Having seen Clowns a couple of times I don’t disbelieve him. They seem to have relentless energy, with Williams half the time on the ground or climbing something. I suggest to him that Clowns often play with the same intensity at each gig, no matter what the crowd size. “Sometimes when we’re about to play a show and it’s a little quiet, I think ‘this time I’ll take it easy’,” he tells me, “but usually about halfway, three quarters through the set I find myself rolling on the ground” he laughs. “We’re all about playing fun shows regardless of the environment, or the venue, or the people there, or how much we get paid. It’s all about having fun and playing good shows.”
They don’t like to do things half arsed, but at the same time always seem to be gigging or recording at any given time. I’m Not Right came out quite late in the year but still managed to make Triple J’s Short.Fast.Loud readers poll at number five, Williams comparing the recording process to being in a whole new world. “We’d only done a few shitty demos and a couple of 7 inches (before the LP). Once we actually got a full length out, it was pretty weird; a lot more people were responsive to it. We noticed a lot more people listening to the music, coming to the shows, buying t-shirts – a really good step up from what we were doing.”
Perhaps he’s being a little modest in selling what they were doing short; Clown’s first two EP’s made a significant splash on the punk/hardcore scene, and they even toured South East Asia in 2012, not somewhere one would expect an up and coming punk band to head first, but as Williams tells me the hardcore punk scene there is “fucking crazy”.
“It really is a bit bizarre how good the hardcore punk scene is. We’d never been there before and we didn’t do any promo or any magazines, it was just all word of mouth,” with their biggest gig involving three hundred Indonesian punks “going nuts” moshing. “They’re so appreciative of international bands that come over. It’s a bit of a surreal experience going to a completely different place in the world, rocking up having never been there before, and then having a whole bunch of people who know your music already because they’ve researched you on the Internet.”
Not one to let a good anecdote go untold, Williams regales me with his favourite experience of the tour. “At one show a kid rocked up and was selling his own bootlegged Clowns shirt that he’d screen-printed and was selling them at our gig cheaper than our t shirts! That was the most flattering thing of all; I bought one!” Of the New Years Eve gig Williams has nothing but nice things to say about Old Bar (“they’ve been so nice to give us sweet gigs”) and the other bands on the bill, Apart From This and Summer Blood (mates of Clowns and “awesome bands too” he gushes). “It’s going to be all kinds of wild,” he promises.
BY GARRY WESTMORE