Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

INTERVIEW - Emmett & Klaude Davenport of The Clockwork Cabaret

Emmett & Klaude Davenport of The Clockwork Cabaret
Sky-Pirate Radio: www.clockworkcabaret.com

The Clockwork CabaretThe dear Davenport sisters have been entertaining our airwaves since we started here at Dieselpunks. But now that we finally have a working spotlight made out of old hand mirrors, a little bit of chewing gum, and some Radium 218 we found in the junk room, those girls are nowhere to be found.

How odd. Who doesn't like chewing gum?

Wait a minute! What's that noise? It sounds like a grandfather clock trying to mate with an accordion. It must be the infamous airship of The Clockwork Cabaret!

Hopefully, they'll be able to hear me up there. Maybe I'll lure them in with some pie and we can start this interview.

To bring everyone up to speed, can you give us an overview of the show?

The Clockwork Cabaret is one part old timey radio show, two parts eclectic and eccentric music and half a part surrealist art.

How can people tune in?

We air live from 11:00pm to 1:00am EST Monday nights on 103.5 WCOM FM, available in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, but we also stream the show live at www.wcomfm.org and produce the show as a podcast available for listening and download through clockworkcabaret.podhoster.com and iTunes.

What can people expect?

A wide variety of music is the base for our program, sister and I will play anything from Nina Hagen to Arcade Fire, Klaus Nomi, The Two Man Gentleman Band, Vernian Process, anything that strikes us as anachronistic and interesting. There are very few genres off limits on the Clockwork Cabaret.

In addition to music we also indulge in some regular spoken bits, such as Klaude's Modest Collection of Botched Inventions, where I read aloud stories of inventions gone wrong. Dear Prudence is our Agony Aunt column created to deal with the unique problems encountered by steampunks. Emmett has a Poetry Corner, wherein she reads brief and humorous classic poems. At the top of the hour our Rogue Financier, Phineas P. Moneyload, bombastically reads aloud our sponsors for the show.

You can also expect a good deal of chatter that we hope is humorous in nature. We like talking about bees, whales, squid, pies, and our dignity.

Other than being the hostesses, who are Emmett and Klaude Davenport?

Emmett and Klaude Davenport are twenty foot tall robot monsters who wish someone would invent waterproofing for giant robots so they could finally use their slip-and-slide.

We're also sisters who were orphaned in a terrible accident just a few short years ago. We roam the world playing music through our sky pirate radio in a tribute to our dear parents. Emmett is the elder, an archivist and know-it-all while Klaude is the younger, a beekeeper and freelance pyrotechnician. One of us is made almost entirely of rusted gears. We're not telling which!

How long have you been sky-pirating the airwaves and what keeps you coming back each week?

We've been on the air for a little over 2 years now and have 115 podcasts under our corset. If we weren't broadcasting ourselves we'd probably be doing the same things on a Monday night: sitting about with friends telling ridiculous stories, listening to weird music and cracking wise. Also, Emmett puts Klaude in a small cage in our production studio, so that keeps her coming back to the show each week.

What made you choose WCOM to take over as opposed to a purely internet based show?

There were several reasons WCOM was the only choice for us. The first being that we were acquainted with the Reverend Jynxx Midnite of the Phantom Frequency (Mondays from 1:00am - 3:00am on WCOM FM) and he offered to let us dangle our feet in the waters of radio and was very encouraging of us to join the WCOM family. We're lucky that we now hold down the two hour block prior to his show.

The second reason is the sheer volume of music we wanted to play. Internet based shows run into a lot of difficulties with the legality of playing music online. A podcast alone was out of the question, because we would need permission from every artist in order to play their music on our show, so the show's format would have been shorted and more talky.

It was important to us to show the wide range of music we find appropriate in our steampunk soundtrack, from tiny little indie bands, to friends projects and large, signed, popular artists. Plus, Klaude has prior experience in radio and loves the entire experience of working behind a large hulking mixing board. There's nothing like it.

You seem to have a lot of trouble with CLANNG. Where did they come from, and why are they such a nuisance?

CLANNG are a bunch of jerkity jerks who've decided to make our lives as frustrating as possible. They chase us around, throwing spanners into the works of everything we do, from destroying our production equipment to attempted kidnappings. Recently they had me committed. Committed! How rude! We're honestly not sure who they are or where they come from, though. Emmett and I have some theories about their origins, and we know they were somehow involved with our parents and their work, but we're not entirely sure how. It's like having a fist full of ropes, but never being able to fully unravel them. And also those ropes want to kill you.

Who else has crashed into the show?

In addition to our lovely and extremely hilarious Rogue Financier, Phineas P. Moneyload, we've had appearances from V. Victrola Albion, a friend who's currently off adventuring in London; Maxwell Manchester, a fellow radio-ite from Salem State College's WMWM; Ursula, who brings us lovely music; Mr Edwin Bovril; and Miss Victoria Everglott, our Chinese culture and language correspondent. Of course there is also the Ducole Company, our favorite listeners turned characters on the show.

Have you press-ganged any "recruits" to help you over the years?

We like to shake creativity out of everyone we meet. If they're remotely humorous we'll slap a microphone in front of them and squeeze out some funny. Phineas P. Moneyload is our first and best recruit to the show. Without him we would be staggeringly less funny.

Another fantastic recruit is the composer of our stunning theme music, Richard Kyle O'Dore. He was recruited very early on and managed to make a piece of music I'm happy to hear every single week.

What other shenanigans have you gotten yourselves into recently?

Recently Klaude got her head stuck in a fishbowl. She was pretending to be a spaceman traveling to the moon. Then, last weekend Klaude got herself stuck in a tree. She got her bodice strings tangled around some branches and was hanging there like a giant steampunk piñata. Mostly the shenanigans involve Klaude. She's... well, she's Klaude.

The well you tap to find "Music o' Gears" seems endless. How do you keep finding great music to play?

The used record stores around Chapel Hill/Carrboro and Durham NC are stellar and provide Klaude with much of her music. Emmett is great about working off our listener recommendations. We're both deliciously guilty of judging albums by their covers. We did an entire show, 2 hours of music, devoted to bands we'd discovered by judging their album art. More often than not if the cover looks anachronistic and neo-Victorian, we'll find at least one track on the album we can use for the show.

The most important part of finding music for the show is keeping an open mind and listening to a ridiculous amount of music in the first place. You've got to sift through an awful lot of dirt to find a gold nugget.

How do people get in touch to request new audio ammunition for the show?

Send us an email at clockworkcabaret@gmail.com

Do you take music submissions?

We excitedly accept musical submissions! Digital albums and digital press packages can be sent to us via our email address listed above.

Physical albums and press packs can be mailed to us at the following address:

The Clockwork Cabaret
PO Box 730
Carrboro, NC 27510-5514

If possible, send two albums, one will be put into the Clockwork Cabaret's collection which tours with us when we travel to perform, the other will be given to the radio station for use by other DJ's.

Also, please do not be disappointed if we do not play your music on the show. Sometimes what works to one steampunk ear doesn't work for another. We try to play a diverse range of music, but occasionally we're handed a submission that simply doesn't strike us as fitting with the show.

When you're not flying through the airwaves, where else can we see the famous Davenport Sisters?

If you're handy climbing rigging, through our porthole windows when we're sleeping.

First there's our website www.clockworkcabaret.com, for visuals and what not. Klaude mans most of our Twitter posts @clockwrkcabaret where Phineas P Moneyload can also be found @phinnyp.

We're on Facebook, MySpace, and on Sunday night's we go round your mum's for a roast dinner. We'll be attending various conventions and events over the summer which Emmett does a very good job of cataloging through our Facebook page.

We also host a semi-regular dance shin-dig called The Clockwork Ball which is grand fun

How can Dieselpunks help The Clockwork Cabaret?

We love blueberry pies, you could bake us a blueberry pie OR, simply keep cataloging this beautiful anachronistic chunk of alternative culture! You do a stellar job and we're honored to have been interviewed by Dieselpunks!

Thank you, ladies! Godspeed!

Photographs courtesy of Bohemian Noir Visions, Studio 713, and Ted Johnson

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Comment by Angel Harridan on April 29, 2010 at 5:22pm
Excellent interview!
Comment by Davenport & Winkleperry on April 27, 2010 at 11:04am
Very nice interview!
Comment by Jonny B. Goode on April 22, 2010 at 11:44pm
Hey ladies! <waves> Great interview!

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