Rebel Noise interview with Alfie Clayton of A.R.T as they premiere their new video for Nothing Better To Do on Blaggers Records

A.R.T was formed in 2018 with a mission to bring funk to the indie rock genre. The band, comprised of Alfie Clayton (aka A.R.T), saxist Jonty Proudfoot (aka Blanket Jackson), bassist Tiarnan Mathews (aka 10" Tiarnan), lead guitarist Bradley Allen (aka General Sweet tooth), drummer Scott Gordon (aka Dijon Mustard) & rhythm guitarist Tom Strange (aka Daddy Strange), have been described as Bowie meets The Killers mixed with the charm of Madness & Dexys Midnight Runners.

Check out the video premiere of their new single, Nothing Better To Do, on Rebel Noise!!!

Hi Alfie, Thanks for agreeing to speak to Rebel Noise

AC: Hehe! Thank you for having us!!

RN Please can you tell us about your new single, Nothing Better To Do?

AC: It finally feels as if we got our own unique quirk of a style sorted out with this track! The past releases, up to this point, have all been a journey of experimenting with different ideas, styles and instruments. But now we can really hand on heart say this is us! This is what we feel the indie rock scene has been missing; a perfect light-hearted funk garnished with heavy solos and distorted energy.

RN: The video looks like it was a lot of fun. Can you tell us about the idea behind it?

AC: The video was really fun to make! It consisted of a few nights out and band seshes at mine where we did the thing we're best at (being silly) and filmed it! We wanted a video that showed off the main prompt of the band, to just have fun with life and party through making music. Goin' off the title of the track, the video's plot was to have compilations of us doin' weird n funny activities purely because we had 'Nothing Better To Do'. That's why it's just random shots of us all walking out a steam room or graffitiing someone's bedroom walls.

RN There's a sax/Trombone solo in the song. What made you try something so innovative?

AC: Too much of the current indie scene is the same generic stuff, just guitars, bass 'N' drums. To stand out, ya gotta show off something different, something to grab people's attention! We all play different brass/ woodwind instruments, and having the talent of our saxist Blanket Jackson (Jonty Proudfoot) in the band made it impossible not to let him loose on a crazy solo! 
It did take a couple of takes 'N' tweaks to get right, but as I'm sure everyone who's heard it would agree, it defiantly is something special n' wild!

RN A.R.T is an interesting name. Can you explain what it stands for and why you chose it?

AC: Now... I would love to answer this question, but it's a family secret!! I can't tell ya unless you join the band! (Fancy being our conga player?)

RN The band is on Blaggers Records. Can you tell me how that opportunity came about?

AC: We're so lucky to be able to work with the juicily delicious people at Blaggers Records! I met the main man Alex Forde through Skinz [The Skinner Brothers], and Instantly fell in love with his warm, kind energy and pure love and want to support new talent! We've always been a DIY band, which is definitely the way to go for as long as you can in the industry, but it got to a point where we needed the extra help and guidance. It's been such an amazing learning course to have Fordeypoos take me under his wing, in a way, and just helped guide me through what to do and how to release music (properly!)

RN I read you're the drummer for the Skinner Brothers. How does it feel to have such different roles in your two bands?

AC: Don't get me wrong, it is tough, and many nights of the week are spent without sleep. But when you do something that you love, that comes so naturally, it just happens organically. Being able to tour with Skinz as the drummer has taught me so, so much about how to run my own band and what the life of a rock n roller is really like in the 2020s.
Being the drummer is the perfect seat, I think. I get the AAA pass to the stage to see how it all works, but I don't have the stress and weight on my shoulders as Zak does as the frontman/ Band Leader. Giving me that extra time to focus on A.R.T 'N' get that groovy shimmy out from behind the kit and next to the mic stand.

RN There are six people in A.R.T. How does that affect the creative and decision-making process?

AC: 6 is the perfect number; everyone's got someone to help lean on, but the large amount of brain power also helps keep ideas fresh and gigs fun!

The group of boys really are the perfect band members, everyone's best friends with each other and have known each other for years! All coming from similar musical backgrounds or from being in past projects or school bands has helped us all set our minds in the same direction, knowing what we want and how we want to achieve it.

RN Are you a digital download person or do you prefer physical copies like CDs or Vinyl? Defend your choice!

AC: Like 99% of the modern world, digital is how I listen to the majority of my music. However, you bloody can't beat vinyl! In my family, between us, we have around 2,000 records and the greatest Roxan record player your ears have ever smelt! My uncle was a disco DJ back in the 70s, so I got a load from his collection sat in 'The Vinyl Room'. A groovy room in our house that's dedicated to lying back and relaxing to a record through the best stereo possible!!

RN Live music venues are struggling to encourage crowds back to their events. What would you say to those who are still feeling cautious about returning?

AC: right here's our secret… or one of 'em….AFTER PARTIES!!!! We've built up quite a rapidly growing and devoted fan base in London by:1) putting on great shows and nights with a line-up of bands we genuinely really love and like & 2) hosting amazing after parties! It's definitely an extra bit of work n stress to organise, but it makes people feel like they get more for the pound with their ticket; but also helps your band become associated with some of the best nights of their year. We always like to host the biggest parties, the shortest one lasting two days and the longest lasting a week, which gives our fans the chance to get to know us better but also put on a kimono and live that tasty rush of rock n roll for a couple of days n nights.

RN What is the live experience like for you?

AC: That's where we thrive n where I personally feel most comfortable and at home… on the stage! In the past couple of years, there's been a few epiphany-like moments where we've all looked at each other on stage and realised... "Oh wait, we are actually really good at this!?!" There was a really special moment at our last show before covid. It was our biggest show at the time, and during one of our songs (FREE) there's an instrumental bit where I like to talk to the crowd through the megaphone. It happened sort of automatically without me realising what I was doing, but I remember it so vividly. First, I got all 350 people in the audience to split in two as I walked into the middle of the crowd. Then, as the song built, I got everyone to drop to the floor with me and then start jumping, getting higher and higher until everyone was moshing like crazy!! That was the real moment in which we all knew this band was something special & that we had the power, command and energy to do much bigger things.

RN Do you have any superstitions or rituals you follow before going on stage?

AC: Haha, yes, definitely a few!!! The main one being I always have to have a walk-on moment. Find a weird place to appear from or have a dramatic entrance! I did it since the get-go of our first show, and at the few shows where I never did it, they always went horribly wrong! Guess the extra 30 seconds from when the band start and I have to enter the stage really helps give me a moment to relax, focus on the moment and then do our thing.

RN What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

AC: We've got a stupidly good show/party in London coming up (17th September) at the Rooz studios where the libertines rehearse and where Wolf Alice formed! Then headed up north to do some shows around Leeds/ Wakefield area! We've got some new tunes on the go too!! Some real energetic ones for the moshers and then some funky ones for those with guilty feet, so expect a beautiful new EP coming soon….

RN Where can we go to find your music?

AC: Spotify is always the best way! Cause of the weird spelling of our name, Type our last EP 'Lewis Lambrini' if ya havin' trouble 😊

RN Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions today.

AC Thank you for taking an interest in us!!! Excited to hear what your readers think!!

interview video premiere