Cloud Control’s new album was recorded inside a cave, and not the metaphorical kind.
Joy Division did it on the roof, Radiohead did it in a medieval mansion, and now Cloud Control can add their name to the list of artists who’ve recorded in strange places. Their sophomore release, Dream Cave, was partly recorded on a subterranean adventure that, according to singer Alister Wright, was influenced by a track on the album.
“There’s a song on the album called ‘Dream Cave’, so I guess the inspiration to record in a cave came from that song and the desire to record somewhere different that sounded naturally really nice as well. We didn’t record the whole album in the cave, just a few bits on a day trip. We spent a lot of time going around to different caves finding one to record in. You think of caves being really quiet, but there was lots of water dripping and stuff like that … [the sound] is a little bit like singing in the shower but the reverb is longer. It sounds pretty magical.”
When he’s not exploring rocky hollows in the Earth, Wright still has speleology on the brain, as title track ‘Dream Cave’ was inspired by a cave…of sorts.
“I was listening to a lot of Roy Orbison and I had this thought of him being trapped in a cave because I was in this really shitty rehearsal studio that smelled like mould and I was thinking, ‘what it would be like if he was trapped in a cave for 20 years like Gollum and ended up going crazy?’ And then I thought, ‘what kind of song would he write?’ and I tried to write that.”
The album’s release on August 9 will precede the band’s recently announced Australian tour, as well as a full UK and European tour alongside Local Natives in September. While audiences were teased with an album preview show back in June, the album’s debut single, ‘Dojo Rising’, has since been unleashed and shows a progression to a more experimental sound for the band.
“We thought it was a good song to show what we’ve been up to because in some ways it’s pretty similar to our old stuff, but it’s pretty different as well. We didn’t want to completely alienate anyone so we thought it was a good mix of our old and new vibes.”
While the move to a more electronic sound base may be something new for the band, for Wright it’s a return to high school nostalgia. “I started out writing electronic music when I was in high school; I was a really big fan of anything on Warp Records and all that old electronica kind of stuff. For me, experimenting with that was almost like going back to what I used to be really interested in but it felt really natural and cool to combine that with the kind of work we did on our last album.”
The recording process was a collaborative one, according to Wright, with the band taking on more freedom to experiment with their second release. “We all had much more of a hand in writing this time around. There are a few Heidi [Lenffer] songs on the album, some of the best songs on there. Jeremy [Kelshaw] was getting in on writing lyrics and we wrote a lot together … there were a lot of different influences because we all have really different tastes in music. I was thinking about how some of my favourite bands will do albums where the songs are really different to each other and bounce through different styles. The Beastie Boys would have hip hop mixed with rock, Yo La Tengo would have a punk song and then a Motown song, The Flaming Lips use a lot of electronic drum kits but they’re still a live band … I think we’re different to all of those bands but we took the approach of mixing a lot of different things together and being more free with our palette than last time.”
The band has shown a penchant for unique locations with the single’s less-than-conventional film clip, which was filmed in Bolivia. “It’s about this clown at a kid’s birthday party and he ruins the party for everyone, and gets hunted down and killed by this little girl … Bolivia [has] some really amazing imagery and scenery; it might be my favourite video that we’ve done.”
All cave-exploring and commissioning of exotic video clips taken into account, it’s unsurprising the band may have lofty dreams of intergalactic travel after they’re done exploring every corner of this planet.
“There was an astronaut who played a David Bowie song in space and [it made us think] we should play a show on a space station or something … we have a song called ‘Moon Rabbit’ and we always thought it would be really cool to play it on the Moon and be the first band to play on the Moon, but there probably wouldn’t be anyone up there. We could beam it back down to Earth and we could have rabbits in little rabbit space suits. It could happen.”
BY JAMIE ARBUCKLE