Speak For Yourself is platform for artists and musicians to discuss what inspires and influences their work. Texan Craig Clouse is the force behind the furious, original energy of London-based bands Shit And Shine and Todd, both of whom release records on the noisy Riot Season label. Only a limited number of CDS are pressed for each release, and they invariably sell out. Their music has reviewers grasping for wild, abstract similes to express their bemused praise. Meanwhile, the groups’ live shows consist of anywhere between five and 20 drummers on stage, all thrashing out the same beat. It’s the kind of music that totally body-swerves the intellect to commune directly with the gut, the bowels and the id. They make My Bloody Valentine sound like Bon Iver. Clouse rarely gives interviews, so we’re mighty chuffed to have him speak for himself. As told to William McBride.
Critical Praise: People love us. People hate us.
Todd vs. Shit & Shine: Todd is the rock band. Shit and Shine is the fuck-all-y’all band.
Why do you records sell out? We don’t make a million crappy records and try to shove them in as many faces as possible. We make quality records in small amounts. Once they’re gone we move on.
Live: A noise opera with a wall of orange amps, blue-faced bunnies and a load of drummers, half of whom don’t really understand what they’re getting themselves into (sometimes we recruit local drummers when we tout) and who, after a while, obviously don’t want to be there but are too embarrassed, or stubborn, to quit drumming until the others do. Especially the German drummers: “I vill nevva play vis shit and shine again!” A guest drummer in Prague couldn’t quite understand our directions for the song and didn’t know when to start, so sat behind his kit not playing, waiting for some kind of sign. We finished the show and he started crying, he was so upset he didn’t get to play. Then playing with Sunn O))) and Earth in a massive hall in Berlin. Later, seeing the Sunn O))) guys bump into things trying to find their way to the stage through the thick fog from their smoke machines.
Radio edit: Rob da Bank tried it with us and failed miserably. Fucking donut.
MySpace: It’s all metal bands and their three-foot long comments, with a picture of a raven coming out of a skull in front of a foggy, broken-down church. Or it’s those bands who sent out the, “Hey there, we’re an Estonian dark ambient techno prog folk band. Please check out our music and let us know what you think!” Or the totally odd, pale-looking, Thai girls who frame pictures of themselves with roses and unicorns and say things like, “Have a very beautiful day, thanks for your friendship.” What is going on there? It’s fucking creepy; deeply fucking creepy.
Fans: Mainly nervous, quiet, English guys with peach-fuzz beards and black metal t-shirts, or shiny-faced German guys who have Tori Amos and Billy Joel posters and hundreds of photocopies of the cast from Scrubs tacked up all over their tiny flat. Then there are skittish American college girls with sweaty foreheads who lock you into eye contact and want to talk about their ex-boyfriend who plays bass. It’s generally the lonely, the deferential and the dispossessed, or vapid, hollow-eyed vixens looking for a free ride.
Lightning Bolt: Black pus.
Sissy Spacek: Greatest band we’ve seen in a very long time; totally amazing.
Three Days of Struggle: The best festival on the planet. CODA LUNGA!!!!
Nico Vascellari: Makes a great plate of pasta and has a really hot girlfriend.
Who do you listen? A donkey and a beagle on a seesaw, and Frankie when she needs a pee.
London: Full of shitehawks.
Texas: Texas Tommy double dog: two foot-long hot dogs on one bun, smothered in squeezy cheese and chilli.
South By Southwest: A total nightmare.