Since joining forces six years ago, sisters Sam, Mollie and Brooke, of The McClymonts fame, have dominated the Country music world in Australia and are quickly becoming the talk of the industry in the U.S. The trio recently toured the album Wrapped Up Good in America and is back in Australia to tour the release of another album, Two Worlds Collide … Sam McClymont tells us about the band’s whirlwind success and touring schedule …
It really must like ‘two worlds colliding’ with your recent Wrapped Up Good tour is the States and subsequent Two Worlds Collide tour in Australia?
That’s exactly why we called the record, Two Worlds Collide, because we are living in two places at the moment and constantly going back and forth. It’s been pretty crazy. We released Two Worlds Collide back in May and then came to the US and then back to Australia to tour the record. We’re pretty excited about touring some new songs in Australia. I’m sure everyone’s ready for some new music from us.
There’s a big difference between Australian Country and American Country music. America has the largest Country music fan base in the world and radio outplay. How disparate are the two markets?
They are different markets, but we don’t make albums for specific markets. We’d like to think that our music is universal and that it does relate to anyone in America or Australia. We write with American and Australian writers and produce our records in the U.S., so I think our music can easily cross over, no matter where we’re living.
You are heavily involved with your fans; I noticed that you’ve asked fans to help design T-shirts and album covers …
Absolutely. They’re the ones who go out and buy the records, so why not get them to design something that they want to buy? We want people to be wearing stuff that they like. We also ask our fans what their favourite songs are on our records, which helps to determine singles.
With Two Worlds Collide, it’s been said that you’ve grown up a lot … how has the album been a departure, artistically?
I think we’re more honest and open in this latest record. There’s definitely a lot more depth and emotion. I think we’ve become a bit more of an open book and are kind of happy to have our lives on display. When you do four or five shows a week, you hope that your musicianship has improved and that you’re writing stronger songs and playing better together.
As three sisters, you didn’t initially perform together; it was initially Brooke who travelled around doing solo shows and performances, and you subsequently formed The McClymonts …
We’d always sung together, but we never really made it official until six years ago, when we signed with Universal Australia. We didn’t want to start the group until we could give it 110% and knew that we were all out of school. So we waited for Molly to leave school, and that was when we thought we were pretty much ready to go.
What I find quite amazing is the level of success … it’s been a fast kind of ride, hasn’t it?
It depends how you look at it. I mean, for us it’s probably been a steady ride, only because we have been playing since we were 12 years old (laughs). So you know, we have been in this industry for a really long time, and that’s probably where we sort of get caught up. We forget to stop and smell the roses and look at all the amazing things that have happened to us over the past seven or eight years, because we’re always focused on what the next goal is to achieve. We still feel like we have so much we want to achieve and do with our music.
Sometimes we do have to stop and look at all the amazing things we have been fortunate enough to do, and we are only seven years on!
Obviously you’ve been playing for a long time … since you signed with Universal six years, it’s a heady rise.
Yeah, we are just lucky. With the green light to make the new record, it means that here we are still making music, getting to wake up every day and go out and tour. It’s a nice feeling to know that you can still do that and it’s fun. It’s never taken for granted (laughs).
What is Nashville like?
It’s great. It’s a really amazing town. It’s pretty much like the Tamworth Country Music Festival – except all year round, and it’s around 10 times bigger. If you want to get a start in Country music, Nashville is the best place to come.
All the musicians, songwriters, producers, publishing houses and record labels are here. When you’re up-and-coming and trying to get a first foot in the door, everyone you need to see is in Nashville, so it’s truly the perfect place to be.
Do you get left alone in Nashville?
Oh absolutely (laughs).
I interviewed Troy Cassar-Daley recently, and he said fans leave him alone to do his own thing in Nashville …
We’re still getting known in the U.S. so not many people know who we are anyway!
With your prestigious Country Music Association (CMA) 2011 Global Artist Award, you’d certainly be starting to make some great contacts in Nashville?
Yes, absolutely. We do have a great team around us in Nashville. So every time we go back, more opportunities present themselves.
How do you feel about comparisons to the Dixie Chicks?
We don’t mind at all, because it’s better to be compared to a good, great band than a terrible one. We grew up listening to their music, so we don’t mind that comparison at all. If only we could sell that many records, we would be very happy girls!
Is there anything you would like to say to your Australian audience and fans out there?
We can’t wait to get home and play this tour. It is a brand new show, so the people who have seen us in the past will hear some brand new songs. Who knows when we will be back touring again after this … as Brooke is having a baby, it could be a while, so come and check us out!
Thank you Sam.
Interview by Karen Farrell.
The McClymonts are appearing at Club Forster.
This story was published in issue 67 of the Manning-Great Lakes Focus