July CHild

July Child: Call it Serendipity

XWHY’s Mike and Tash head down to see July Child headlining The Borderline, Soho

July Child are a relatively recent outfit from Barnet, North London, but that isn’t to say they’re new to music…or to each other, for that matter.

Amber Clara and bandmate Kiks met at primary school, grew up alongside each other and pursued various musical trajectories, before doubling back and pairing up again to form July Child.

For all you dedicated Monday Playlisters, you might recognise the name already. Mike had their debut single Liquid Form’ on one of his January Spotify features. It’s got a brilliantly tantalising pause in the melody part way through…go on, have another listen.

They’re a little bit of the London Grammar, The XX ilk, but any fears that they might fall unidentifiably into an already saturated pool are assuaged by the pure, melifluous and, we’d argue, relatively stand-alone tone of Clara’s vocals.

Of the two support acts, Empty White Circles, an American folk band that reminded us a bit of Delaware export The Spinto Band – a tangle of curly hair, tiny wee instruments and bounciness – had the edge. Their bassist falling of the stage while attempting to execute a particularly energetic dance (?) move was definitely a highlight.

Wild Sun, while commendable for their dedicated James Deanism in appearance and an array of quite impressive guitars, lacked a certain something in their lead singer. He might have been a dead ringer for Tom Hardy, but his vocals didn’t quite live up to the package.

July Child

July Child did a number on all of them though. Despite being fairly under-gigged, the duo were slick, well produced and their chemistry was palpable.

We headed to their dressing room after the show for a beer and a chit chat. Here’s what they had to say:

People will accuse you of fitting neatly into the London Grammar / AlunaGeorge category. Do you find it difficult to distinguish yourselves?

Kiks: It wasn’t a deliberate decision. We just got into the studio and did what came naturally. But the fact that the sort of things we are making is doing well in the charts at the moment is good for us I guess.

I think if you’re doing your job right, you’ll get the recognition and rewards.

So what’s the story with you two? Are you an item?

Amber: We get that a lot. People ask “how long have you been together?” and we’re like “well we’ve been writing for 18 months…” and then they are like “no together together?!”

Kiks: Yeah, some people don’t think men and women can be friends. Being a duo is actually kind of like being in a relationship though. I argue with Amber probably more than I do with my girlfriend.

The music has made us best friends. I think, when we first started making music together, we didn’t really know each other that well. Slowly, you spend 20 hours a week in a room with someone and you become so used to working with each other that you have to know each other inside out.

Amber: The unspoken communication that you have on stage can often be mistaken for loving or lustful looks, when really it’s more about making sure you’re coming in on time or things are sounding right!

Kiks: We did an interview earlier that was a bit random, with questions like “heels of flats?”, “trance or jazz?”, and every answer we gave was pretty much the opposite of each other’s, so we were like “shit, we don’t actually have that much in common.” What’s weird, though, is that we were born on the very same day in the same year. That’s why we’re called July Child. We think that’s quite special.

July Child XWHY Magazine

What’s your writing process? Are you bare feet in the studio kind of kids?

Kiks: Well, I’ve been writing for years and July Child kind of started with me as a solo artist, but I can’t sing at all. So Amber was the missing piece of the jigsaw. When I’m a guy writing about girls that have broken my heart and Amber is singing it, she will tell me “A girl would never say that! A girl would never think that way”. So we both go through it together and smooth it out.

I would say Amber knows everything about me. If I have to I’ll even get graphic when describing things because she needs to know what I’m on about. It’s now at a stage where I take a song to Amber and I don’t even need to explain it, she just gets it.

When you write something that means so much to you and then you hear it expressed so beautifully to you by someone else – that’s amazing! Tonight, there were times during ‘Liquid Form’ and ‘Electric Chair’, where I was almost overwhelmed.

Amber’s one of the most incredible vocalists I’ve ever met. It’s such a pure sound and you can treat it as an instrument so whatever I write now I write with her in mind. If you where to tell me right now I could write with Amber for the rest of my life I would sign that contract.

How did you feel the crowd were tonight? Rowdy lot, weren’t they?

Kiks: I really enjoyed the people dancing! The whole movement was lead by Amber’s brother – he was really going for it.

Amber: Yeah he was asking me, just now, “Did you see me? Did you see me?”. Yes of course I saw you! My cousin was getting involved as well so it must be a family trait, being the life of the party.

Who are the people out there at the moment that you think are doing great things?

Amber: MNEK is the most amazing thing I’m listening to at the moment. He did a refix of ‘Never Leave You’ by Lumidee and it’s awesome. I was listening to a Gorgon City podcast and they were saying even if he coughed or sneezed it was in tune.

Kiks: He’s got this cool throwback vibe to him; he’s the sort of person you look at and you’re like “I wanna be mates with you.”

So, what next guys?

Amber: Studio, record, finish up our next single and then hopefully get some more dates in the diary for gigs.

Kiks: We’re trying to get festivals sorted and also talking to a booking agent out in the US, but it’s a long process, so we’ll see how it all goes. The main thing is that we slowly build our fanbase.

Keep tabs on their future gigs via the July Child FACEBOOK PAGE

And check out upcoming outputs on their SOUNDCLOUD


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