On first listen, it’s tempting to peg DC quartet Clear Channel as some kind of bastard love child that resulted from a three-way between Ian Curtis, Poly Styrene and King Tubby. Keep listening, though, and it’s apparent the band has a love for something those artists tended to lack: groove.
And do they ever groove. Here’s the thing — it is IMPOSSIBLE to listen to the title track of the band’s debut EP, “Hot Fruit,” and NOT move. Impossible. The track boasts an irresistible rhythm, off-kilter electronics, a killer vocal performance and hilarious lyrics (but more on that later).
That brings me to something Clear Channel specializes in which is an all-too rare quality for DC punk bands: piss takes.
If you’re looking for your next favorite po-faced goth band, look elsewhere. Clear Channel are dark, yes, but they’re also cheeky. Frankly, I find the absence of heavy-handedness on offer refreshing. As their “Hot Fruit” EP can attest, this is a band that revels in fun as much as edgy atmospherics.
But just who are Clear Channel? Perhaps not surprisingly, Awad, MJ, Carson and Don are all involved in other bands and creative projects. But based on how consistently impressive the band’s “Hot Fruit” EP is, there’s a strong argument to be made that prolific artists are more in touch with their muse.
With Clear Channel set to play the first WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE of 2020, I got in touch with the band to learn more about this unusual and intriguing band…
1) What can you tell us about how Clear Channel formed?
First God created weed, then God created bass – and of the bass, God created Mary. Mary was lonely, and so she asked God to sculpt Carson and Awad out of a kick drum and a pair of bongos, and then Don joined and all was right with the world.
2) All of the band members are involved in different bands and creative projects. To what extent does that help or hinder what you do as Clear Channel?
It’s chill. It’s harder because you have less time to jam but it’s also better, because we make more music. Diversifying your bonds, etc.
3) One of the things I love most about Clear Channel is the band’s playfulness. The title track of your EP “Hot Fruit” features a hilarious line “I’m looking for bananas, show me your bananas, I wanna see bananas, two big black bananas!” Would it be fair to say that Clear Channel is an outlet to let loose and do things you maybe couldn’t get away with in your other bands?
“I pretty much sing about dick in every band I’m in, but this particular line just clicked. We get to just do whatever feels right in the moment and roll with it.” – Awad
4) Speaking of other bands, it really does seem like you eat, breathe and sleep music! What drives you to be as involved as you are?
Our drive to create is pretty natural, and it’s very much who we are. There is no other way and it kind of just is what it is. This is our priority.
5) Clear Channel has played with some incredible bands — from Guerilla Toss and Sneaks and even Ex Hex. What is your idea of an ultimate Clear Channel live show? Have you played your ultimate show yet?
We’ve been so incredibly fortunate to play with some great bands and friends, but in terms of ULTIMATE SHOW, I really want us to do a Clear Channel Cruise one day, but playing the National Mall would be pretty amazing or the sculpture garden at the Hirshhorn.
Catch Clear Channel at WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE on Jan. 3, 2020 at the Marx Cafe (3203 Mt. Pleasant St NW DC).
Listen and purchase Clear Channel’s music at their bandcamp page.