Interview: Cloud Control
Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on April 9, 2014
Blue Mountains locals Cloud Control are currently touring the country in support of their acoustic album Dream Cave Unplugged. They’re performing a series of free gigs, comprised of minimalist renditions of songs from 2013’s Dream Cave. I spoke to frontman Alister Wright about the tour this morning, ahead of the band’s trip to Cairns.
You’re three weeks into a month long tour now; has all that travelling taken it out of you?
I think I’m used to it, I don’t think it’s that bad. I’ve been having time off every week in Sydney, you know, hanging out with friends and everything, so it’s been pretty nice.
Is it good to be home from the UK for a bit?
Yeah, it’s great! Especially when the UK’s, like, pretty cold. Or it was when we left, so yeah, it’s pretty nice.
The last time I saw you guys perform was at Splendour in the Grass last year, which was a really fun set. Do you prefer performing at festivals or doing your own shows?
Yeah, that was a lot of fun. I don’t think I could make a generalisation about those… it just really depends on the festival and on the show.
Of course. And the acoustic tour you’re on at the moment would have a different vibe altogether, wouldn’t it?
Yeah! I mean, the vibe changes a lot between acoustic shows, too. Some of them are super outrageous, drunken, party kinda shows, but some of them are really quiet, really chilled out. We get to play a quiet song for a change, which is nice.
Is that what you’re enjoying most about these stripped-back shows, then?
I actually think it’s mostly somewhere in the middle. Like, people usually dancing by the end of it, that kind of thing. We’ve only had probably three or four shows that have been the quiet, daytime kinda thing. It’s funny, I think it really depends on what the space is like. If it’s overlooking the beach and there’s people sitting down and everything, then that’s what happens, but a lot of the shows have been on a stage and it looks like it’s where a rock band would usually play, with people standing up, which just kind of means we get into a different headspace.
Do you have a more casual mindset going into these sort of shows, or do you treat them like you would treat any other performance?
You still take them very seriously, do a lot of warm ups and all that. I mean, my main vibe’s still – playing any kind of show – is to be really prepared so you can be relaxed on stage anyway.
Have there been any real challenges so far with this acoustic tour?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been losing my voice a bit, but I think I’m kind of top of that now. It’s just doing a lot of shows… A few songs in particular, like Promises and Dream Cave, I don’t really know how to sing them in a way that doesn’t damage my voice. It got to the point where, two weeks in, I couldn’t even talk. So I’ve been singing those songs a bit softer, which has actually turned out to be kind of cool, because I’ll ask people to help me with the songs, and often we’ll get a big chorus of people singing. It feels really good.
What inspired you to do this kind of tour, just to go out and perform all the songs acoustically?
Well for us, in the writing process, there was a big period of time where we just sat in the lounge room going through all the songs on one guitar and the keyboard, and just all singing, to make sure that they worked like classic songs. Not that I think all songs have to do that, but I just think, for what we’re trying to do, then it makes sense. After we’d gotten them all to a stage where they could really stand up like that, it seemed like a logical thing to do, to put that into the public realm and let people into how we go about making the songs. If they’re interested, you know [laughs].
It certainly worked. Did you always plan to release Dream Cave Unplugged as an album, or did that come about through the acoustic shows?
I think we had it, and we were talking about releasing it, but it just… yeah, when the acoustic shows happened, it was like, oh yeah, let’s definitely put this out. We just had it sitting it around. We did a one day recording session after we finished recording the album proper, of just us playing the songs live in a little studio.
I think it’s always really cool to hear about how different bands record their albums, and the different processes, and I thought it was particularly interesting how you chose to record part of Dream Cave actually in a cave in England. But if you could perform anywhere at all, at any time, where would that be?
Man, that is a tough question [laughs]. Maybe I’d like to perform in, like, a futuristic space station, or on the moon or something really whack, ’cause that’d be a thing that you don’t get to do every day. It’d be nice to play in freefall. That would be awesome. I wonder if it would be hard to play your instrument, ’cause it’d be floating up, your guitar would be floating up off your chest and kind of waving around, you’d be chasing it around. That’d be kinda fun. It’d be really weird. Oh my God, and then the crowd would be, like, floating around you as well!
That’d be great. One for the future. So, in 2014, what’s been some of your favourite music?
I’m usually a little bit behind the 8-ball, so… With, like, new music, in the last couple of weeks – it actually came out last year – but I’ve been listening to the Deafheaven album a lot. Mainly the first track, which I just can’t stop listening to, called Dream House. But that thing, it just absolutely flaws me, it just has so much power and emotion. I really like listening to super intense music like that. I like chilling out, as well, but if I’m walking down the street listening to headphones, it’ll probably be something really crazy. I really like Palms’ album, which came out last year.
After this acoustic tour, which wraps up in about two weeks, what have you guys got planned for the rest of the year?
We’re doing a tour with Metronomy in the US, straight after this tour. And then that’s kind of it. I guess after that, maybe moving back to Australia, and getting into writing another album.
New South Wales
Friday 11 April, 6:30-8pm, Queens Wharf Brewery, 150 Wharf Road, Newcastle
Friday 11 April, 10-11:30pm, Shoal Bay Resort, Shoal Bay Road, Newcastle
Wednesday 16 April, 6-7:30pm, Brunswick Hotel, 4 Mullumbimby St, Brunswick Heads
Wednesday 16 April, 9-10:30pm, Beach Hotel Byron Bay, Cnr Jonson & Bay Street
Thursday 10 April, 6:30-8pm, Salt House, 6/2 Pier Point Road Cairns
Thursday 10 April, 9.30-10.30pm, Gilligan’s Backpackers, 57-89 Grafton St, Cairns
Saturday 12 April, 10-11:30pm, Story Bridge Hotel, 200 Main St, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane
Sunday 13 April, 3-4:30pm, Paddington Tavern, 186 Given Terrace, Paddington, Brisbane
Sunday 13 April, 7-8:30pm, Komune, 144-146 Marine Parade, Coolangatta, Gold Coast
Thursday 17th April, 5:30-7pm, Noosa Heads SLSC, Hastings Street, Noosa Heads
Thursday 17th April, 9-10:30pm, Sol Bar, Ocean Street, Maroochydore
Saturday 19 April, 6:30-8pm, Jubilee Hotel, 470 St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley
Saturday 19 April, 9:30-11pm, Boardwalk Tavern, Marina Village Shopping Centre, Hope Island
Sunday 20 April, 4-5:30pm, Coolangatta Hotel, Marina Pde, Coolangatta