazine: This is sort of a broad question, but how does the songwriting approach work with you guys?
Clinic: It's usually just off a four-track. We'll have basic chords and melody, 'cause most of the songs are done with a view to making the rhythm a key part. Most of the melodies are just over one chord anyway, so there's not a lot of chord changes. From there, me and Hartley, who's the guitar and keyboard player, sort of work it up and decide which instruments to use. And most importantly, work out a drum pattern. I think if you work something strong with a rhythm it allows you to kind of get away with things rather than stay with the rigid structure of it. PM: Is that how you use the rarer instrumentation? I mean, not a lot of bands use flute, clarinet or a melodica. Does that stuff come after the rhythms are set and you add them as you think they're needed? How does that work?
Clinic: When you get the vocal melody worked out, then at the same time you have either the full idea or a fair idea of what sort of counter melodies would work on an instrument. So then [it's a matter of] deciding whether you want to have that on clarinet or melodica. That's pretty much how it goes. It can vary. PM: There seems to be sort of this conflict between the humorous and the morbid in your persona. I'm thinking of the new video for "The Magician" and your surgical masks. How does that play out in your music?
Clinic: Say you have an instrumental part in something. Quite often, I'll have odder notes thrown in there. We'll have a strong melodic romp and they'll be something else that throws you out. I just really like that mixture -- funny "ha ha" or a morbid sense of humor, or happiness as opposed to trashiness. None of them seem to exist in real life in isolation. You want to face the other quite often immediately one after the other, and that's what I sought to project. PM: The "The Magician" video really has that Terry Gilliam-collage style from his Monty Python days. How did you come up with that? Who did you contact to do the video?
Clinic: We had the main parts worked out. Carl [Turney], who plays drums, did art in college, so he did quite a lot of that himself. Another friend of the band then completed the rest of the video, 'cause he's made small videos himself. So it was good that we were able to kind of get our idea across to someone who wasn't a big-budget director or something -- he could stick close to the idea. PM: What are you most looking forward to on this trip back to North America?
Clinic: Even though we played in May for about two and half weeks here, it seems longer than that for me since we played. So it all seems quite new. I can find [when we play] something new to see, so I don't think I ever get lazy just sittin' in the venue. Every place you go to, there's something [you've missed]. PM: Do you notice a big difference between British audiences or European audiences and North American audiences? Or does it just blur together?
Clinic: It's not so much the difference between the two countries; it's the difference between more provincial audiences and really big city audiences. They can see so many bands whenever they like. We've noticed when we played smaller cities that people just really go for it and throw themselves around less inhibited, whereas when we play New York or Los Angeles, they're a lot cooler.