INTERVIEW: The McClymonts

The McClymonts are ready to highlight their growth as a group through the release of their sixth studio album ‘Mayhem To Madness’. With a cohesive deeper dive into the polished stylings of country-pop, this also marks their most experimentally charged collection of tracks yet. 

With over thirteen years in the industry, and with six studio albums and one EP under their belt, they have collectively pulled their individual maturity together and curated a very impressive listen. 

From the empowering statement of ‘I Got This’ to the romantically honest ‘Looking For Perfect’ and the sassy break up energy of ‘Wish You Hell’, the dynamic sister trio take you on a journey of the ups and downs of adult life along with the lessons we all learn on the way. 

I recently chatted to Samantha McClymont from The McClymonts about working with Andy Mak on a more country-pop directed sound, the creative process behind ‘Part Time Phase’ and ‘I Got This’, and reflected on the groups growth since their debut album 13 years ago. Check it out BELOW; 

THOMAS BLEACH: The McClymonts sixth studio album ‘Mayhem To Madness’ is out now and it’s a heavier deep-dive into polished country-pop. Was this something that you were all consciously experimenting with for this album? 

SAMANTHA MCCLYMONT: We don’t really go into songwriting with the intention for an album to sound a particular way, especially when trying to establish what we want to say. We try to let the album take us on a journey. 

We were getting some of the initial songs finalised, and then we pulled up some of the songs we didn’t exactly finish from the last record because they didn’t really fit at that time. We started piecing them together, and some worked really well so they started to take on a new life for themselves. 

We handed over the tracks to our producer Andy Mak and was like “now, let’s do this!” and trusted him to bring it to life. I feel like we could say all our ideas and what mood we were trying to capture, and he just got it. 

TB: What songs from the early recording sessions of ‘Endless’ were the ones that ended up making it onto this album?

SM: ‘Lighthouse Home’, ‘Open Heart’ and ‘Part Time Phase’ were the songs we brought over from that album! The reason those songs didn’t make it on the last album is sometimes the themes double up, and it’s more impactful if you take it out of the equation at the time. There’s only so many love songs or heartbreak songs you can have on one album. It doesn’t mean that the songs weren’t good enough, it just comes down to the cohesiveness of that record because some of these songs on this record are more quirky and that’s where ‘Open Heart’ and ‘Part Time Phase’ fit in. 

TB: You worked with Andy Mak on this record after working with him on ‘Endless’. What is it about working with Andy that you think pushes you differently and brings out something fresh? 

SM: We just love working with Andy! He actually works a lot with his brother as well, so he kinda just understands family dynamics and sibling harmonies. He also have three kids, so that was something important to us because he gets that our schedules are all over the place and gets when our kids have to come along to the studio. 

As working mums it’s important that we don’t put ourselves into situations where we feel like our kids shouldn’t be there or that we are being judged for whatever we have to do. It’s nice to be welcomed with open arms. 

TB: The album opens with the honest and catchy ‘Part Time Phase’ which is all about the complications of love. Do you mind explaining how this song creatively came together? 

SM: This was a previous song of Brooke’s that Molly and I just loved it because it was so quirky, fun and different. 

The concept of it also really stood out to me because it was so honest. You love your partner, you do everything together, and you’re not going to break up, but sometimes they can really piss you off. You just butt heads and don’t see eye to eye, and that’s okay. But it’s only a fleeting moment and it passes and then you’re back to being in love again. It doesn’t take away from the relationship, but sometimes in particular moments you’re not always going to see eye to eye. 

I thought this song was a really interesting way to show another side of the relationship that’s not the falling in love, or the break-up stage.

TB: You’ve then got the empowering ‘I Got This’ which is all about not giving up on yourself. So how important are songs like this for you personally when you’re feeling a lack of confidence?

SM: This was actually one of the last songs we wrote for the album! We were in the session and I had my baby in there because he wouldn’t take a bottle, so he was just with me ALL the time. I was trying to write and was passing him around to Brooke and Molly just trying to keep him happy, and then the idea just clicked. I said to the girls, “I want to write about, THIS! We are trying so hard to do it all, we are trying to juggle everything, and sometimes it can just be so hard. But we need a positive way of saying that we always get through it together, and I’ve got this”. 

For me it’s about motherhood, but it really can translate to so many different experiences for people. Especially with the times we are living in right now with people losing jobs and being stuck at home. I feel like we all genuinely needed an anthem to help us get through. 

TB: The album has a lot of strong lyrical moments but one of mine is “I hope you treat her well and I wish you hell” which is from ‘Wish You Hell’. So what is one of your favourite lyrical moments on the album? 

SM: I think for me it would be in ‘Looking For Perfect’ where we sing “If you’re not looking for perfect, then that makes me perfect for you”. I feel like that sums up relationships as well because no one is perfect, and you don’t want to be perfect, and that is kinda what makes a relationship so good. 

TB: This album also hears you doing a little cover of Fleetwood Mac’s iconic ‘Little Lies’. Why did this cover feel like a strong cohesive choice? 

SM: It was simply down to the fact that we always do a cover on every touring cycle, especially for all the new people who are discovering us and for the people that have been dragged along and have no idea who were are *laughs*. So we were doing this one and people were just loving it so much, so it stuck around in the set for about 18 months. 

People kept coming up to us after shows saying they wanted us to release it so we had a serious conversation about it because we were six albums in and we hadn’t recorded any covers before, so we decided to just do it. 

There was a little bit of pressure because we didn’t want to kill it and didn’t want to stray too far away from it’s roots. But it’s exciting that people now have it and it’s going to be in the live show at least for another 6 months now *laughs*. 

TB: Reflecting back on the creative process behind ‘Chaos And Bright Lights’ and where you are at now as artists with ‘Mayhem To Madness’, what would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourselves in those 13 years? 

SM: We were like 20 when we recorded that album, and I mean you just change so much as a person in that time. You grow physically and emotionally, and looking back then I would say we were quite shy to express ourselves. 

We were young women, and to wear your heart on your sleeve is a big thing. While it is something you have to do as a songwriter, I do think we were hiding behind writing about other people’s experiences for a while. We were quite sheltered in that aspect, but when you get a bit older you just don’t care anymore. You end up opening up more because you realise that if you’re going through then someone else is going through it . You just get more honest with yourself when you get older. 

TB: You will be hopefully hitting the road later this year, so what song are you most excited about performing from ‘Mayhem To Madness’?

SM: Well we did the Facebook stream last week where we played some songs acoustically and I really loved playing ‘I Got This’ because it just felt so strong and catchy. We were also playing ‘Wish You Hell’ out on the road before we released the album and people really loved that song which was fun to see. 

It’s hard now to pick songs for tour because we have six albums and an EP to choose from. It’s hard to decide how to balance all the songs, but we will probably do about six songs from the new record. 

TB: Is there an old song of yours that you would love to bring back into the setlist for this tour?

SM: Every tour we try to bring back one unexpected song that the crowd are going to lose their minds over. Last tour we brought back ‘Settle Down’ from the first album which was so cool as we hadn’t played it in about 12 years. I can’t think of one in particular right now, but we definitely will have one. 

TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions, are you ready?

SM: I am SO bad at these *laughs* but let’s try!

TB: The emoji that best describes our new album ‘Mayhem To Madness’ is…

SM: The face with the party hat and the blowing the party streamers!

TB: Our pre-show ritual involves…

SM: Group high fives before we go on stage! We really are not rock-n-roll *laughs*. There’s no group tequila shots before the show for us *laughs*. 

TB: The messiest member of The McClymonts on tour would be…

SM: Molly! She’s not a grub, but she just likes to take out everything from her suitcase. 

TB: A TV show I’ve been binge watching during isolation is…

SM: Suits!

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

SM: For Kids!

‘Mayhem To Madness’ is out now!

For full rescheduled tour dates please visit HERE