Music Thursday, January 28th

Loud and proud: A Hundred Suns singer Claire Perkins

When it comes to being loud and proud Claire Perkins is the epitome of it.

She is the lead singer of Hereford band A Hundred Suns, an outfit that know how to crank up the levels to 11, as the old Spinal Tap joke goes.

We caught the band towards the end of last year when they played a Hereford gig supporting peace.

This was perhaps not the most appropriate of settings since they were loud, very loud, not that we’re saying that’s a bad thing.

Claire’s performance that night was a rare thing. She oozed confidence, got in people’s faces, and played an intimate venue like The Victory like most performers would play a festival. 

Throw in some serious dance moves and some raucous vocals and you might just get the picture. 

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Surprisingly for such a tight unit the band has only been together for a year. Backing up Claire is Rich Gardner, on guitar, James Whitehurst, on bass, and Stephen Bennett on drums.

Claire, who is 31, has been in bands since she was young and started writing acoustic songs while at college.

Then when she went to university in Manchester she joined a dubstep band singing over dance tracks.

After this she spent time in the most unlikely of bands.

“I joined a pirate band,” said Claire. “We dressed up as pirates singing songs about pillaging and taking shots of rum on stage.

“Back then I was doing open mics but I was not confident enough to be a lead singer. I was at the back quietly scraping my viola.”

Claire’s confidence increased when she went travelling with her continuing to do open mics in Thailand.

“When I came back I started to work with Steve, our drummer,” said Claire. “We instantly bonded about music.

"We decided to have a jam and in came Rich and James."

“I joined a pirate band,” said Claire. “We dressed up as pirates singing songs about pillaging and taking shots of rum on stage."

By this time her confidence to take the lead had grown.

“I’m quite a quiet person and reserved usually but when I’m on stage you would not get that impression,” said Claire.

“People who know me before they see the band think I am quiet and then see me play and think I am this crazy lady who is going to rip someone’s head off.

“The best thing about performing is coming out of myself.

“I’m not shy but I am quite reserved. When I’m on stage I can be that crazy rock bird and let that out.”

As well as having a heavy, heavy side the band can also be quite melodic meaning people don’t know how to categorize them.

“A lot of people seem to like us but at the same time they think we are too heavy,” said Claire.

“But at the other end of the scale we played Dowfest (a metal festival) and people were saying ‘why are they playing – they’re not metal’.

“We played a loud set and people enjoyed it – someone messaged us after and said we had proved everyone wrong.

“But we are a little bit stuck in the middle. I don’t think people know how to take us yet. We have a few more melodic songs up our sleeve.”

 “I’m not shy but I am quite reserved. When I’m on stage I can be that crazy rock bird and let that out.”

 

Claire gigs away from the band playing acoustic sets.

“In a way it’s a relief because it’s melodic and I can sound minimalist and sweet if I want to,” she said.

“It kind of broadens the brain. I like things regardless of genre – you either like it or you don’t.”

Claire works in Hereford as a health care assistant but she keeps quiet about her rock and roll roots at work.

“I don’t want to talk about it and sound as if I’m boasting –I’m not going to force it on people,” she said.

“I talk to people about music but I don’t talk to them about my band.”

The band have some important gigs lined up this year. For instance, on February 27 they are playing The Patriot in Caerphilly.

But live performances are not the only thing on the band’s agenda this year.

“We have to get back into the studio,” said Claire. “We have only recorded three songs but we have an album’s worth.”

Those songs appeared on the band’s debut EP ‘The Oblivion’ that came out last year.

Last year the band played a number of festivals including Dole Fest in Abertillery and the Down on the Farm Festival in Herefordshire.

“We were gigging constantly in August,” said Claire. “But we were quite tame about it – we did not stay at festivals for the whole three days.

“I try not to get drunk before I go on. I just want to remain level headed.”

Let’s just hope this sensible attitude doesn’t extend to their music and they continue making a racket for a long time to come!

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