Cloud Control Talk Moving to London, Hanging With Arcade Fire and Recording New Album ‘Dream Cave’ In an Actual Cave
When the Sydney foursome Cloud Control released their first album, ‘Bliss Rlease,’ in 2011, they had no idea they would soon share the stage with the likes of Weezer, Supergrass and Arcade Fire -- or that they'd win the Australian Music Prize, a $30,000 award and one of their nation’s highest music honors. So when it came time for a follow-up, the group knew the anticipation would be high. Luckily, the psyched-out, romantic ‘Dream Cave,’ due out. Sept. 17, continues the band's forward momentum.
After wrapping up sound check before a recent New York City show, frontman Alister Wright chatted with Diffuser.fm about ‘Dream Cave’ -- recorded in an actual cave -- and the band’s relocation to London since dropping their blissful debut.
The band got a lot of buzz off the first album after winning the Australian Music Prize. How did you approach the follow-up?
We didn’t think about it too much, but we did feel a little pressure. I felt a lot pressure the first time around, but it was more your average anxiety. We sort of went into it thinking, “Whatever happens, happens," because we're usually a pretty unplanned band. It’s always a fluke when we get together. Every step of the way, it just seemed to work. It was the same kind of thing with this album, where we wrote songs and recorded for about a year. I think we tried to make something cohesive, make it sound like a real album.
What prompted the band's move to London?
We’ve been there for about two years now, and we were exciting by the music scene there. The move was mostly because we got offered a record deal, and it made touring a lot easier. We were playing the same places in Australia over and over, so it was a lot easier to get out and play new countries once we got to London.
What was the transition like coming from Sydney?
I would describe Sydney as a very outward looking city, and very international. It has its own identity, but it’s also kind of like a cross between London and New York, with lots of people from all over. The London music scene feels really different because they don’t really care what’s going on in the rest of the world, which is pretty cool.
It was actually pretty fun to move somewhere where you don’t know anyone and you have to make a new set of friends. It’s been nice.
Is it true you guys recorded some of 'Dream Cave' in an actual cave?
Yeah, we did the vocals to 'Dream Cave' and remixed a bunch of other stuff in the cave. We took a bunch of our friends and girlfriends down and stayed for the weekend. We made it into a good experience. We didn’t take it too seriously, and I have very fond memories of going down in there. It sounds great in a cave, like a huge, muffled cathedral or something. And nothing against digital and reverbs and all that, but we wanted to try something different and make it in a real place.
What was your experience working with producer Barney Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand)?
Every time you work with someone with much more experience than you, you pick up the studio tricks and techniques that they use. And also working with someone like him, you have to justify what you want to do. We had to be confident about what we wanted and be strong in what we thought something should sound like. We really had to work for our ideas.
Before that, we worked with another guy named Liam Judson down in Australia. We knew him already, though, so it was a different experience. It was definitely cool to see how Barney worked.
The band has also toured with some pretty impressive people, like Weezer and Arcade Fire.
Yeah, that’s been great. Vampire Weekend were really cool, and their new album is great. Playing with Arcade Fire was really great, though, because as soon as we got offstage, they came running up to us to talk to us and tell it was great. They’re such a huge band, they really don’t have to do that. It’s always nice to see a bigger band like that keep it real off stage, and we were really impressed by those guys on and offstage.