Nothing Clean: Band Of The Day

By on 17 August 2015


The next time some hoary old hardcore ‘veteran’ starts lecturing you on how ‘powerviolence is dead’ or that ‘nothing’s ever gonna come close to No Comment’s ‘Downsided’ seven inch anyway’, thrust a copy of Nothing Clean’s new split with La Letra Pequeña into their wrinkled hands and tell them to fuck off. Spawned from Leicester’s fertile hardcore scene (their members have previously done time in Mangle, Meatpacker, Diet Pills, Toecutter, Disability, Chief Wiggum etc), the quartet are one the most ludicrously fast hardcore bands in the UK right now – but this isn’t just speed for speed’s sake. Every one of the nine shards of fury they’ve managed to squeeze onto this four-and-a-half-minute long slab of wax feels like an actual, proper song, intricately written and with big, fist pumping riffs that’ll get stuck in your head for days.

With Nothing Clean hitting the road relentlessly of late and popping up on bills all over the country (and beyond!), we thought this was a fine time to get in touch with guitarist James Stringer to find out more…

WHO ARE THEY: Nothing Clean
FOR FANS OF: No Comment, Despise You, Infest
LATEST RELEASE: Nothing Clean/La Letra Pequeña Split (Circus Of The Macabre Records / Vleesklak Records)
WEBSITE: Facebook, Bandcamp

You’ve all played in various other grind and powerviolence bands, but Nothing Clean seems to have a bit more of a punkier approach – did you have a specific sound when you formed the band, or did that just grow and evolve naturally?
“We didn’t really know what it was going to sound like. I wanted to do something different from Meatpacker, that was about the only idea I had about it. Before our first jam I asked Duane [drums] what sort of thing he wanted to do but he didn’t have a concrete idea either. I just turned up with a couple of fast riffs and a slow riff. Baring in mind our history I guess it was always going to be the fast stuff that prevailed.”

What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
“We’re into loads of different stuff. These days we listen to a lot of hip hop, things like Run The Jewels and The White Mandingos have had an influence in a way. When the band started we were listening to a lot of Misfits and Bad Brains which definitely influenced some of the earlier writing. More recently it’s been more influenced by bands who we’ve caught on the road like Despise You and Cloud Rat.”

How does your writing process normally work out? Will you meet up with song ideas pretty much fully formed beforehand?
“Normally I come up with a couple of riffs or the outline of a song and then Duane and I sort of make something work. Duane’s written a couple so we sometimes reverse the process. Matt’s [vocals] recently been writing some riffs as well. Once we’ve got a couple of riffs we just sort of see what other riffs come out of it until it’s done.”

What can you tell us about your upcoming split with La Letra Pequeña?
“I think it started when I was talking to Paul from La Letra Pequeña about putting on a show for his friends Enoch Ardon and Wild Animals. I’d put on Paul’s other band Rageous Intent a year or so before and didn’t know he did La Letra Pequena as well. He sent me a link to their demo and we thought it was sick so we suggested a split. We’re pretty pleased with how it worked out. It’s available now from both bands as well as Circus Of The Macabre Records in the UK and Vleesklak Records in Belgium.

Have you got any other splits or new recordings in the pipeline?
“We’re hopefully going to be recording two split 7″s worth of material in the next few weeks. The plan is to do splits with Higgs Boson and Famine. We’ll see how that works out.”

Leicester seems to have produced loads of great hardcore/grind/powerviolence/whatever bands in recent years – why do you think that is?
“Leicester’s a weird place. For the size of the city the scene’s pretty small but the people who do it have always done it. It’s always the same people at the shows or in the bands. The people in the scene are part of it almost out of necessity. I think because it’s not very popular there’s a kind of integrity and intensity to Leicester bands. We’d all be doing it even if there was nobody to watch. Andy from Mangle once said to me ‘I don’t do bands because I want to be cool or hang out or meet people or whatever. I do it because I fucking hate eveything.’ I think that pretty much sums it up.”

You’ve been gigging pretty relentlessly of late, where do you find you get the best crowd reaction?
“We played a few shows in Spain earlier in the year which were pretty crazy. We played with La Letra Pequeña in a tiny practice room to about six people but it still kicked off. There was crowd surfing and everything. We also played this crazy metal festival called Brutalogos while we were out there. We didn’t know how we would go down as we aren’t really very metal but everyone just lost their shit. People in Spain know how to party.”

What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
“The few shows in Spain were probably the most fun so far. Everyone out there’s just really enthusiastic and friendly. Saying that it was probably the most gruelling thing we’ve done as well. We flew there and travelled by public transport. The last show finished at about 5am and we had to get a bus back to Madrid at 7am. That day, sleepless and hungover carrying our all our gear aimlessly around Madrid wasn’t the best. We were pretty mardy until we sat down with a beer.”

What does the future have in store for Nothing Clean?
“We’re doing a pretty big UK tour in September, then going out to Ireland in October. We’re planning a big European tour next year and hopefully getting those splits out. We basically want to smash out as many shows and records as we can.”

About Kez Whelan

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