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Cloud Control - Interview

  by Tara McEvoy

published: 23 / 4 / 2011

Cloud Control - Interview


Tara McEvoy talks to Australian folk pop outfit Cloud Control at a show in Belfast to promote their debut album 'Bliss Release' about their reading habits, and the highs and lows for them so far of working in the music industry

Ahead of their recent Belfast gig, Pennyblackmusic caught up with Jeremy Kelshaw (bassist) and Alister Wright (lead guitar, vocals) of Aussie folk-poppers Cloud Control to talk Kafka, Supergrass, and what it’s really like to deal with the highs and lows of the music industry. Purveyors of a beguiling blend of indie with an atmospheric twang, the band was formed in 2008, as four friends - the two listed above, and siblings Heidi (keyboards, vocals) and Ulrich Lenffer (drums, percussion) - came together to play music. They have just put output out debut album ‘Bliss Release’ on Ivy League Records to considerable critical acclaim. If you’re a fan of Devendra Banhart, Vampire Weekend or just about any act in between, you won’t fail to be won over by their upbeat sound, or the understated charm they displayed in the interview below. PB: Firstly, can you give us a fact about the band not a lot of people know? JK: Um...a fact? A fact about the music industry is that all people are nerds. That’s a fact. We were in Glasgow the other day, and they have that really famous quote about how the music industry is full of horrible people, how it’s a long and winding road of trials and tribulations... and then there’s that classic ‘and then there’s a downside’. But yeah, I’m interpreting this question a bit. Also, that hasn’t really been my experience of the music industry. We’ve met a lot of great people, and it’s been really positive, too, I guess. PB: You’ve supported a lot of great bands, but which have been your favourite to support and why? JK: Eh... favourite band to support? I know mine...(To Alister) You need to think of yours first. AW: It’s hard. We’ve had a lot of good supports... Vampire Weekend was really good. We were playing to so many people. Supergrass were really great too... . JK: That’s my favourite! We did Supergrass’ last Australian tour – no one knew it was their last at the time. But then they broke up a couple of years later. That was our first international support. We were young, and green, and naive. We loved it. It was really fun. And they’re just such good dudes. They let us borrow gear the first time, because we had no money. PB: Where did the band name come from? JK: Playing crosswords? Mix-matching words. AW: We were just trying to come up with a name that sounded cool... PB: What was the basis for your current single, ‘There’s Nothing in the Water We Can’t Fight’? AW: I wrote the lyrics when I was in India, near the Ganges... I just wrote it in a hotel room looking out – there was a really large funeral procession walking down the street. They were doing this thing where they’d yell out all together. They were all dressed in black and they’d just pound themselves on the chest, and it was a really interesting way of celebrating death, I thought. I just kind of tried to put that vibe across in the song. JK: I had a similar experience. I went with my school, years ago, to Tonga, a Pacific island, on an exchange, and someone pretty close to the group of people we were staying with died. We went to the funeral. It was just heaps more... physical than any kind of Western funeral. Western funerals... they keep it in, suck it up. But there, they just let it out. Everywhere else in the world lets loose with emotion and grief... that’s always kind of struck me as something I appreciate about different cultures, I think it’s really healthy just to kind of physically let loose like that. PB: You can definitely get that in the song. It’s pretty emotive, quite powerful! Would you say you write most of the lyrics, Alister? AW: Yeah, I do, I write most of the lyrics. PB: One of your best loved early songs is called 'Vintage Books', but which books are your personal favourites? JK : I just ordered a Patti Smith biography...I’m looking forward to reading that. AW: Actually, I couldn’t finish reading this one – I got halfway through it in Australia, but I had to leave it there, because it was a library book! So I was reading ‘Infidel’ by Ayaan Hirsi...it’s really good. Yeah, and I like stuff like Kafka, too. PB: What are your views on downloading? AW: It’s bad for artists because they don’t make any money...Also, you just get so much music you don’t know what to listen to. I bought my first CD on iTunes a few days ago and I listened to it like five times. So I was like, wow, I haven’t done that with a record for so long! PB: What was it out of interest? AW: It was an album by a band called Ghoul. It’s really cool, really really good. Check it out. JK: I reckon pirating is not going to die, right? I think you can only try to pirate better. I think the way to do that is by asking your mates ‘What should I listen to?’, rather than download their entire library, and get them to give you the specific album. AW: Yeah, that might be better JK: It’s all about the intention. If you take away the intention, you don’t value songs. You’ve have got to value it. You have got to. AW: Yeah, I’m really poor, so paying money for something made me value it more. Whereas if I’m just given a CD, I might listen to it just once, unless I’m really impressed. PB: You’re just about to go on stage – before you do, do you have any weird and wonderful post-gig rituals you’ll be adhering to? JK: It changes... the general vibe is just, try and relax... sometimes, that’s warming up, singing, or just chilling, drinking beer. Sometimes not drinking beer. AW: We used to have crazy warm ups, try and get really excited... PB: Madonna-esque group hugging sessions? JL: The occasional group hug, yeah. But if you do the same thing every night it kind of gets boring, you know? I think, you can’t manufacture it. You’ve just got to do what you feel. AW: (Laughs)Yeah man, do what you feel! PB: Good luck with the gig, guys, and thanks very much!

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Stiff Kitten, Belfast, 6/4/2011
Tara McEvoy watches Australian folk pop outfit Cloud Control play an exhilarating set in an incredible night at the Stiff Kitten in Belfast



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