Interview with Alister from Cloud Control
I had heard the name ‘Cloud Control‘ floating around the internet for a while and I was delighted to see them when they opened for The Naked and Famous in Dublin a few weeks ago. I found their psychedelic harmonious pop songs to be a breath of fresh air. I had the opportunity to chat with front man Alister, to find out about the Australian Music Prize and moving to the UK.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget there are time differences, I call Alister just before lunchtime, all bright and breezy. So where is Alister?
I’m in the Blue Mountains at my parents house. We got back from the U.S. yesterday and it’s like.. I’m actually in bed (laughs) It’s 12.04 a.m.
I feel quite guilty, jet lag tiredness isn’t nice but Alister tells me he has a few interviews to do and is happy to do them. So we begin.
I heard you got your passport stolen, apart from that, how did you get on a SXSW?
“Ah man! It was rough, we made it in the end and we had a really cool time. We hung out with some friends of ours who were over there. Probably my favourite day was, we played at this Pizza shop outside of town. Yeah hung out all day, eating pizza, watching really cool bands. I can’t really imagine a better way to spend a day. Cool festival.”
Who was your favourite band that you saw over there ?
Ooohhh! I didn’t see that many bands but maybe, can I say two bands? Dinosaur Pile Up, have you heard of them?
Alister is delighted when he hears that they will also be playing in The Academy 2 a couple of weeks after Cloud Control.
Oh Wow! Cool! Awesome! They were really good, you should definitely go see them. They put on a really good show. They really nailed that kind of sound, grunge thing, Dave Grohl kind of thing. Yeah they were really good! Also The Jezebels, they’re amazing but I’ve seen them a load of times in Australia.
Your music is real psychedelic pop with layers of reverb. It’s almost a type of contemporary late sixties style , how did you do it?
(laughing) How did we do it? Hmmm! I dunno, I really like that kind of music, things from the sixties. I guess contemporary, well, we’re really influenced by that stuff obviously, like Jefferson Airplane and Aphrodite’s Child and different bands from that era. I think though we listen to a lot of new music and arrangement ideas creep in. Like arrangements from dubstep songs or.. anything can just make it into the music. That probably make it sound a little more contemporary.
During the time you were over here last you won the Australian Music Prize, which is like our Choice Music Prize here in Ireland except in Ireland you win 10,000. You guys won AUS $ 30,000, Did you think you’d be in with a chance of winning it?
Yeah, I thought we had a chance because I think our album’s good, I think we did a good job (laughs) But also, I knew that the other bands in the competition were really good too and I don’t know.. you know you can’t say whether or not we deserve it or whatever but I feel really honoured to have won, it’s really cool.
30 grand, is a hell of a lot of money, even in Australian dollars. It can help go towards your next record. It can be very helpful, to use it to get places. Which is more important the cash or the prestige?
Man that’s right. It’s hard to say which is more important. I know that we really, really, really, do need that money. I mean, for an Australian band to be coming over to play with you guys or in Europe or in America, it’s just very expensive. So the money really helps, I’d say.
You’re in Australia doing some gigs at the moment and one of the things you’re doing is a gig with Foo Fighters this weekend for the Brisbane Flood Relief Fund. The tickets sold out in minutes but how important, as an Australian band, is it important for you to take part in that?
Ah yeah, I feel so lucky, I mean. For starters, playing with Foo Fighters is amazing in itself but I feel so good to be able to do something that is in a very real way, going to help people in Brisbane get in with their lives. A lot of people had a really rough time. I was actually born in Brisbane.
The band are back in Australia for our Winter but are in the process of moving to the U.K. (Lucky guys can get two summers!) What spurred the move to the U.K.?
Well, I suppose it’s the standard thing that an Australian band will do. If you release an album in Australia and if it goes alright, then try to head oversees cos there’s that many people in Australia, it’s not a huge country. I guess there’s only so much you can do. You’ve just got to get outside, otherwise, start writing another album.
So does that mean all the band are going living in a house together and taking baby steps as a band again or how are you adjusting to that?
That’s our plan to live over there in houses but at the moment we’re all homeless. We’ve moved out of our homes in Australia but we’ve just on tour for the last six weeks or so and we’re still going to be on tour for the next three weeks, so we don’t have anywhere to live. I guess once we’ve finished all this touring, we’ll start looking and find somewhere to settle down for a bit.
You’ve played in Ireland twice before with The Temper Trap and The Naked and Famous, so the April 7th gig in The Academy 2 is going to be your first headliner. How much of a big deal is it for you or as a relatively new band here are you just happy to play to audiences?
Yeah, at this stage we’re happy to play to anyone. I don’t know how many people are going to show up.. Obviously we have a longer set so we can play around with the dynamics a little more. To be honest, I’m really really excited to be playing in Ireland. It should be cool.
Your album ‘Bliss Release’ will be out here in May. You’ve spent a while promoting it properly in Australia and now you’re coming here to promote it, but there’s a slight problem doing that when people can download illegally from the internet. Do you think people have done that too?
Ah yeah, they have, I actually looked it up on torrent websites the other and I saw that quite a few people had downloaded it. You know, I guess that’s just the way the world works these days. On our tour of Europe last time, a lot of people knew the words to our songs and I was just thinking ‘That’s really really good but it means that they downloaded it illegally’ (laughs) It’s funny.”
I guess it means to you have to be a touring band to make a living from music, you can’t just be a band that records music, you have to go do shows and try and sell as much merchandise as possible?
Yeah that’s right, You can’t make a living from selling CDs, unless you’re a really big band I guess or something but yeah, you just got to be on the road to try and make some money.
Talking about being on the road, our Summer is coming again, are you going to be playing any festivals here?
You’re wrecked you poor thing!
I’m so tired!….. I wish I could tell you but I’m not sure which ones. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be playing a lot of Festivals though.
Have you thought about album number two yet? I know you’re putting as much effort into promoting ‘Bliss Release’ but what’s next?
We have a little bit, started writing a few songs but it’s early stages at the moment. We’re pretty focused on Bliss Release still but we’ll be writing songs on the road. I guess that’s what we’ve got to do, start getting songs out and to be honest, we’re really looking forward to playing some new stuff too. We’ve been playing the same songs for a year and that means we’re really good at playing them now but we’re also ready to play some new stuff.
Goodnight Alister, sleep tight.
Bliss Release is out on May 20th
You can hear the audio from this interview on Culture Cafe on DCUfm between 2000-2100 GMT on Thursday March 24th