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Clogs: Opening Up the Possibilities

By Published: March 20, 2006
AAJ: Who are your fans?

PN: I think we have five.

BD: I would say they like experimental music. Some rock people have discovered Clogs.

PN: We don't know, because they'll just turn up. Like Clogs fans that turn up at National gigs and have traveled a thousand miles.

BD: Some musicians. I think we've made a little bit of a mark among the kind of grad school conservatory type—classical musicians with an open mind. They tend to look at it and think, "oh, this band's done something, made a little bit of a contribution in terms of opening the doors a bit wider for concerts."

PN: We complement that ground, too. The part about that ground is classical music, so we're often meeting people who say, "I'm a grad student, I'm trying to form a band that would play at cross-style venues." So we hear stories like this.

BD: We played Chicago, and we were the pick in the Reader [Chicago's free weekly] that week. We played this cool little converted church [3030], a performing space there—since gone. A collective. A cool place, no bar, church pews.

PN: Yeah, they were a collective and we get a lot of collectives interested in us.

BD: This was a real improvisers' place. More jazz dates, I'd say. And it was full of people, just kind of music heads. I don't know who they were.

AAJ: I know you've established some musical friendships with, say, The Rachel's, Bell Orchestre, and The Books, who I particularly like. I know The Books have collaborated with other musical entities—could a Clogs/Books record be a possibility?

Padma Newsome, Bryce Dessner, Thomas Kozumplik, Rachael Elliott

BD: We're about to embark on a collaboration with them, so we are creating music together. We work very differently, so I have no idea if a record is possible. I think that's less important to us. [Clogs' third CD] Stick Music was written for two particular cellists—Erik Friedlander is a great improviser. We've worked like that. We have a percussionist, David Cossin, who is performing with us this Sunday. He's an amazing player who we'll probably do something with eventually. Clogs is really into opening up and working with other people.

PN: It's hard to talk about, because the music comes first and if it's good, then we'll see.

BD: We've talked about doing something with Bell Orchestre. We've gotten close to them. What The Books do is very, very special and they create that music in a particular way. It takes them months and months of working together, just the two of them. I think the recording projects they've done with other groups—I'm not sure how satisfied they were with that process. So we'll have to see how it goes.

AAJ: All of you do other things musically besides Clogs. How much will you work together as Clogs in 2006? Do you plan to tour?

BD: We have a really active spring. We're doing a tour of England in two weeks, some shows in New York. Then I'm curating a festival at a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio that we're participating. Then we're doing another tour of the midwest. So we have a lof of stuff planned up through June, early June. Padma lives in Australia so we have these active periods, then we're off. In the fall, we're off to Europe again. We're really hoping to give Lantern a shot at reaching more people than the other records have, so we're hoping to plan a bunch of stuff. I feel less urgent after having made four records—I'm not jumping into the studio next week.

PN: There's another record to be made, but it's not a Clogs record. So that's the next thing, another National record, which we're going to try to make around here.


Clogs, Lantern (Brassland, 2006)
Clogs, Stick Music (Brassland, 2004)
Clogs, Lullaby for Sue (Brassland, 2003)
Clogs, Thom's Night Out (Brassland, 2001)

Photo Credits:
Top Photo: Alec Hanley Bemis
Center Photo: Mathieu Saura
Bottom Photo: Courtesy of Brassland Records

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