March 2012, Spindle Magazine Issue 5

Clock Opera do ‘chop pop’.

What the sod is chop pop?

“Our tracks start life as sampled instruments or anything else close to hand. Those samples are then chopped to smithereens and from these tiny parts we construct the basis of our tracks. Chop. I’m not really sure what ‘pop’ is, but in this instance it’s maybe a reference to the songs; that despite all the chopping they might become songs which form an emotional connection.”

Clock Opera are a band for whom the genius lies somewhere near, in, or around the madness.

Not only have they had a fiddle with discographies of other acts, creating remixes for Yeasayer, Marina and the Diamonds and Bloc Party as well as remixing some of their own, but their practiced hands snip, cut and paste (in what is a much more profound and skillful process) each of their own tracks to create the finished result: melodramatic synth pop.

“The chopping process is in many ways about discovering something different. New to us. And because there’s an element of serendipity to it there are no rules on what sampled sounds might inspire the next song.” Nor do they confine themselves to anything as conventional as the guitar/bass/drums/synth combo. Clock Opera are an equal opportunities kind of band, roping in household accouterments into the process. “Washing machines and drills deserve their chance.”

A similar approach is applied to Connelly’s lyric writing. What may have started as a fairly comprehensive story or thought process is once again put through the shredder. And not one of those straight shredders that can leave you piecing documents back together at a push, but a cross cut shredder. The final product is a far cry from the original story that inspired it.

“The lyrics are Guy’s and personal to him. But I can reveal that he draws inspiration from such places as his trembling heart, brain damaged people, bizarre magazines and bankers… I think songs like Belongings or Lifeboats (the B-side) are there to be understood. Other tracks are perhaps more elusive, but it’s healthy to have your own experience of lyrics. We certainly don’t like to say too much about meanings beyond the lyrics themselves.”

“Rather like guy’s beard, it doesn’t wear thin.”

This method in turn inspired me to chop up this interview and leave it in jumbled fragments for the reader to piece back together, as a tribute to Clock Opera’s shredded lyrics and dismantled chop pop.

But that’s the kind of stupid idea that leads you to getting done for libel. I will say this for it, though: “Rather like Guy’s beard, it doesn’t wear thin.” Which was actually an answer to a question concerning the tendency for the credit to be laid at front man Guy Connelly’s door instead of the focus on the band as a whole, but it was apt.

“Guy started this, discovered the process, wrote
many of the songs and single handedly made all of
the remixes to date. And he’s the front man of course. I’d say he deserves some focus. Clock Opera is very much a band now, though, and the music is increasingly created by all of us. The live show, artwork and even this interview are an expression of the fact we’re all in this together.”