The McClymonts, Brooke, Samantha and Mollie certainly ‘wrapped up’ 2010 ‘good’, and they’re visiting Port Panthers as part of their fabulous new 2011 tour.
You had such a phenomenal year in 2010. Your second album Wrapped Up Good went gold, followed by your first album, then you added an ARIA to your list of achievements as well.
What was the highlight of this fabulous year for you?
The highlight was definitely the ARIA – although, even going number two on the charts was pretty amazing. After the whole of last year … it’s going to be a hard year to top.
What was the experience like playing on the same stage as INXS at the ARIA awards?
That was absolutely incredible. Those guys were just so lovely, it made it even better.
You won a Golden Guitar at Tamworth this year as well. What category did you win this award in – and was the competition pretty tough?
It was for Group of the Year. The whole awards this year … I think everyone had an album out. Everyone was in the mix, so it was a really tough year. It was nice – really cool to get it. You know – you don’t really expect to win it. So when you get it, it’s such a good feeling.
I have to wonder – how on earth do you decide who gets to keep and display all the awards?
With the ARIAs, they actually made us three – so we got one each. With the Golden Guitars, with the group award, we also got one each.
So, we’ve only had to give a few away. With our Best New Talent, we gave that to Dad. And with our Vocal Collab, we gave that to Mum. So we’ve kind of spread them out!
You’ve mentioned what a great year 2010 was for The McClymonts. Can you top it this year?
I don’t think we’re even going to try! We’re just going to do our thing. I think when you don’t try and don’t put that big expectation on yourself, that something good is bound to happen. There’s less pressure. This year’s just as busy. We’re touring until the 29th May [in Australia] and then we go to America on June 2nd and don’t get home until November. Then we have more gigs … so, it’s just as crazy a year.
You’ve been in Nashville working on your third album. Who is producing that with you – how is it progressing?
Nathan Chapman is actually producing it, and he’s produced all of Taylor Swift’s albums. So, we have a really good relationship with him, and we’re just working on getting the songs together at the moment. We’re still writing, and we’re in the very early stages.
How is this album shaping up?
We want it definitely to be fresh and different to our last album. But it’s always gonna sound like us, because of our harmonies. We’ve definitely got our own sound. But we’re writing on more of a personal level this time. More of actually what is going on with us and our lives.
You’ve always seemed to be very positive with your music. Even the music that contains messages of sadness and heartbreak, you try to leave the listener with a feeling of hope?
I guess when we write, that’s just what comes out. We’re all really lucky to be in pretty good stages in our lives, and I think if someone was depressed or something bad was going on, that would come through too.
You’ve probably had a pretty good chance to check out the Country Music scene in the USA. How do you find it compares to Australia?
The fans are just as loyal in Australia as they are in America – they love their Country Music. The only difference is, it’s way bigger in America. Say … in Australia there are 5,000 people at a festival; in America, there are 20,000 – and that’s just at one show. The number of people is completely different.
Have you had the chance to meet some music industry greats while you’re over in the USA?
We haven’t really met any famous people, but we have seen all of their shows. Like, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill … we’ve seen them all. It’s nice to see their concerts and see what we need to do to make it over there.
What kind of impact did seeing all of these shows have on you? Did you find them inspiring?
For sure. We just walked away going, “Oh my goodness – that was incredible!” The musicianship and how professional everything is … everything is run really well. It makes you work harder and makes you want to be where they are.
It’s a goal to raise your profile in the States?
Yes – for sure.
If you had to pick one of your songs as a favourite – what would it be, and why?
Probably Kick it Up. It’s just a party song and it’s so fun. In our shows, it’s the only song people yell out, “Please Kick it Up!” So, obviously it’s a song that they love, and when we play it, it’s always fun and people dancing and singing. It just has a really good feeling.
You guys were really excited to announce your Australian national tour. What is it about Australia that makes you look forward to coming home – and what do you miss while you’re away?
We miss the food, family, friends … I think, where you grow up, you’re always going to love coming back to. It’s home. I just miss the little things, really. Being able to go to a friend’s place and hang out, or going to your family. We’re lucky we’ve got each other … but I miss those things. And my own bed!
So how has the tour been going so far?
It’s going awesome. From now on, we just don’t stop. The shows have been so great – it’s been really cool. It’s been packed out – all the shows have been sold out, and the fans have just been awesome. We get to meet them after the show. The fans seem to be really happy, and it’s nice to get to meet them.
How do Australian and US audiences differ?
I think the Australian audiences are a bit more shy. Americans can be very in your face, and they’ll come up and talk to you and get autographs straight away. I guess Australians are a bit more reserved – which is not a bad thing. That’s a bit how us girls are too.
What songs are you performing on this tour? Is it a mixture of your first and second albums, or are you performing anything new?
It’s a mixture of the first and second albums, and we’ve chucked in a few medleys and a few new covers, which makes the show a bit different.
Your shows are always so lively. How do you keep those energy levels pumping?
I don’t know! I think it’s just adrenaline! I just can’t stand still. When I hear the music, I just want to dance and have a good time.
After all the travelling and performing, how do you go about keeping things so fresh? And how do you stop from getting on each other’s nerves, spending so much time together?
We’ve learned to balance everything. We know if one person’s in a mood or not happy with something, you just don’t push things. You give each other space – that’s the main thing.
But to get the show to how it is, we do a lot of rehearsals beforehand – and a lot of practice to see what songs go where. A lot of thought actually goes into the show before we got out on the road.
Before a massive tour, we have about three days’ rehearsal – that’s with the band. With the first couple of shows, we might change a few songs if they’re not working where they are. But those three days are full 8-hour days of rehearsal and getting the show together. We do have to practice by ourselves before we go to rehearsal as well.
What are you hoping audiences will take away from your show after they see you perform?
Just to feel really good. You know when you leave a show, and you go, “That was awesome! I loved it!” Fulfilment, a great time and have fun.
You’ve visited the Port Macquarie area before. What are your memories of the area?
It’s beautiful. The fans always come out, and they’re so lovely. I just love that area, because it’s near home. We grew up in Grafton, so all of that area feels like home.
You’ve all achieved so much musically. What do you feel is left for you to accomplish?
We want to hit the American market and have a bit of success over there. We’re just building that up now. We want to be able to continue touring in Australia and have people come out to our shows. I guess a Golden Guitar for Album of the Year … there are many things we haven’t achieved that we’d like to!
Thank you Mollie. All the best for 2011 – and good luck with the tour.
The McClymonts will be appearing at Port Panthers on Thursday, May 5, at 8pm. Tickets are $35 for members and $38 for non members. Contact the club on 6580 2300 for details.
Interview by Jo Atkins.