Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - where have you been?

Most Popular

In 2005, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s self-financed debut album took off through online buzz alone (Pitchfork gave it a rare 9.0), and the Brooklyn-Philly quintet became musical heroes for a digital age. Then they released a second in 2007, but people weren’t so jazzed. Now, four years later, Clap Your Hands are back with a great third album - frontman Alec Ounsworth explains how they relit their fire.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Esquire: Alec, why such a long break?

Alec Ounsworth: We got to a point where we had to make a [third] record because people expected it, but our heads, and maybe our hearts, weren’t exactly in it. Our quick rise was good and bad: good because it was nice to know people cared, but bad because there wasn’t much of a gestation period.

ESQ: Did you talk about splitting up?

AO: No, we never talked directly about splitting up. We wanted to take some time off. We were never a “problem band”. Nobody was sleeping with anybody else’s girlfriend, or had to go to rehab, or get talked off a ledge.

Most Popular

ESQ: Your new album is called Hysterical. Is that hysterical “crazy” or hysterical “ha ha”?

AO: I would say the former above the latter. Some people, myself included, have a tendency
to be hard on themselves for things they can do nothing about and blow things way out of proportion so that life ends up taking on a face that is sort of hideous.

ESQ: Speaking of hideous faces, there’s also a track called “Ketamine and Ecstasy”. Care to explain?

AO: It’s a similar concept, but more to do with the idea that you can escape through self-medication.

ESQ: What brought on this contemplative mood?

AO: Probably living in the middle of nowhere. We’re just outside Philadelphia, and it’s not absolutely necessary to venture too far from my doorstep. A lot of what I do is right here.

ESQ: You’ll have to venture out for your forthcoming UK live shows. What can British audiences expect?

AO: Right now we’re playing it safe in the States, just so we have everything down before we start concentrating on the spectacle. But we’ll have something to offer beyond simply the songs. We’ll ride in on an elephant.

ESQ: Take That already did that.

AO: We’ll play the entire set on an elephant.

ESQ: OK, you win.

Hysterical by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is out today (V2 Records). For live dates see clapyourhandssayyeah.com

What do you think?

Mascots film
Culture
Share
Watch An Exclusive Clip From Netflix's Hilarious New Film About A Mascot Competition
The comedy packs serious lols​​
Blackberry Phone
Culture
Share
Blackberry Is Shutting Down Its Phone Business
​R.I.P ​​QWERTY
Kanye West
Culture
Share
Kanye Encourages Audience To Shout "F**k Taylor Swift"
Whilst performing in her hometown
Culture
Share
Why Everyone Is Taking Sides On This Controversial New Playboy Photo Shoot
It's more complicated than you think
Culture
Share
This Glorious Mexican Beer Ad Trolled The S**t Out Of Donald Trump
Oh, and it aired during the first presidential debate
Culture
Share
Benedict Cumberbatch Sang Onstage With Pink Floyd's David Gilmour
The pair sang 'Comfortably Numb'
Mark Walhberg
Culture
Share
Mark Wahlberg Talks Success, Fatherhood And Burgers
A quick chat with the Deepwater Horizon actor​
Apple HQ Battersea
Culture
Share
Apple Is Setting Up A HQ In One Of London's Most Iconic Buildings
Welcome to Battersea, America​
Film
Share
Disney Is Remaking The Lion King Because Nothing Left In This World Is Sacred
Jon Favreau: step away from our childhoods​
Justin Vernon
Culture
Share
Album Review: 22, A Million By Bon Iver
​Bon Iver's new album has a spring in its step​