Interview: Clarence Oddbody on lockdown, angels and their new EP

A big thank you to everyone who watched last night’s live stream. For those who didn’t catch it we were joined by Paul (left), the front man of London-based, rock trio ‘Clarence Oddbody‘ to talk films, facial hair and the band’s latest EP. Catch up on the highlights below and don’t forget to give Oddbody IV a listen.

By The Freaks: Tell us a bit about Clarence Oddbody, who are you guys and what do you do?

Paul: We’re kind of like old school rock band, Neil Young, Big Star, late Beatles. We’ve just been doing the rounds around London really. I was in a band with the drummer (Tom) before which was quieter and more mellow version of Clarence Oddbody. It got to the stage where it was just me and Tom rehearsing and I decided I wanted to branch out. I’d played only acoustic guitar for years and I wanted to get back to electric. We looked through all the usual places to find a bass player and Cliff played a Rickenbacker so immediately he was in. I’m one of those rare breeds of guitarist who says, ‘Turn the bass up louder’. You’re only as good as your drummer and you’ve got to hear the bass in your stomach, if not you’re doing something wrong.

By The Freaks: It was once said to me that a bass should be felt more than heard.

Paul: Very good saying. Always turn it up to 11 with bass and add a bit of fuzz or distortion.

By The Freaks: I completely agree. About the name Clarence Oddbody, where does that come from?

Paul: It’s from one of my favourite films of all time, do you know It’s a wonderful life? 1945 film, everything goes wrong in this man’s life and he wishes he had never been born. His guardian angel comes time and runs him through his life as if he had never been born and he sees he affected so many different people. The angel’s name is Clarence Oddbody.

By The Freaks: That’s a great origin story, tell us about the new EP, Oddbody IV.

Paul: We recorded it last December, mixed a bit last January and February. We were originally going to do two singles but decided we’d do another EP. We’d done Oddbody I, Oddbody II and Oddbody III so it just felt natural. All the songs are quite different which is weird for us. You’ve got dark wave, synth pop, new wave and acoustic on there. It’s a good mix and I think they all sit really well when you hear them back to back.
They were all recorded live. Everything we’ve ever recorded has been live vocals which I’d never done before Clarence Oddbody. I think it crosses a good line of polished but still raw.

By The Freaks: Any favourites?

Paul: I just like them all. When we recorded them I wasn’t happy with them, didn’t feel like I’d done a good job on the day, then we finally came to mix them I realised they were really good.  I don’t know why I was being so sensitive.

By The Freaks: One of my favourites is Hammer Those Nails which I see is doing very well on streams.

Paul: Yes, haha, it’s breaking the internet as we speak. I wrote that in about 10 minutes, in my dad’s caravan. It used to be a song in my old band, a bit faster and with synths, quite intense. In the studio we decided slow it down, it felt like a new song. Took me a while to get used to the guitar solo as I made it up on the spot! I have to relearn it every time we performed it live.

By The Freaks: You mentioned you’re previous EPs earlier, any plans for an album?

Paul: You know what, I’d love to do an album. Haven’t chatted with the boys yet but it would be nice to cherry pick our  favourite songs from our EPs and then maybe record another six. With the lockdown at the moment I’ve just been writing loads, literally just riffs and different chunks of songs. I’d like to sit down and put them in order. We don’t know when we’ll get to record or even play again, bit worrying isn’t it?

Paul Oddbody hair

By The Freaks: It is, how has the lockdown been for you?

Paul: It’s been alright, I’m not too bothered really, I’ve got a very low boredom threshold so staying in doesn’t bother me. I’ve got plenty of books and guitars to play. I’m glad we got to play our EP launch on the 17th of March before.

By The Freaks: When all this is over we’ll have to put on a MEGA gig.

Paul: We should take over the streets, in some kind of low loaded truck. All the bands can be on the truck, all playing at the same time, all their own songs. If we decide on a song I’m willing to put forward Can’t Smile Without You by Barry Manilow.

By The Freaks: Or a Rush song would be good?

Paul: Bomber by Motorhead?

By The Freaks: Anything by Napalm Death?

Paul: South of Heaven by Slayer?

By The Freaks: We’re getting heavier aren’t we?

Paul: Well, people will need to wake up.

By The Freaks: We’ve had a few questions written in which we should probably start on. First off, where do your lyrics come from?

Paul: Films, I’m a big film buff. Books too. I also listen out to conversations, maybe on the tube. I’m a complete Magpie, always nicking people’s conversations and hopefully something comes out of it.

By The Freaks: Which 60s or 70s musician has the best facial hair?

Paul: It’s got to be Jerry Garcia, maybe Ginger Baker just after Cream.

By The Freaks: What is your favourite riff?

Paul: That’s a tough one, I don’t know where to start with that… It’s like picking your favourite child, if you had children… I think it’s got to be Paranoid by Black Sabbath. That’s how a guitar is supposed to be played.

By The Freaks: Who would win in a fight between Eric Clapton and George Harrison?

Paul: George Harrison, hands down.

By The Freaks: Paul it’s been a pleasure. Everyone out there remember, listen to Clarence Fucking Oddbody.

Paul: Thank you very much, stay safe!

For fans of: Neil Young, Peter Frampton, Big Star
Trivia topic and score: The Beatles (7/10)
Facebook and Instagram handle: clarenceoddbodyband


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About callumfcsteele 43 Articles
London based promoter and musician

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