Interview Cloud Nothings: ‘I Just Want To Keep It Feeling Fresh’

It can be a challenge staying sane during long tour. For Cloud Nothings’ Dylan Baldi, it’s taken some getting used to.

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.”

Cloud Nothings’ fourth album ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is not only their most anticipated to date, but also 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.”

The band debuted their album during a show at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right, where they played it in its entirety. “I had a really good time. I don’t know what people thought,” he recalls. “I hope people liked it. A lot of standing and looking at us, which might be a good thing or might be a bad thing, but I thought it was fine.” Cloud Nothings’ live show has become renowned for its undiluted intensity and searing brilliance. Anyone who was at last year’s Visions Festival, where the band delivered a furious set showcasing some of their new material, will attest to this. “I didn’t want to not play those songs in the months between we finished recording and touring once the record comes out,” Dylan smiles. “I just want to keep it feeling fresh.”

Although there aren’t such radical differences as with the release of ‘Attack on Memory’, there is a progression and refinement on this fourth album that is best shown by Dylan’s singing. The tense and harsh screams that characterised their last album are less prevalent. “The real reason why I tried to do it like that is because it was the one thing that I didn’t like about the last record,” he explains of this choice to use his voice differently. “I didn’t like listening to myself sing. I guess I just learnt to do it the way I like, so that I can make a record with every element that I enjoy.”

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.

Cloud Nothings’ new album ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is out now via Wichita Recordings.

Taken from the April 2014 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

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