Reverend and the Makers: ‘Weirdly, lockdown was one of my most successful times’

Reverend and the Makers frontman Jon McClure on Covid, new additions to the band and plans for the future ahead of the band’s main stage set at the Tramlines Festival on Sunday evening in Sheffield.

Reverend and The Makers. Picture: Roger Sargeant
Reverend and The Makers. Picture: Roger Sargeant

This weekend the annual Tramlines Festival will descend upon Sheffield and one of the mainstays of the festival, Reverend and the Makers, will take to the stage once again, their first appearance since 2019. The band are no strangers to the festival, having been one of the original headline acts during its inaugural year in 2009 and gracing the main stage many times since.

Frontman Jon McClure is “buzzing” for Tramlines, where the band will have a fresh line-up and a slightly different sound. Joining the band will be Antonia Pooles, bassist from fellow Sheffield band Sophie and the Giants. The news was announced via the bands TikTok account, with a video showing the band at practice with the caption ‘New lineup, New tunes, coming soon.’ The video included Laura McClure, Ed Cosens, Ryan Jenkinson and new bassist Antonia. There was no sighting or mention of Joe Carnall Jnr in the video.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The band already have seven albums to their name, with a new one currently in the latter stages of production. “I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been working on an album. The album is very nearly done and it’s being mixed as we speak. I feel very happy about it and life in general,” McClure says.

Whilst the pandemic has been tough for many artists, McClure has been fortunate to have been working with other bands and artists producing and writing songs for them and working on some film and video projects. “Weirdly, lockdown was one of my most successful times. I’ve made more money during lockdown than I have in years because I wasn’t just stuck in the studio,” McClure admitted. “I could just write and produce music for people and obviously for myself as well,” McClure says.

McClure has shown he is not just comfortable behind a microphone but in front of a camera too, filming Liars – a project with brother Chris about the lies told to them as children by their parents. “I’ve signed on to do a film project which will take up a lot of my time. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and someone has lumped up a load of money for me to do it. It’s going to be great and I’m excited about the year ahead,” McClure reveals.

A little snippet of a new track has been played on the bands TikTok account with an upbeat electronic funk feel to it. Ironically, the lyrics contain the words “There’s a heatwave in the cold north”, very apt given the weather this past week or so.

“I think this album will shock a few people as it’s been four years since I’ve released a Reverend and the Makers album and it doesn’t sound anything like what people are expecting me to do right now. It’s certainly a long way from the indie beginnings of the band,” McClure says.

Like many other musicians from Sheffield, 40-year-old McClure has played at the iconic Leadmill venue, which announced in March that the landlord was ending their tenancy agreement next year and forcing them out of the building.

“I’m not quite sure about the politics of it all, but we can’t lose it, it’s an institution,” he says. “It’s a place that is dear to me and many other Sheffield musicians who have come through the doors. We have to protect it, it’s part of our identity.”

Reverend and the Makers will take to the main stage at the Tramlines Festival on Sunday July 24 at 4.30pm.