The Sidmouth Fringe Sessions are a series of intimate musical performances spread over 5 nights (7.15pm - late) which are running from 5th to 9th August. The lineup this year is immense, so much so, we wanted to get in touch with as many acts as possible for a chat about a whole bunch of stuff including festival survival, the best album in the world EVER, BBC Introducing and super-groups, read on to see how we got on....
Firstly, please take a moment to introduce yourself, tell us about your music and give us a fascinating fact about you or your band....
Hi I’m Clara Bond and I’m a UK country artist. Our drummer Josh is an identical twin. I love watching people get confused when they see them both together for the first time. It's a beautiful party trick.
You play the Sidmouth Fringe Festival on 5th August, how did this come about?
I live in Sidmouth actually, I grew up there. I’d been to the festival before as a punter but this year we were asked to play. It’s pretty great. Last year Josh and I went to watch the other guys in the band play in the Jonah Hitchens band. We got quite tipsy to say the least. I found myself behind the bar pulling the worst pints imaginable.
The BBC Introducing team are heavily involved in the festival, have you had any dealings with them in the past?
Yeah absolutely, they've been so supportive! I released my Out of Towners EP last year and BBC Introducing asked us to record and film a live session of the entire EP. It was a really great day. We filmed it in my friend's amazing house with his little dog scooting around. You can actually see the dog running around in the 'Flashbacks' live session.
Yes we’ve actually played alongside Velvet & Stone before. They were so great! Their harmonies are so locked in, I love seeing chemistry like that. Weirdly, Roger from Velvet & Stone was the first person I ever got on stage with. When I was 15, he was in the Mama Stone's house band and I went to a jam night and sang a very pitchy version of 'Mama Do' by Pixie Lott.
Are you playing any other festivals this Summer? If so, which ones are you most looking forward to?
We’ve played a lot of festivals so far this year. Lots of country festivals which we love as everyone there treats you like they're your best friend. Festivals are great as they give you the opportunity to travel around the country playing your music and still enjoy the festival with your band. The first one was the C2C Festival at the O2 Arena in London which was one of the best experiences of our lives.
Music festivals can be quite messy affairs, what are your top three tips to surviving one?
Dry shampoo, wellies and just embrace the fact that you will look terrible.
You get some pretty diverse food at festivals, what’s been the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
At C2C we played all 3 days of the festival. On the first day we got our artist packet with food tokens in for these pulled pork baguettes. We thought we hit the jackpot but then we realised that we got the same food tokens every day. I love pulled pork but when it’s all you eat for 3 days straight you kind of can’t look at it again. None of us have eaten it since!
In your opinion, what is THE BEST album in the world ever?
In every interview, I always rave about Theo Katzman. He is an absolutely exceptional artist; a true rock star. His songwriting is something I just haven’t seen in such a long time. His album 'Heartbreak Hits' is my all time favourite album. We went to see him play in London last week and it was just a pure class act. I honestly cannot say a bad word about him. He's also a really lovely chap which is a bonus. I would have absolutely hated to meet him only to realise he's an asshole. It would have broken the spell.
If you could create your very own super-group using any musicians (dead or alive) who would be in the band and why?
To be honest I love the guys in my band. They’re my best friends which makes it so wonderful that I get to share every experience with them. However, if they one day wake up and decide they hate me, I would ask the band Vulfpeck to be my band. They’re total geniuses and seem to be just the right amount of weird.
What advice would you offer to a band or an artist just starting out? Any pitfalls to try to avoid?
Go with your gut absolutely every time. As a woman in the music industry you can imagine how many weird experiences I’ve had with crooks and just plain weird and gross people in suits. Trusting my intuition has saved me every time. Read up and learn the ins and outs of your industry. Don't take any shit.
Lastly, please give us the names of 3 acts/artists that we should be checking out?
We'd like to thank Clara for sparing her time to chat to us and we wish her the very best for her performance at Sidmouth Fringe Sessions on Saturday August 5th and whichever festivals have been lucky enough to book her for the remainder of the season. Keep up to date with Clara at the following sites;