You may not hear Cloud Nothings oozing through the radio speakers or appearing on your TV screens anytime soon, but the indie-pop four piece from Cleveland have undeniably taken the Internet by storm and have music critics and bloggers alike buzzing about their imminent self-titled debut album.
Fronted by 19-year-old Dylan Baldi, Cloud Nothings have emerged from the basement, transforming his lo-fi DIY recordings into fully-fledged pop-punk gems and are gearing up to release them on a full-length album on 4th February 2011.
Like many college kids before him, Dylan didn’t quite enjoy the schooling institution and turning to music decided instead to drop out and start a band. What many might consider an irrational, impulsive career move, turned out quite well for young Dylan, who quickly went on to sign a record contract with Carpark Records and embarked on an international tour that saw him playing alongside Wavves, Best Coast and Les Savy Fav.
We caught up with Dylan Baldi ahead of his highly anticipated album release to pick his brain about his musical lucky strike, the Cloud Nothings record, Australia’s lack of basements and his secret love for Katy Perry.
Music Feeds: I know this question is slightly overkill for you now, but how did Cloud Nothings come about?
Dylan Baldi: It all started when I was in college; not really enjoying it or having much fun, so I began playing and recording music on my own at home. I put the DIY tracks online, created a MySpace page and a band name and it all just fell into place from there.
MF: How did you hook up with the other musicians that now make up Cloud Nothings?
DB: They’re all just friends of mine from Cleveland that I’ve met by hanging out and socializing at the small live music scene here.
MF: What can you tell me about your debut album and how you turned your simple lo-fi demos into full-scale power-pop numbers?
DB: The debut album is basically what my original songs would have sounded like if I’d recorded and perfected them in a proper recording studio. I went in there knowing I wanted to make my music cleaner and more refined. Sure, it still retains some grit and detail but it’s definitely produced much better. My basic aim was to make an album of pop songs and call it a day!
MF: Do you have a personal favourite song off the album?
DB: The most fun song to play live with the band is definitely the last song, it’s called All The Time.
MF: And what was your inspiration behind that song?
DB: To be honest when I write a song I’m not really conscious of there being any particular inspiration behind it. But after reading the lyrics over and over again, I do tend to realize that there actually is some meaning there. All The Time is basically an explanation people have for someone who’s my age. But I wasn’t trying to make a deep, over thought album in the first place; I just wanted to make a fun, enjoyable album.
MF: If you weren’t pursuing a career in music now, what do you think you would be doing instead?
DB: (Laughs and pauses) Hmmm… It would still definitely be something in music; in school I was studying audio recording so I suppose I’d be doing that or finding some way to make a living off anything music-related.
MF: If I was to come back and speak to you in about 3 years time, what would you hope to have achieved by then?
DB: Hopefully we would have a bigger fan base and have created music that people care about. It would be pretty incredible to have some good reviews in a bunch of magazines too. I read a lot of magazines and check out music websites everyday so if I could have done all of the above in the space of 3 years I’d be pretty happy.
MF: Would you like to embark on a full-blown overseas tour as well?
DB: Absolutely! We’ve been through Europe already and hopefully we’ll get to go back there again. But I’d also love to travel even further like to Japan or Australia.
MF: Well now that you’ve mentioned it, what is your impression of Australia?
DB: Well I’ve never been to Australia, but I’ve heard you have no basements in houses! That’s so weird. Honestly I don’t think too much about what Australia looks like, I’ve seen pictures of Sydney and all and based on the music that comes out of it like AC/DC and such, it seems pretty cool. Actually, you know what? No, I have absolutely no idea, what is Australia like?
MF: I guess you’ll just have to wait and find out!
DB: (Laughs) I guess so!
MF: The indie pop music you’re producing has already been praised by the likes of NME and Pitchfork, but how do you feel about your live performance? Are you confident on stage in front of audiences?
DB: Definitely. I mean at first it was a little stressful because it was something I’d never done before, I was really shy when talking to people and didn’t feel like I belonged where I was. But right now I’m definitely more confident and I think our live performance works really well.
MF: So are you looking forward to the tour you’ve got coming up through the UK and US?
DB: Absolutely! I love getting to travel and play and am really looking forward to touring with the band.
MF: Have you got any plans to appear at any summer festivals?
DB: So far the only one we’re booked for is Primavera Sound in Spain. There’s a lot of older bands playing like The Suicides and John Cale is going to perform with a full orchestra so that will be really cool. Hopefully we’ll be hopping around to a few more festivals in the summer season too.
MF: What was the first gig you ever went to?
DB: I think it was this bluegrass band called Nickel Creek. I went with my dad when I was really little so I don’t remember much of it, but I’m sure it was good show.
MF: Surely you can remember the best gig you’ve been to though?
DB: One of the best gigs was definitely Man Man. It was like a crazy circus and stuck to my memory pretty well, there was just a constant energy on stage and the drummer was tapping my friends’ head with his drumsticks for ages. It was wild!
MF: What kind of record label do you think would be best for Cloud Nothings down the line? Are you happy being signed to an independent label (Carpark/Wichita) or do you aspire to strike up a record deal with a major label in the future?
DB: I’m certainly happy with what’s going on right now. I guess from what I know about the music industry and having been in a band for only a year, I would never say I’d aspire to sign with a major label, that’s kind of a ridiculous thing to say. Besides it seems to me like the independent labels are becoming major labels, but just on a smaller level. I’m not really sure where the dream position is for me and Cloud Nothings, but I wouldn’t really mind either way – major or indie.
MF: Having only been in a band for one year – what do you think are the biggest obstacles today for new bands?
DB: For a new band, the biggest obstacles are really ones that we didn’t ever have to face. Honestly, it all just fell into place! However getting your music out there and being able to promote yourself are certainly huge issues as well as mastering the performance of a live show. I think a lot of young bands don’t care about or don’t think the live performance aspect of a music career is important for some reason, but that’s definitely what a lot of new bands would struggle with when first starting up.
MF: Coming to the end of this interview, is there anything you can tell me about yourself that I wouldn’t already know?
DB: Hmm… it’s all pretty out there I don’t really keep any secrets. But I do like Katy Perry and am very excited about her upcoming tour – I’m sure you wouldn’t know that about me!
Cloud Nothings’ is out 4th February 2011 on Rogue through Inertia.
Check out Cloud Nothings’ MySpace page here