Lollapalooza 2016: Cloves

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LADYGUNN Cloves 2 (by Mallory Turner)

Lollapalooza celebrated its 25th anniversary by expanding to a phenomenal four-day festival, headlined this time around by the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, J.Cole, and Lana Del Rey. Curious to learn more about 25 of our favorite performers, LADYGUNN was on hand at Chicago’s historic Grant Park providing a predominately blank canvas for each individual to paint a captivating picture of their unique story. Here’s our chat with Cloves, who opened up about her all-or-nothing mindset, wild ambitions, and balancing life’s highs and lows.

Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

Hello readers, my name is Cloves [laughs].

What do you love about music?

I think what I love about music is… that not only is it something that can take you away from something that you’re currently in, but it also can make you quite reminiscent of something as well. You hear a song and you go, ‘Oh my god, my mom used to play this song over and over when I was like five years old in the house.’ Or you hear a new song and you’re like, ‘Ugh, this is just hitting me so hard.’ I think that’s what I love about music, is it just… it’s constant. It brings people together.

Can you recall your earliest memory of music?

I have a few things. Like my mom used to play a lot of Stevie Nicks in the house, so… big fan of Fleetwood Mac and stuff. And my dad used to be into Frank Zappa and ACDC. So that was sort of here, and my mom was into Fleetwood, but also a little bit of Belinda Carlisle and stuff like that. That’s sort of my early—just on a summer’s day they’re blasting music through the house, ‘cause we lived really far out from the city…. so they would just absolutely blast it, ‘cause there’s no neighbors. So I guess that’s sort of my earliest memory of music, and then I started playing in bands and stuff, and singing.

Did you ever wanna be anything other than a musician?

No, not really. At one point I wanted to be a tattoo artist, but it was more of a joke [laughs]… than anything.

Would you tattoo your friends or something?

No, I just used to do a lot of drawing and sketches on books at school and stuff. But I’m glad I didn’t do that, because… I just don’t think I had that kind of concentration span. Like imagine getting that wrong on someone, you’d feel awful.

A lot of pressure there…

A lot of pressure! I don’t think I’d cope with the pressure very well. So that was sort of a period of like two years that I’d watch loads of Miami Ink or something. Aside from that, no [laughs].

Do you have any tattoos yourself, or no?

I’ve got a lot. But they’re all little things, just little bits [from] when I’ve gone different places.

Sentimental, or just kind of random stuff?

Yeah, I guess so. But more just like bits in time. Like the first time I went to London, I got a little London tattoo. When I first went overseas, I got a tattoo. I don’t know, stuff like that.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Oh, I’m really good at basketball.

Are you really?

Yeah, I used to play basketball growing up, and my older sister used to play with me as well. And I like—literally ask my bass player, because we always team up… me and Cory. I’m really good at basketball. That’s my one thing.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Oh, I had some awful jobs. I used to work at—I don’t think I’m very employable.

Why’s that?

Because I think… if I really am passionate about something, then I put everything into it. And if I’m not, I’m just lazy.

All or nothing.

Yeah, all or nothing! 100%. I was like that at school. If I was doing something I loved, I put everything into it… I’d do it all the time. And then if it was like… something really boring, like science—I love science! But I hated science class.

I was terrible at it.

Exactly! I love science facts and stuff like that, but I really hated sitting in class, like writing out—

I think too, when you’re like forced to do something, it—

Yeah, it takes the fun out of it. I’m also really—I’m quite dyslexic as well, so it was a nightmare. But back to the point of the conversation! [Laughs]

I could see where that wouldn’t work out too well…

Yeah, it didn’t work out very well. So it’s kind of all or nothing. What was the question again?



Oh, what was your worst job?

Oh! Yeah… [Laughs] How did we get here?

It’s OK!

Umm… yeah, so… I think my worst job was working in a surf shop because I wasn’t very good at it. Like I had to go up to people and try and like… not hustle them into buying something, but they used to teach you techniques. They’d be like, ‘You should ask them to up their sale.’ And I was just really bad at that.

Don’t you get like extra percentages because of that too?

No, not extra percentages. We just used to get like… they just used to tell you [that] you were doing a good job or whatever. I was doing a summer job for them, so they’d re-employ the people that did that, but I kind of would go out to people and be like, ‘Do you wanna buy something?’ They’d be like, ‘No…’ I’d be like, ‘OK, cool…’ ‘Cause I felt bad, I didn’t wanna pressurize them.

Yeah, you didn’t wanna pester ‘em…

No, exactly. I hate people in shops that come up and hover, so I was really bad at it. ‘Cause I just was a bit like, ‘OK, do your own thing! Just let me know if you need anything.’ So that was quite a bad job, but… I’m trying to think, I had some really terrible jobs. I worked at a fish and chips shop, but I only did like two shifts and didn’t get re-hired.

What did you do there?

Just in my hometown, it was like a little milk bar sort of thing, and I’d just fry dim sims. Umm… what else? I had like loads of jobs. But yeah, just like spot things. That was a really long answer to a question [laughs], sorry!

No, it’s great! I love it! What’s something you wish you knew when you were younger?

Wish I knew… Umm…

Maybe could have saved you some time or some trouble in life…

I don’t know, I don’t think I—well… I don’t know, I think it would change your path, wouldn’t it?

True, yeah…

So I don’t really wish I knew something when I was younger.

Do you believe in that? Like the butterfly effect, where everything ultimately leads to another?

Umm… I think that you get the choice to make good and bad decisions. That’s what I think. I don’t think that necessarily everything happens for a reason or anything. I don’t believe in that. I think if you work hard and you [laughs] use your brain—I think you get the choice to make good and bad choices.

Just along the lines that sometimes if something good happens, well, it may not have been able to happen if the bad thing didn’t happen yesterday.

Exactly! That’s the thing is like… I’ve had a lot of that in my life, where it’s as if this hadn’t happened, and that hadn’t happened, and that hadn’t happened…

It’s crazy…

It is crazy, but it is also based on your decisions, so… it’s cool! I mean, it’s life.

How would you describe your approach to life?

My approach to life, umm…

Or is it just a go-with-the-flow type of thing?

No, I’m very… I’m quite a stressed person… a lot of the time. I can tend to be sometimes quite an anxious person, a lot of the time. I’m up and down all the time. I’m usually—I’m slightly negative, but then also really positive. I don’t know, I’m quite like… I think I’m quite schizophrenic—wait, not actually schizophrenic! [Laughs] But like, in the way I deal with life: I’m very up; and down; and yes, I’m really excited; and no, I don’t wanna do it.

I guess that’s just part of being a human, I suppose, to a certain extent…

Yeah. I think I’m different every single day. So some days I have a great day, where I feel like I can fucking do anything. And the next day I’m like, ‘I literally can’t move. I don’t know what to do.’ You know what I mean? It’s just up and down all the time, but it’s cool.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?

A perfect day… that’s a good question. Where I feel like I accomplished something is a perfect day to me… and I can sit down and go, ‘OK cool’ – I can wake up tomorrow feeling like I can start again the next day, because I actually did something that day.

Can you recall the last time you cried?

I cry… a lot. Oh actually no, that’s not true. Actually, I don’t really cry. I think I only really cry to like one or two people, and everyone else I’m always like, ‘I’m fine.’ But last time, I don’t know… probably over stress.

What cheers you up when you’re feeling down?

Music! Music cheers me up, alcohol cheers me up, and I don’t know… friends, family. I’m one of those people that I can’t be by myself very long. I get really just… I hate being on my own; I need people around me to keep me pumped up and entertained.

What’s been your biggest pinch-me moment?

I mean I feel like today was one of them, but I don’t think I’ll really realize it until I get home and—

It’ll sink in later…

Yeah! It’ll sink in a little later, when I get back to the hotel. It was really amazing. It was probably the biggest stage I’ve played on, as well as the crowd was all… like they all came to see the show. It’s cool, I mean a lot of people just sort of strolled up and… it was really cool.

What’s been your craziest fan encounter? Have you had any?

Umm… I don’t know, I think things—you know, I’ve really only put out one EP.

True, true!

[Laughs] I don’t really think of myself as having any fans. I think the things that stand out to me is like when I see someone in the audience singing. I’ll be like, ‘Oh wow, you actually have listened to the song before [laughs]. That’s amazing! It’s sweet that you’ve come to the show.’ Or like before… we’ve done two shows today, and the first show was sort of the bigger festival stage, and the second show was a smaller one, and some girls came up to me afterwards and they said that they had come to both. And I was like, ‘Oh my god! You actually came to both.’

Went out of their way for it…

Yeah! It’s really lovely. So that’s stuff to me that I’m like, ‘That is so strange, but thank you.’

Have you ever been star-struck?

Umm… No… I don’t think so. I… don’t think I’ve really met anyone though.

Do you think you would be?

I mean someone I’d be star-struck by would be if I met like Carole King, or something like that. Or… Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. I just think she’s incredible. I went to see their show at British Summer Time, and she was so fucking great. She just walked up to the stage, and she just sung, and then she played her guitar, and she was just like so natural, and so raw. It was great. But yeah, I don’t know if it would be star-struck or more just sort of like, ‘Can you tell me everything?’ I’m just a big fan, [rather] than being star-struck.

Who’s an artist you think more people should be familiar with?

Umm… [Pauses to think] I’m not sure. Maybe… I don’t know, maybe… I feel like everyone does know about Alabama Shakes. But then I think—

But then again, maybe not…

Sometimes maybe not. I mean… Yeah, I’d say Alabama Shakes maybe. But maybe people know about them already.

If your house was on fire, what’s one thing you’d grab?

If I was at my house in Australia, where my parents live, obviously I’d grab my parents. Does that count?

That can count, absolutely!

But that—let’s just pretend they’re not there. Umm, I’d take my dog… obviously.

What kind of dog is it?

It’s an Australian Sheppard, and it’s massive and fluffy, and it’s got big, blue eyes, and he’s literally adorable. And then if it was in my flat where I live in London, I would grab… I don’t know, I’d probably grab my laptop or my book – my writing book – or something like that. I don’t know, ‘cause I’ve got my songs on it and my writing, but… I don’t know, I’m not really that materialistic; I don’t really have that much stuff. Because I also move around a lot; I live pretty much out of my suitcase. ‘Cause I do Airbnbs for my houses, so I move all the time. So I don’t have that much stuff.

What are you most afraid of?

I hate the dark. I’m really petrified of the dark. So I always sleep with a laptop playing films, or I have to be watching [television] or something to go to sleep. I just… I hate it.

Where does that stem from, you think? Or has it just always been that way?

I don’t wanna think about it [laughs].

Fair enough! Moving on…

I mean, what’s wrong with me? I don’t wanna think about it [laughs]. No, yeah.

What’s something you think everyone should try at least once?

Umm… [Pauses to think] Uhh… Maybe… I don’t know.

Is there anything on your bucket list that’s left?

Oh! I’d love to go skydiving. I’d love to go deep-sea diving. I’d love to do a lot of things. I’d love to go to India, and Egypt. I’d love to… a lot of things! I’d love to hike a massive mountain or something. I don’t know, lots—

Pretty ambitious…

I mean… [Laughs] It sounds a bit ridiculous.

No, no! That’s the first step in making it happen is believing.

Maybe… Yeah, maybe.

If you had one wish, what would it be?

I don’t know, I feel like that’s too—I would bestow it upon someone else who could do something better with it, because I feel like… I don’t know, I don’t know what kind of choice I’d make.

That’s very selfless of you…

[Laughs] I don’t know if it’s selfless, or it’s me being lazy.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

[Pauses to think] I don’t know. I mean, I think that I’m quite… quite antisocial. Not ‘antisocial…’

But you did say that you have to be around people, right?

Around people, but like five people.

So out there on the other side of the fence [on the festival grounds], it’s a little iffy?

No, no, no, not at all! I mean, I like to chat to people, but I also like to just sort of hang out in my own environment. I don’t know if that’s surprising… I don’t really know. I mean, people don’t know that much about me now, so. [Pauses to think] I think my answers are very jetlagged answers, that’s why I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent.

It’s been great though! I think it’ll make for a great read. Do you have any final thoughts for the readers?

That I appreciate them taking the time to read this, and I hope it didn’t waste your time [laughs].

LADYGUNN Cloves (by Mallory Turner)

photos / Mallory Turner
story / Damon Campbell

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