The McClymonts are perhaps one of Australia’s most celebrated country groups in recent times – not a bad feat considering that our island nation has the third highest country music listeners behind USA and Canada according to Spotify and Apple. After winning two ARIA awards for Best Country Albums (with a further three nominations) plus dominating major categories in the Country Music Association of Australia over the last decade, the five-time Group or Duo of the Year winner have released their much-anticipated album – Mayhem to Madness.
Unsurprisingly, their first album in three years has had a promising start, with the single I Got This propelling towards seven hundred thousand listeners on Spotify in under three months. Thematically prescient, the track carries an uplifting mood while presenting a positive charge and a musical antidote to the nationwide anxiety in 2020.
As the title suggest, Mayhem to Madness promises an eclectic mix, taking fans onto new heights and into a journey of emotional ride from ecstasy to heartbreak. If history is a reflection from both ends, album number six will likely to scoop CMAA’s Highest Selling Album of the Year award for the third time, further elevating the three sisters as engrained identities of the Australian Country music scene.
Sam McClymont (also a presenter on Gateaway and The Farmer Want a Wife) speaks with Sheldon Ang on You Got This, the making of Madness to Mayhem, and the importance of honesty in music creation.
Sheldon: I heard today is a very special day for the three sisters.
Sam: (Chuckles) I know! It is the release day of our new album, “Mayhem to Madness” (chuckles).
Sheldon: This is The McClymont’s sixth album. Do you still get the same buzz as when the debut album “Chaos and Bright Lights” was released in 2007?
Sam: Oh yes! It is still nerve-wracking, to be honest. We still get nervous on the release day because we’ll still be wondering if people will get it, especially during such time as well (of Covid19). Therefore, we can’t do promos where we would be playing music and be doing tours. It’s a strange time to be releasing, so it makes it more nerve wrecking – but it is still super exciting to have our first product after three years!
Sheldon: The McClymonts have a really good start to the album, with the single I Got This reaching over half a million listeners on Spotify in just over 2 months.
Sam: Yeah, it has been three years since we released anything, so it is really nice to have the positive responses. And we wrote during motherhood – just getting up every day and put in different hats on, trying to juggle everything and navigating work. I think the release of this single during Covid has taken a life of its own with people losing jobs, at home with kids being at home and repeating year twelve during a very important part of their lives – so it has brought a life of its own – by saying we are all in this together. So it has that positive anthem.
Sheldon: It is an uplifting song, for sure.
Sam: Yeah, we really wanted to have a positive song, and people on social media saying that (it’s an uplifting song) every day in isolation; and going to a song that will amp and bump them up for the day.
Sheldon: What’s interesting about I Got This is that it has that mainstream feel, but still rooted into country. Was there a conscious decision to appeal in both genres?
Sam: We don’t think like that, to be honest. We just want to create good music and that is the most important thing. So many times, people try to categorise you into the genres. I think it should just be about making good music. We’ll always have that country in our music because of the three-part harmony – the “sibling harmony” and that will always make it a bit country. And I guess the part that makes a bit more mainstream is because we work with our producer Andy Mak – who doesn’t necessarily work in the country scene. So when we sit, we don’t think about, ok we’re going to write a country song – that’s not how it works with us – as we write music that hopefully connect with people.
Sheldon: Afterall, great songs are written at the back of honesty.
Sam: Yeah, that’s what it comes to; music is about telling stories and self-reflection and what you’ve done and hope that you will connect with people. And going through music that you can relate – it is all about the personal connection.
Sheldon: Speaking of honesty, I was listening to track number nine of the album, Wish You Hell with the lyrics “I wish you treat her right…and I wish you hell” – where did the twist come from?
Sam: This is about a girlfriend with an eighteen-year marriage breaking down, and she was being beautiful about it and agreed to move on. And although he dumped and wrong do her, I wanted to tell a story of what I would do (chuckles)…so I put my own twist at the end of how I would react of what I would do – you take a story and keep it authentic…but you also put your own experiences onto it. You want to tell a story and kinda want to add your story and where you want to go from there.
Sheldon: And I also see in the album the cover of Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac
Sam: We always do a cover in every concert, and with Little Lies we’ve been doing for seventeen months. It is something people want to listen to. And everyone knows the words; it has the classic groove – it is such a classic. We’ve never done a cover on an album, and why not and is something that people love it.
Sheldon: Can you tell us about the rest of the album. An eclectic mix, perhaps?
Sam: It is always going to be a mix because you want an album that will take you a bit on the road, the highs and lows, and it is about story telling about what we’ve gone though. We’ve got a heartbreak – so we’ve got a mix of everything and we always try to cover different emotions.
Sheldon: Do you think The McClymonts music have evolved since 2007?
Sam: Oh absolutely. I think it comes with age and we were in our twenties (chuckles) when we first started and since then we’ve covered all over Australia and all-around America. We’ve got married and have families…we have friends who went through divorces…we’ve got so much more life experience, so the music will change from the naive twenty-year-old – and here we are now. And we listen to a lot more songs now and we’re inspired by different things
Sheldon: And what’s the touring schedule like when Covid is over?
Sam: We just had to move out tour as we were meant to go out in May. But is disappointing but we understand, as we’re in this together…all of our rescheduled dates are on our website.