RANGE
Search
Close this search box.

Don’t Call Your Ex, Call Slightest Clue Instead 

The Vancouver-based quartet serve up post-punk revival on their new album, Carousel. 

by Grace Gearon

Photos by Raunie Mae

Post-punk quartet Slightest Clue are like socks in a dryer – always tumbling around together, but best of luck finding a pair that matches. With their magnetic hooks and raw energy, these musical misfits serve as your voice of reason, ensuring you resist the temptation to dial up your ex after a few too many beers. No really, they created an actual hotline: call 778-627-2171. 

Hannah, Nick, Sean and Mac are the collective beating heart of Slightest Clue; four self-confessed mismatched bodies that when once plugged in, all bets are off. Their new EP, Carousel, immerses you in that gritty feeling you get in the middle of a mosh pit and, despite all odds, urges you to break free from the sticky grasp the dance floor has on you.

With sonic soundscapes woven with angular guitar riffs, pulsating bass lines, and propulsive drum patterns, Carousel is layered with post-punk revelry. The album was informed by the dovetail in the band members’ personal lives: Mac was going through a break-up and Hannah was in the midst of a budding romance. Then one year later, roles reversed.

We caught up with the band to find out what inspired their latest creation, who the reigning pool champ is and again, why the hell the band works so well. 

Can you give us a brief history of the band? How did you all come together?

Hannah: I first met Mac through my ex-boyfriend, who had been his roommate in Montreal. When Mac needed a bass player in Vancouver, my ex recommended me. Then, Mac asked Sean, his childhood friend, to join. Nick was one of the first people I met when I transferred to UBC. I saw him behind the kit at an open jam in the student union and immediately knew I wanted to play music with him. So when our first drummer and dear friend Elias stepped away from the project in 2021, I knew exactly who to call.  

 

 

Tell us about your new EP, Carousel. What inspired it and what can listeners expect?

Nick: Honestly these are my favourite five songs that we’ve made.

Mac: Hannah and I were both experiencing breakups and some big life shifts at the time of writing, so it kind of worked into a concept EP that traces the phases of a relationship from the budding romance to the bittersweet end. 

Sean: I’ve never been more proud of our work on this EP. I feel it pushed everyone’s songwriting capabilities as well as everyone’s skill at their own instruments. Boston and Said The Whale were big influences for me on this EP in a way where I wanted people to sing parts of the song where there are no lyrics when we were performing.

“These Days” is an edgy and raw track with a dark-pop element. Can you tell us more about what this track is about and what inspired it?

Mac: This track felt like a great opener sonically and started as a demo that me and my roommate wrote together. We crafted the chorus in one night – after a night out – and I don’t normally record that way, so it was fun to remove the stakes and get loose as opposed to my usual sober and clinical approach. I remember playing this super weird reversed guitar thing from the demo off my laptop and everyone thought it was cool, so we tried to make a new section out of the reversed guitar and I relearned to play it forwards. 

Hannah: I really loved (and still really love) how Mac approached verse one; flashes of dialogue, imagery of rotten fruit, punchy rhythmic delivery… altogether, it’s like a nursery rhyme gone wrong, which in some ways is a metaphor for both the whole project and navigating romantic relationships in your early 20s, lol. It’s definitely the weirdest thing we’ve put out.

You created a literal hotline for the release of “Why Can’t I Call You?”- that’s so fun! What was the idea behind this and what went into creating it?

Hannah: Ahhhh the hotline. The hotline is my baby. We displayed posters with the hotline number and cryptic lyrics or phrases like “call now to hear an indie band” across Vancouver, and we’ve had quite a few people discover us and our music through them! Building community is an important part of our ethos as a band, and this strategy is just another way that we’ve been able to invite new and old fans into the world that we’re hoping to make through our music. Everyone loves the feeling of “discovering” new music, and this really lends itself to that. 

I’m sure you spent lots of time together writing and rehearsing. Do you have any fun pre- or post- band rituals? 

Sean: Nervous number 2’s. 

Nick: There’s a Triple O’s near our jam space where we sometimes eat before practice. It is also where we discuss important band things. We also tend to get A&W before shows.

Hannah: Yeah, seriously shout-out to the Triple O’s in the Chevron on Bridgeport Road in Richmond. The booth near the window feels like our dining room table as a band- a place we gather for family-like dinners. 

 

 

You’re a mainstay in some of Vancouver’s iconic underground venues. Can you describe what a Slightest Clue show is like for our readers who haven’t had the chance to see you before?

Mac: Energy is important to us, not just high energy but good energy. Our secret is simply that we have as much fun as possible every time we’re on stage together. We’re pretty anti-phoning it in, no matter the size of the gig. We’re excited just to be playing. I think this ends up impacting the audience, because although sometimes the crowd is rowdy, it’s never angry rowdy or scary rowdy – if someone falls down, people help them get up, that type of vibe. Part of that definitely speaks to how great the underground music scene is in Vancouver right now, not only the ethos of the bands playing but the people organising the shows and the venues they are at. 

2023 was a big year for all between live performances, recording and releases – what can we expect from Slightest Clue in 2024?

Mac: We hope to get out on the road and go on our first tours this year! Hopefully play some larger venues in the city like The Vogue or The Commodore and open for larger touring acts if we are offered the spot. 

Not only did you achieve so much musically, but you also played a lot of pool. Who is the best (and worst) player in the band?

Nick: I think we all know the answer…

Mac: Nick is correct, he is the shark at the pool table.

Sean: I beat Nick once! Out of probably 50 games…

Hannah: Based on our last outing, I just wanna mention that somehow I am the best at darts. However, this is offset by me being absolutely trash at pool. 

Slightest Clue celebrate the release of their Carousel EP with Nuclear Disco and Cherry Pick on Feb. 16 at the Fox Cabaret (Vancouver) | TICKETS & INFO