IN THE VIDEO for “Maiden Voyage”, the latest release from indie duo Cambio Sun, a grim urban sprawl backdrops a young boy playing superheroes. The whole thing is kind of cute, before the kid lifts his homemade mask to reveal that his eyes are blackened, after which the film becomes devastatingly sad. Having watched that, I expected John Cleworth (one half of Cambio Sun and a model recently signed to IMG) to be rather moodier and self-serious than he was: never conflate the artist and the art, I suppose.
With a languid Sydney accent that’s a perfect fit with his tousled hair and chiselled visage, Cleworth certainly seems to be enjoying life in London, having moved here just over a year ago to join his school friend and now bandmate, Charlie Tait. First realising “during a science lesson at 15” that they shared a passion for the same music, Tait recently got Cleworth on board to produce and play percussion after making Cambio’s first EP, “Reticent”, alone. Now, with the band’s full-length debut on the way, Cleworth is balancing the heady worlds of modelling and music, and enjoying every minute of it.
“I love the speed of the fashion industry. It’s so fast paced,” he tells me. “It can get tiring not knowing what you’re going to do tomorrow… because it’s so last minute. But that’s what’s so exciting.” That’s an unusually refreshing response (over-earnest musicianscum-models often dismiss their modelling as some shameful secretto be downplayed at all costs) and one that hints at the infectious enthusiasm Cleworth has for whatever he tries.
Counting Radiohead and Grizzly Bear as the biggest influences on his sound (a complex, muted beast which takes in strands of electro as well as more traditional guitar-based melancholia), he explains that music is “in the blood” thanks to his parents – who are both professional musicians themselves. Even so, it feels, charmingly enough, like he can’t quite believe his luck right now: “If someone had told me, ‘You’re going to London after school and you’re going to be touring around and playing shows and doing this,’ I would be like: ‘Fuck off!’” he exclaims.
Don’t think that means he’s resting on his laurels, though. Cleworth knows the unquenchable nature of desire and is determined to chase it, wherever it may lead: “Your goals go higher. Music never stops. You’ve never reached the top and it’ll never stop ’til you die.” Long live Cambio Sun, ‘ey?