Clinical Trials - “White Fence”
(Photo by Remy Steiner)
Typically, women have to work twice as hard in their chosen career path to compete with their male counterparts. This couldn’t be more true in the world of rock and roll, where most females opt to dress the part but not necessarily play the part (to put it literally). Well the female duo of Clinical Trials make pretty badass rock music and make it look easy somehow, carrying a volume and depth in their music that earns respect and trumps expectations. It must be that the talent and swagger from singer/guitarist Somer Bingham and drummer Cici Harrison is just that natural.
Their sound ranges from soft to loud and urgent at any given moment, ringing true to who they are and not consumed with catering to catchiness. CT’s upbeat, electro-infused songs ask of desires to be granted while darker, intense tracks meets your mind in the place where those desires go astray, keeping a lifeboat in tow. Their music pays homage to their grunge and riot rock predecessors: from a fiery, young Joan Jett and the bravery to bare it in the vein of Nirvana and PJ Harvey — they thankfully take it a step further with confidence to show us the refreshing evolution of where those pioneers have brought us now.
Don’t be surprised if you hear Clinical Trials in your Pandora stations for Autolux, Warpaint, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s good company to be in and they prove deserving of your attention.
Check out JAMB’s Q&A session with Clinical Trials below.
1. How did you two meet and form Clinical Trials (the story can be real or fictional)?
We were both trying to pick up some extra cash and we met at one of those crazy medical studies they advertise on Craigslist - something about sleep deprivation in low pressure chambers where you make $1500 in a day but they steal all your eggs. Once they explained all the details in the release forms we both were like, um, sorry, we’ll pass! And that’s how we got the name! Clinical Trials. *NB: Clinical Trials does not advocate egg selling for cash
2. If the style of your music could be represented as an animal, which animal would it be and why?
Somer: Probably a possum. They’re kind of quiet and nocturnal and strange. They play dead - and then they viciously attack. Our songs are like that…we have a lot of quiet / loud dynamic, melody interrupted by primal screaming.
Cici: A female tiger, because it’s driven, emotional and loud, but can be stealthy and cunning. Very protective too.
3. Who were your musical heroes growing up?
Cici: I started playing the drums because grunge was really in and it pulled me in. I was listening to Bush’s “Comedown” when I had the thought, at 12, to learn the drums. I also remember I used to think Gwen Stefani was really cool because she was so loud and feisty. I also really liked the drummer of No Doubt, Adrian Young, because he has such an interesting, motley mix of styles, incorporating reggae, punk, and rock into his drumming.
Somer: I listened exclusively to The Beatles until about age 14. Apparently my dad played their early work in my crib to help me sleep soundly at night. In college I discovered Patti Smith and she blew my mind. I would listen to Horses over and over and again…she is incredibly poetic and cool, and still an amazing artist. Later I was into The Raincoats, and I would strum along on my first electric guitar while jumping around in my room to their first album.
4. What do you think about choreographed dance moves at concerts?
Cici: From the audience or from the performer? From the audience: awesome! From the performer: Kinda lame. I prefer performers who just go with the flow and be who they are without any sort of pre-meditated thought. Rock ‘n roll is definitely not something that can be planned ahead.
Somer: Clinical Trials is looking for some experienced dancers to dress as cheerleaders, stage dive into the crowd, and perform a 7 minute interlude dance that ends with one of those incredibly dangerous tosses. If you or anyone you know is interested, please email us at email@example.com
5. If you could ask an up and coming band one question, what would it be?
Cici: If you could go back to any year in history and be a band, which year would it be and why?
Somer: Wanna share a bill?
Check out Clinical Trials’ Bandcamp page for more tunes (including one of my faves, a slower ballad titled, “Awake In My Arms”). While you’re supporting, donate a few bucks to help CT record a new EP here via ENJYN. And for those of you in NYC, you can catch ‘em live at Bruar Falls on Feb. 2nd and 17th.