Clever Knots weave a web of magic music

Cayman four-piece Clever Knots will bring the groove to the Cabana on June 6, so what better reason to catch up with the crew to get the lowdown on all things musical? 

“Clever Knots is a melting pot of styles, but a defiant art-rock band is probably it,” frontman and bassist Sean Ebanks explains. 

“We do tend to lean to the darker sound with dashes of everything thrown in …and I mean everything. Rich [Dyer] and I met at a jam night in 2009 and decided the first thing we wanted to do was not be a jam night band but one that focused on originals and was an art project foremost.” 

“There seemed so much resistance or apathy to that on the scene that it seemed exactly what we had to do. A few other members came and went and just didn’t fit until Adrian joined on percussion in 2012 and now [multi-instrumentalist] Joel last year.” 

That makes the lineup a four-piece, Sean continues, and he lists the group thusly: 

  • Adrian Ebanks – percussion/dissension by default/band conscience 
  • Rich Dyer – piano/vocals/guitars/lack of basic interest in lyrical content compared to investigating soundscapes 
  • Joel Durksen – bass guitar/vocals/guitars/prodigy/challenger to hierarchy  
  • Sean Ebanks – guitars/bass/vocals/wannabe artistic director/failed poet. 

Plus, he reveals, there’s a “long list of fired ex-members,” but he doesn’t elaborate further on that one, sadly. 

Of course, amid all the glory and the magic, there are some funny moments to report over the years, one in particular coming to mind. 

“Trying to get our light show to work on an old-school overhead projector and ending up with flammable, oily mud as a backdrop. 

“And also, one member getting so off his rocker that he played one of our songs in the wrong key and didn’t notice.” 

A memorable gig was a showcase at the Havana Club, the band’s debut when they were still a duo. 

“All originals, all night, the realization of an artistic dream. 

“And opening for the Wailers. A huge gig for us and there we were, the little band that could, doing our thing. No compromise, no prisoners!” 

Clever Knots currently is on the cusp of recording a new album, which the band hopes to finish this summer at Hopscotch Studios. 

“We also have our first record, ‘Which Books to Burn’ available via iTunes,” reminds Sean. 

So what would be the ideal tour mates for the band? 

“Some members might say Coldplay,” the musician replies, 

“Probably some festival, because they’re huge. Some others would say Tom Waits, some theater, because he’d probably get us! He could duet on piano.” 

Clear as mud, then. So what about the band’s ideal dinner party guests? 

“[That] would have to be the Beatles. We’d play a dinner set for them and they’d sneer us out of the room, but with wit!  

“We could argue amongst ourselves as we dine who was the better writer among them and press them for song writing tips.” 

Or vice versa, perhaps? 

Ask Sean to predict the future and there’s plenty of material there to draw on already. 

“The master plan is to somehow get the 250 songs we have stacked up out on albums and be doing this forever but having it pay for itself. 

“It’s either in you or it’s not. Those who can’t help it, have to do it … everything else can’t be planned for. 

“Every band wants to be loved, even if only but a few who you can cheekily say ‘get it.’ We’re no different, we just refuse to do anything that dilutes our artistic vision of ourselves. We play 90 percent originals and the dichotomy there is that those who come know what they’re getting and those who aren’t interested and want something else are the majority, unfortunately.  

“People want easy sometimes, they want safe and proven. We’re a little left of that.” 

Clever Knots plays the Cabana on Friday, June 6, from 10 p.m. 

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Rich Dyer, Adrian Ebanks, Joel Durksen and Sean Ebanks of Clever Knots. – Photo: Stephen Clarke
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