Alison Goldfrapp whistled the bird noises that are heard at the end of the song.
This was the first song the duo recorded for the album. "Clowns'" origins were in a jam session, its dreamy folk sound was to set the agenda for the rest of the album.
Blackbook magazine asked Alison Goldfrapp about why the duo used clown imagery on the album. She replied: "It came out of one of the songs being called 'Clowns.' They're still a fascination for a lot of artists. [But] it's more a harlequin image that I used. There's a certain mystique about a harlequin and the idea they can be very throwaway or trivial but also quite cunning. Playful, but in a melancholic way."
Will Gregory told Pitchfork Media that the string arrangements on this were inspired by those of Robert Kirby, who is best known for his work on the Nick Drake albums. He said: "Robert Kirby's string arrangements are brilliant - they're so lovely. That became a of a goal, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, if you could like - if we could get strings that sounded anything like that. And we never did, and it was probably wrong to even try. But yeah, they're lovely."