After leaving off with certain bands tying to make Radio 1 music for eighteen year-olds, let’s have another nosey inside the mind of Jon McClure. Well, not actually into his head, just the second half of the interview. For the uninitiated, have a gander at part one, you silly mare. Brace yourself for some hard-hitting punches, thrown at some underlying problems of the industry.
Personal question- What inspired the outfits on the video for ‘Auld Reekie Blues’?
The man who filmed it was an old mate of mine called Shaun Grant, and we made a short film about seven years ago. We took him out to Thailand to film everything- we went to the market and they had these mad cloths, we were like ‘should we wear them? Yeah sound, why not?’. We were just being daft, that’s the only way to sum it up. I like the great British tradition of silliness and eccentricity, when I was younger I took myself right seriously, but I’m not afraid to have a bit of a laugh now.
It’s safe to say you’re a bit of a political sort. How does this coalesce with the new album, or does it avoid it completely?
It’s not political at all, really. There’s a couple of very subtle bits in songs that I sing that you might think were political, but everyone knows my politics, I don’t need to repeat them; otherwise you end up being Billy Bragg. I don’t want to be Billy Bragg, I wanna be Jon McClure. No disrespect to him. I’m a leftist, and my views are the same as they’ve always been. I still have a major issue with the Tories, with British foreign policy, and to carry on saying so on record is fucking boring.
Music can educate and inform, but a lot of the time, you want to drift away and let it take you on a journey, and that’s more what these last two albums are.
As one of the success stories stemming from Sheffield, is there any advice you’d give to upcoming bands?
Particularly for Sheffield, don’t sound like Arctic Monkeys, or they’ll kill you before you even start. But also for any young band, stop trying to get signed, and stop trying to become famous. Make good music, and if you’re music’s good enough, someone’ll hear it and you’ll get there. Bands get totally diverted with trying to become famous, just be dead good, and it’ll happen.
You’ve got to think, that two hours you’ve spent on Twitter blagging it, you could’ve been in the practice room writing a classic. You’re not a businessman, you’re a musician.
Which bands stand out to you, and what are they doing to get your attention?
A band who’ve just moved to Sheffield called BlackWaters, I think they’re great. A lot of stuff that’s on at This Feeling is good; her from Bang Bang Romeo, I’d like to hear her singing some James Bond songs. Got a girl supporting us in Manchester called Nia Wyn, who’s Welsh; she’s wicked, proper real as fuck. There’s loads of stuff, and I’m always keeping my ear to the ground, and long may it continue. It’s not that there’s no good music in this country, it’s just it doesn’t get heard, it gets drowned out beneath Chris and Kem, and they’re occupying a space in the media which should be occupied by a new band.
It’s great to see The Sherlocks do well too. They’ve worked fucking really hard, and a lot of people are a bit sniffy about them. They’ve done really well, and the kids love ‘em, so we should take our hat off to them and salute them for how hard they’ve worked. Good luck to them, that’s what I say. People are far too snobby about them, but there’s also a North/South thing in this country.
I kinda get chucked in with The Sherlocks, The Courteeners, and we get lumped into this big pot; none of us sound that much alike, but because we’re all from the North, we get lobbed into this ‘Northern, Monkeys…’ Fuck off, it’s offensive if anything. It’s like ‘you’re just thick cunts, you’re from the North, fuck off’, and it’s like hang about: Listen to it at the side of them trendy bastards from London that you’re playing, and you’ll actually see if you take a minute to appreciate it, that there’s far more heart in what I’m doing than what these trendy cunts are doing.
Some people dismiss the site too on a similar basis…
‘Course they do. But where were The Beatles from? Where were The Stone Roses from? Where were Arctic Monkeys from? The fucking North. Where was British electronic music born? Fucking Sheffield, get to fuck, man. The North’s the heartbeat of it.
This country’s incredibly London-centric, after skinting yourself so many times, it comes to a point in which only rich kids can support themselves in London, scratching about for those opportunities, working for a record label. These places become staffed by posh kids, and what do you think posh kids think of Reverend and the Makers? They just think ‘Heavyweight Champion, Fucking Northern’- Fuck off. They don’t know, play them track three off the latest album, it’ll fucking fry their mind, they’d never think it was us, they’d never take the time to listen, and therein lies the problem: The problem’s not with me, the problems with them, ‘cause their doors of perception remain closed. Fuck ‘em. That got me fired up there.
It’s pure arrogance, but I’ll say it. Put the latest album against anyone’s latest album, anywhere from the last two years. Play them back to back, and come back to me, cause it’s as good as anything anyone’s done. It’s arrogant, but I wouldn’t have said that about my fourth album, or third album, wouldn’t have probably said it about the first two albums, but I’ll say it about the last two. That’s what fucks me off- you don’t expect us to make brilliant records, you expect us to have disbanded, not to have got more popular. I’ll carry on making music until they have to give it to me. There’s no other alternative, there’s no use me banging on saying ‘I’m mint, I’m mint’, you have to force them to listen.
So with The Death of a King, there’s nothing that you’d like to have changed?
Nah, not a fucking note mate. Through the first four, there’s loads of things that I’d have changed, but these last two are fucking perfect.
What can we expect from Reverend and the Makers in the future?
Load of reyt good albums, like album after album after album of amazing music, until such a time when it’s indisputable that we’re fucking mega. Nice one.
‘Til the day you stop making records, godspeed Reverend. Get on their upcoming dates, and brace yourself for their gig at the O2 Academy Sheffield tonight.
Images courtesy of Reverend and the Makers’ Facebook page.