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KlammerInterview with

Steve (guitar and studio work) and Poss (lead singer) from Klammer

KLAMMER were kind enough to invite Reflections of Darkness to a private invite only gig just after the end of the UK Covid lockdown period. It was great to be at a live gig, but I was equally happy to have my request of an exclusive interview with the band. It’s fair to say KLAMMER have done very well over the time they have been in existence, but with their new material and the standard of overall musicianship now being so very high, the band is gelling together better than ever and ready and waiting for greater things to come.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD[: Please explain to me about the sound of KLAMMER.
Steve: When we first started, Poss and I wanted to do something that was inspired by BUZZCOCKS and WIRE but also bringing in contemporary flavours. The artiness of WIRE, which we love, and the energy and the melodies of BUZZCOCKS. Over the first two albums, and even on the last on, there’ve been some songs that appeal to the punk crowd. Although they’re not really full on Punk, they have that attitude. If we wanted to do a full set of 35-45 minutes of songs from the first three albums to a punky crowd, we could do that. But the new songs, on the next album aren’t really like that. There isn’t a single song due to go on the next album that you could class in that style. We did play Blackpool Rebellion (well-known UK Punk festival) and I don’t think we’d go down well there with the new stuff - or even invited! (laughs)
Poss: Yes, we’d be totally misunderstood! (laughs)

RoD: So where do you see yourselves going then?
Poss: We haven’t really targeted a particular audience, to be honest. It’s just been a natural progression, and that’s still going on.
Steve: Yeah, I agree it’s just been a natural progression through all the albums. I’d say the new one is definitely darker, almost a few proto-goth influences have crept in.
Poss: I’ve pushed the vocals a lot more, trying a higher range on some songs and we’ve introduced more space into the overall sound.
Steve: Yes, the only conscious decision we made musically is to introduce more space into the sound. The sound of last album is quite dense in places, but that was also a decision we made for that album at the time. So, for this one we have opened it all up a bit and kept more space it. It still has edge to it but in a different way to the earlier albums

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RoD: Where did you guys meet?
Poss: I was in a Punk band in the 70s called THE PRISONERS, which reformed in 2006. We re-recorded the 70s album, played loads of gigs and even supported THE VIBRATORS in the States. Steve found our material in the studio, as he knew the bass player.
Steve: Yeah, I mixed a track for them, gave it a beefier sound, met Poss, and realised that THE PRISONERS wasn’t a long-term project. Poss was keen on continuing after his time back out on the road and re-recording material, but wasn’t going to have a band. The original idea was just to try and write a couple of songs. This was around 2010. It started as a bedroom studio project, but very quickly we had the demos for the whole of the first album, just the two of us - no band. I had used programmed drums on the demos, so I then got a friend of mine to come in and record live drums. So, after we’d recorded live drums onto the songs and mixed them, we suddenly thought - why don’t we play it live? It was all back to front really, not the way you normally start a band.
Poss: I had a mate who played bass, but when I asked him, he said he was far too old, and suggested his son. So, we ended up with a 21-year-old bass player, we got rehearsal rooms and we suddenly had a live band. Then we got gigs, which was amazing - small gigs to start with like The Parish in Huddersfield, but then got larger gigs in Leeds at places like The Brudenell.
Steve: A couple of albums on the bass player left, and we got Mike in which has been fantastic, and it really raised the level of the band. Then a few drummers came and went, and then Bruno came along. We hit lucky with Bruno as he loves the same stuff as we do, so he understands the drumming KLAMMER need, which isn’t just normal drumming on some of the songs - it’s quite angular and with strange patterns at times. KLAMMER’s music is melody driven, and Mike’s bass is part of that and even Bruno’s drumming can be part of the melody. You know when bands get to that point that they have the classic line up of that band, I feel we are now there. Everyone is really strong at what they do and what they bring to the band.

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RoD: So, the new album - likely to be a 14-15 track album?
Poss: Well there is 16 written.
Steve: We’ve recorded 16, and mixed 16, but we’ll probably be looking at putting 12 on the album.
Poss: It would fit on to a CD but it wouldn’t fit onto vinyl and we’re not about to put out a double album, so the songs that don’t make it may a spin-off EP. We’re just at that final stage of the decision making of what makes the album and what doesn’t.
Steve: I’m not fan of longer albums. Some BEATLES albums were sometimes a little short (but perfectly formed), but from the early 90s onwards, when you could squeeze 74 minutes on a CD, things swung the other way, and a lot of albums got too long. I always get bored after the first half of long CD. Around 40 minutes is perfect for me. On previous albums we’d write twelve songs and try to keep the length to about 40 minutes, but this time we’ve gone crazy and got 16. Not just down to Covid lockdown either, only one song came out of that period, the rest were written well before the pandemic. ‘Alone’ was the only written during lockdown. We did work hard together on it, but apart. Luckily each of us has recording gear at home to varying amounts.
Poss: Steve sent the music to me, and at first, I couldn’t think of any lyrics to fit it. We were at the point that Mike and Bruno had done their parts, all without meeting up, and I just couldn’t think of the right words! I eventually managed to get the words done, then the vocals were recorded and it became a complete song.
Steve: At the time it was going to be a lockdown digital single given away for free, but it turned out to good to give away. So, it’s definitely making the album.
Poss: Yeah once we could work it together in the same room, we realised it was too special for a throwaway freebie track.
Steve: In theory it wasn’t an ideal way to work, but lockdown happened, and it turned out really good. But that was the only track written this year, the rest were done last year, and much of the recording was done just before lockdown.

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RoD: Since the pandemic and lockdown, it does seem to have inspired many artists and bands to work differently…
Poss: Yes definitely, but for us we normally work the room together. Sometimes we have recorded things first, then worked on them in rehearsal and they have become a different beast.
Steve: After we have played most of the songs live, they have progressed and changed. If we were to re-record them now, they would perhaps end up being quite different to original recordings.
Poss: Yes, as a band we like rehearsing and performing, more organic.

RoD: Is there any details you can give me about the new album? Perhaps its name? The label it will be released on?
Steve: We’re not sure which label it’ll be released on yet. We have no formal deal with Under Dogz Records and each release has been agreed as we’ve done them. So, it might be with them or it might be a new label, we are keeping our options open at this point. There was an A&R guy due here this evening (the informal gig RoD attended), but he had to pull out coming at the last moment due to complications resulting from virus restrictions. He’s from a label that has some bigger names than our current record label.
Poss: What we want is somebody that can get us promotion, more gigs and such - the people we are with are brilliant, but they haven’t really pushed it far enough.
Steve: We have really done most of the pushing ourselves, and a lot of self-promotion as you need to do nowadays.
Poss: So yes that’s what we are looking for, a label that can push us further. We’ve got pretty good at promotion but it would great to have someone on board that really knows what they are doing, and has the contacts and power to push the music. It would also be great to get someone on board to help book gigs. For example, we played with THE SKIDS a couple of times and Richard and the band have been very complimentary about us, but their booking agent likes to pick bands from their own roster. Whereas they themselves have said they’d prefer us to play with them.
Steve: As for a name for the new album, we have a few ideas on the go at the moment but we’d prefer to keep them to ourselves until we decide which one to go for.
Poss: The last one (album) was named after a throwaway comment about passports on the tour bus - “You have been processed”. Sometimes things just stick in your mind, but the new album could be called anything! (laughs). Main thing is it’s released hopefully by the end of the year.

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RoD: What are your plans for playing live once the pandemic is over.
Poss: We’ve toured all around the UK but now we really want to get out and play in Europe. I do think that there’s a great audience waiting for us, especially in Germany.
Steve: From all the radio plays and people buying the albums across the EU, we know that we’d go down well across Europe, but I think Poss is right, Germany could be special!

Post Interview News
: We’re just about to be released on a double A-Side 7” single with THE WHITE RIBBONS in tribute to late great Pete Shelley. It just got announced today (2nd Oct) and the limited-edition clear vinyl is already sold out! They will be getting a second pressing done in black vinyl in December. We had to cover a song that Pete had written, the song we picked is called ‘I Don’t Know What It Is’ and it will also appear on the album to be released in December called ‘Yesterday's Not Here’. All proceeds will be going to a memorial fund to honour Pete’s life and work.

You can listen to our track here:

Here’s a bit about the tribute album

All pictures by Kevin Stevens

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