Cloud Nothings feature at #49 in The DIY List 2014, a look back at the year’s best albums, one-off shows, festival performances and achievements outside of the norm. This interview was originally published on DIY this April.
Dylan Baldi isn’t your average twenty-two year old. His band Cloud Nothings are preparing the release of their fourth album, he has travelled across the globe touring and has also been on the receiving end of a whole heap of acclaim. Not that it shows in the slightest as Dylan, who’s completing a whistle-stop stay in London, is relaxed and modest. “I ate a steak yesterday and stepped on a frog this morning outside of the Wichita office,” he chuckles away groggily.
What initially started as a bedroom project has come a long way since its creation. A drastic step in its gradual development came with the release of 2012’s ‘Attack on Memory’ - the first album recorded by the full band – due to its blistering intensity and more visceral nature. Despite the success of this release, Dylan didn’t feel under any pressure approaching its follow-up. “I mean it is nice when people like what you do,” he says coolly. “But I don’t really care necessarily. I just like to make music, so I was trying to make things that I like. As long as I like the record I’m pretty okay with it.”
“In the middle of touring it can you drag you down a little bit.”
Cloud Nothings’ fourth album ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is their first to be conceived on the road during their relentless touring schedule. “The songs were sort of started on the road, but then we had a little break where I went home,” he begins to explain. “Within those couple of weeks before recording we fleshed everything out, so everything was written in different places, but the actual finalising and everything was done at home.”
A gruelling tour of that scale did take its toll though and is an experience he isn’t keen to repeat, although Dylan does admit to enjoying touring in moderation. “That was insane. We are not going to do that again. I like touring to an extent, but I also like having a place I can say that I live,” he recalls. “I guess I realise I enjoy it more when I’m not doing it. In the middle of touring it can you drag you down a little bit, but when I’m not touring I get bored really fast of being in the same place for too long.”
As well as life on the road affecting the way their new album was sculptured, it is also a subject that has seeped its way into many of the songs, including the album title, ‘Here and Nowhere Else’. “When we were touring so much I didn’t really have anywhere that I had as a home, so it was being able to be at home wherever you are essentially, like finding the little things in each place that can make you happy.” What keeps him happy when out on the road? “I love eating,” he laughs, before pausing. “I go to record stores, play a show and then go to bed. I could tell you a good record store everywhere in the world. I stick to the things I like.”
Lead single and album closer ‘I’m Not Part of Me’ successfully shows off their most triumphant sounding noise rock to date. Whereas their last album simmered in places before boiling over into abrasive bursts of noise, on this album it consistently rips along with storming choruses following one another. Dylan, who is extremely laid-back and calm, is the complete opposite to some of the darker themes that his music deals with. However on this album he has managed lace those angry moments, with strands of optimism and positivity.
“It’s not as dark for sure, but it is the same themes that I’ve been dealing with forever because I don’t have much else to write about really and I can’t tell stories, so it is very inner-turmoil. It probably deals with it in a better and more mature way than the last record did, it isn’t just ‘everything is terrible’,” Dylan muses. “It’s more of a ‘there is some hope’ outlook, because there is, you know.” Not many twenty-two year olds have mastered their art like Cloud Nothings have, Dylan has every right to be hopeful.
Excerpts of this interview are taken from a piece in April 2014. Following everything on The DIY List 2014 here.