Following his early bedroom experiments, JP Young went on to form indie-electronic pop group The Clampers with Samuel Moore, Geordie McCallum and Geordie’s brother Stuan. The band was part of the febrile music scene in Hamilton in the late 90s and early 00s, which also produced The Datsuns, Dead Pan Rangers, the Hollow Grinders and MSU, among many others. Man, there were some bands back then. The great HtownWiki has more on this tumultuous period of history.
The Clampers weren’t around for long–just long enough to perform a handful of haphazard, brilliant gigs, and release a little-known EP, Giant Diamond Eater, hailed by incendiary local music zine Clinton as “what the next Radiohead album should sound like”. In the title track a glowing being hovers over the New Zealand cityscape, regurgitating stars. It could be a metaphor for the transformative power of imagination, or it could just be a vomiting alien.
My favourite songs are Fly By Nighters and Wish You Was Mine, which also features on the Hamilton compilation Year Zero. Both songs were recorded live in the gravel-strewn outer suburb of Frankton.
In my mind, Fly By Nighters is the soundtrack to a kid’s unlikely escape from BMX-mounted bullies. Closely pursued, he executes a graceful turn on his foldable Raleigh 20. His pursuers gyre out of control, colliding like TIE Fighters. He rides on, legs calmly turning, heading for the viaduct out of town. He crests a hill, momentarily silhouetted by the late afternoon sun, and gives a final joyful wave.
Fly By Nighters
Wish You Was Mine
You want to listen to the full EP? We got the full EP.