Formed in 1991
The Clientele are a London-based British band with Alasdair MacLean on
vocals and guitar, Mark Keen on drums, James Hornsey on bass and Mel
Draisey on violin, keyboards, backing vocals and percussion. After the
album "Suburban Light" (2000), "The Violet Hour" (2003), "Strange
Geometry" and "It's Art, Dad" (2005), they released in 2007 "God Save
The Clientele" recorded in Nashville on Merge Records. This album is
the first to feature the brilliant Mel Draisey as the official fourth
member of the band playing a wide range of instruments.
Their forthcoming new album "Bonfires on the Heath" is planned to be released on 6th October.
Interview with Mel Draisey multi-instrumentalist
and member of The
S: How and when did all begin
I learnt piano and violin classically as a kid then gave up as soon as
I had finished my classical grades determined never to play again! Then
moved to London and got bored 2 years later so decided to play in a
band. I found my first one on gumtree, it was a posh boy punk band with
me on violin....then gradually met more people and more bands to play
are the positive and negative sides of being a musician in UK?
The positive is you don't get so sweaty onstage negative would have to
be the terrible riders you get given. I don't even like beer.
S: Do you feel anxious before a
Not normally, just excited, strangely the bigger the show the less
scary, it's those really intimate ones that sometimes make me a bit
S: What musicians or artists had
an influence in your life and in your work?
So many, from Bach to John Cale to The Beatles to the bands we have
S: Do you remember what was the
first CD you bought?
I couldn't possibly tell you the truthful answer on that one. It is
shocking! The first cassette I remember buying was a great compilation
called best of the 60's summer!
S: Do you think the emotion is
different between a song in English and in another language?
That's a hard question, I don't think the emotion is any different but
I think it can sound different in different languages.
S: How could you define the
music of The Clientele?
I always say pschedelic pop a bit like Love/Beatles (In our dreams
S: Do you agree with Victor Hugo
who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?
Yes I think I do. I like that. I like that feeling.
S: When you write a song you
follow your heart, your brain or your hand?
: I would
never follow my brain because it would not do a good job. Always the
hand and heart.
S: What is your favourite song
of The Clientele and why?
To play would have to be one of the ones we do vocal harmonies on like
"Somebody Changed" or "Bonfires on the Heath", to hear probably "Losing
Haringey" or "Voices in the Mall"
S: As musician, what is your
feeling about Internet?
It's a bittersweet thing. In the same day I might love it and hate it.
worked with various other bands such as Primal Scream, Le Volume Courbe
and Freelovebabies, I guess it's really exciting to express your talent
in various projects ?
It is so much fun playing with different bands/musicians. I love
improvising which I was allowed to do in some of these bands. It's
great to be able to play with completely different sounding music too.
S: Can you describe what is a
typical Mel's day?
are 2 very different mel days, the mel day on tour and the mel day at
work when not on tour. Which is more interesting?
S: What are your hobbies aside
Making clothes, making headbands, painting, teasing my cats with other
cat sounds on youtube, cooking up soups, reading books in record speed,
walking in the parks with my boyfriend.
you venturesome person?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
S: Where would you like to play
in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?
I'd love to go and play in Brazil, we have been pretty lucky with
getting to tour all around America/EuropeAus&NZ but sadly
yet made it to Brazil.
what's the best place for a concert "Brighton Beach", "Santa Monica",
"Victoria Street" or "Locarno" ?
I suppose it depends which Brighton beach and which Victoria street you
mean, or Alasdair means! I'd like a wintery concert on Victoria Street.
there any things, which you are afraid of? Do you have any fears?
There are 2 big ones. First is to be swimming in the sea, look down and
to see and sunken ship looming out the darkness below, the second is
daddy longlegs, I can't stand the way they always fly into your face
and in your hair and you can't find where they have gone and then they
are right back in your face again! Horrid....
S: What is the best moment and
best place to listen to your music?
I think early Sunday morning when you are glad to wake up and not have
to rush anywhere, or driving home on your own, or on the Underground to
make everyone else around you seem like they are in a film not going to
our website is related with Manic Street Preachers maybe can you say
some words about them?
I saw their set at T in the Park on TV and though it was great, they do
really good festival sets. It's a hard thing to do well i think.
know it’s a difficult question, but if you would have to keep
just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?
: That is
hard....probably Gram Parsons "Grievious Angel" or The Best of The Kinks.
S: What was the last song you
listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be
I listened to Ian Brown "My Star" by accident just now, but I quite
enjoyed it. I think I will listen to Shooby Taylor the human Horn in a
minute as it makes me laugh every time I hear him.
S: Can you tell us the name of
one French song, or singer, or band?
from Le volume courbe? ;) okay, Phoenix, which I love.
S: And say something in French?
: Je voudrais achete un kilo de pomme de tere sil vous plais
S: What are your plans for the
Tour the new Clientele album 'Bonfires on the Heath" in October and
February, Play some dates in Le Volume Courbe, ATP Nightmare at
Christmas and to start gigging with a new band I have formed currently
called "With Mel and I" Working title name......
S: And finally, what’s
the most important thing in life for you?
these are deep questions......To love and be loved I suppose. And to
make beautiful music too.
MANY thanks to Mel and The Clientele for the interview!
More informations about The Clientele:
- on their site:
- on their Myspace: