Clothes Make the Man and some refreshing snowcones

Clothes Make the Man plot their next move

Clothes Make the Man are one of those bands that somehow keeps everything well-balanced. They're very tuneful and melodic, but their delivery has a nice gritty edge to it, and while their sound definitely packs a punch, they have enough restraint to not turn it up to eleven all the time.

After a recent bit of touring, CMTM retired to the home studio to lay down some new tracks to help document their evolving sound and reflect upon where they want to go in the future. "We did five new tunes on our own using our own crappy gear and our own knowledge up to this point," says Ryan. "Totally self-produced, sort of a new thing for us to go ahead and try doing that in the hopes of generating some interest from people. We want to release them, but we want them to be re-recorded and juiced from the ground up. Just make everything sound huge, basically."

After self-releasing a well-received album back in 2006 and logging a boatload of mileage in the meantime, the band is entertaining the notion that some assistance from outside might help open the band up to a wider audience. Ryan explains, "we're looking to basically expand our team, whatever that means, with cool people and not whore ourselves out but actually build relationships with people who are interested in what we're doing, and therefore, I hate to say 'organic,' but yeah, just build some more organic relationships."

I'm curious what sort of help they'd be willing to accept. What if a major label showed up with a bucketful of cash? "We would listen to anyone who's interested in working with us," he tells me. "I don't think we have a line that we've drawn or anything: we're pretty open-minded. Some people think that good music can't be popular, but we've always thought that there's good music that's really popular and there's good music that's unpopular. At the end of the day it's about the music, so whether it's affiliated with some huge corporation or not doesn't really concern us."

As we talk about the shifting reality of the modern music industry, I'm reminded of the tune "Dinosaurs Will Die" by NOFX ("Prehistoric music industry/Three feet in la Brea tar/Extinction never felt so good"). "It's a really weird time," says Ryan. "This big historical change is happening, but we're living through it. I'm having a hard time seeing where this industry's going to really go. I try not to worry about it too much. The idea is, for us, to just get people that are on our side that are sort of more forward thinking. That's really all you got: you got the future, and the past is the past."

To get a better idea of where the band's sound is going, I highly recommend getting your butt down to Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite at the Horseshoe (370 Queen Street) this Tuesday (February 26). They hit the stage at 10:20, and you'll also get to check out three other good artists (Guests, 6ixty 8ights and Matt White) all for free. I ask Ryan if there are any surprises in store for this new show (the first time the band's played in town since December). "There'll be at least one new song which we're excited about" he says with barely concealed enthusiasm. "We get really giddy about our new songs."

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