While CLAMM’s recently-released debut album Beseech Me is defined by its reckoning force and furious urgency, frontman Jack Summers reveals himself to be far more mild-mannered when we speak. Noticing his considered responses to my questioning, I’m reminded of a press release which described CLAMM as part of a new wave of punk, whose riotous onstage energy seems to be contradicted by a more thoughtful approach.
“I think what it comes down to is honesty, it’s quite intense music and it’s intense to perform, so I want to tackle things I feel intensely about,” Summers explains. “I’m certainly not trying to fit the idea of traditional punk in my songwriting, I think what we’re trying to do is have a considered approach to the things that we’re upset or angry about, as people in the world today.”
For a band that emerged just 18 months ago, this version of self-aware punk has been quick to take hold among the Melbourne music scene, a community that Summers is certainly no stranger to – he and drummer Miles Harding are also members of local garage-psych groups Gamjee and Dragoons. With relatively crucial roles in both other bands, CLAMM originally seemed like it might’ve been a thrown-together project to allow them to toy with heavier music, but once again, it turns out that the formation was more thought-out.
“I’d been recording demos and riffs onto my phone for ages, and I think I found myself trying to put that into the music of those initial bands, but it got to the point where I realised there was the need to go away and fulfil that urge separately,” Summers says. “It was sorta like, if I was going to put enough energy into it, it was something that had to become more serious.”
A sense of catharsis can be heard right across Beseech Me. Amongst the thunderous grooves and frantic sprawls of fuzzed-out guitar, Summers is commanding and visceral – from the thrilling chaos of opening track ‘Liar’, through to the guttural stomp of ‘Bossman’ that rounds the album out.
There’s a nervous restlessness to the album – one that Summers shared as he waited for the record to be released. However, it seems that consideration and reflection is an ongoing theme within CLAMM, because now that it’s out, the band are doing their best to slow down and enjoy the response before moving on.
“It’s felt like a long time since we recorded those songs, so it’s definitely nice to have them released and have some really good things happening as a result. It’s actually been super nice, because people are really enjoying it and we are hearing lots of positive things about it, and that’s been really reassuring.”
CLAMM’s debut album Beseech Me is out now.