‘The project began a couple of years ago,’ explains Julie. ‘Benge had these great sketches that were beats and synth patterns, so those were the starting point. I really went to town adding lots of guitar layers and experimenting with different sounds. On some tracks the guitar is deft and rhythmic, as if mimicking sequencer patterns. On others it’s a deconstructed noise-based approach - scratching strings, making fitful, heavy chunks, howls and scrapings of noise and texture.’
Due to competing solo commitments for all 3 members the tracks disappeared into hard drive exile for a couple of years. Julie continues: ‘Last year we revisited the mixes and Stephen added his trademark mysterious and menacing vocals. Now we find ourselves with a finished piece of work. I thought of the name Clinker as I love its meaning: 'stony residue from burnt coal'. This seemed liked an apt description of both industrial and creative processes, and a nice nod to the industrial North of England.’
Stand-out tracks include Camouflage and Condition Collapsing. ‘I’d forgotten how liberating it is to play bass guitar on something,’ enthuses Mal. ‘It compliments Julie’s beautifully angular guitar, and Benge and me ripping up live percussion onto the sound of machines… As a collection of tracks these benefited from a lengthy gestation, as they follow no particular trend and were allowed to twist and turn to develop a life of their own. After successive cycles we suddenly drew it all together so the tracks have a sense of completion and identity.’
‘The real fun for me was during the mixing process when Mal and I looked at each other as the rawness of the tracks hit us on the big studio monitors,’ adds Benge. ‘We knew we had something untameable, and wanted to preserve that feeling of edgy rawness in the mixes.’
The cover image is by Julie Campbell, with overall design by Twilight.