interview: Cloud

words: Kassie Salas

On Friday, March 9, Cloud released their latest album Plays with Fire. In celebration of the new release we shared a few questions with the artists regarding the album, the meaning behind the music and more.

The Grey Estates: Have you been up to anything special since your last release? Any new projects lined up?

Cloud: Since the release of Zen Summer I’ve been up to a bit, I guess. I lived in Brazil for a short while in a city called Curitiba. It’s a beautiful place and I made a lot of close friends there. Then, I began working on my first feature film which I’m currently in post-production on. I also have a new album of material that I may record in the next year or so. Likely not under Cloud.

During the production of your new album, was there a certain type of equipment that you loved using?

Hm.  I wish I had a cool answer for this but unfortunately I don’t. I’ve been producing with the same tools for quite a few albums now.  As far as instruments go, I decided to strip down to more organic sounds and be rid of electronic instruments as much as possible. I suppose the best tool was the grand piano in the house I grew up in. Returning to it to record was a nice experience. 

What album/artist inspired you to pursue a life of music, and directing?

I’ve had so many heroes.  Leonard Cohen and Jonathan Richman are role models to me in their relationship with spirituality.  Both seem to incorporate a sense of humor into their shtick that I find comforting.  Then you have people like Robert Bresson and Claire Denis who are also role models to me.  They, on the other hand, have an incredibly austere approach to their form.  I have tremendous respect for this as well. Also, artists like Abbas Kiarostami and Jim Jarmusch must be named.  When you hear them speak about art and about life you find their admiration for life is contagious.  They inspired me to pursue and inspire me to continue on.  To set out for the journey is just one step.  Then there are so many more steps to take.  Having such great role models keeps me going. 

If you had to recommend a song for first time listeners from any of your albums, what song would you show them first?

I guess it depends on the listener. If you just had your heart broken or have grown to detest your ego, check out Comfort Songs.  If you feel the magic of life then check out anything on Zen Summer.  But if it had to be one song..maybe “Night Ride,”  Listen on headphones while walking around outside during magic hour. 

What's the story behind the music video for “Wildfire"?

I have a short film called Wild Flies that I made a couple of years ago.  It’s a half hour in runtime and is a curious look at a handful of restaurant goers of a bizarre pizzeria.  I wanted to study where these people were at in their lives and made a sort of experiment with them.  I was interested in a singular space where all of these different energies and intentions were pinballing around with one another.  For the “Wildfire” music video, I wanted to continue that narrative in a seedy bar environment where the naive are drawn into a loop of chaos and ill-will where many spiral out of control.  I’m not sure why this interests me. Both the short film and music video have tons of cast overlap actually. My dad plays with card trick guy.  

Do you have any plans to do a full US tour for the release of your new album?

I do not have any plans slated but hopefully soon enough I will have a few shows booked, potentially a small tour. 

Which song within the new album is your personal favorite?

Happer’s Laugh into Disenchanted.  They’re a duo that I’m most proud of on this album. 

Tell us about your first feature film, Ham On Rye! 

You’re very kind for asking. It’s a coming-of-age story following a generation of suburban teens who are thrown into mystery after a strange ritual of their hometown.  It’s super goofy, unreasonably bleak and made for lovers of film.  I’m quite happy with how it’s coming together which is a huge relief because if I wasn’t these would be very dark days for me. Making this film was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.  I hope you’ll see it soon. 

What's your most anticipated album of 2018?

A few.  Winter’s Ethereality,  Snowball II are recording their fourth record (in the span of two years…) and The Needs are also recording another record as well.  Also, isn’t Vampire Weekend supposed to release something soon? 

You recently did a Toon Tunes with us, and we just have to know, which is your all-time favorite Hey Arnold episode?

Easily the episode, “Sally’s Comet.”  I feel as though it’s one of my cherished memories.  I named a song after it— sort of. Thank you very much for this interview and thank you for those reading along.