Cloud Control's Dream Cave
Heidi Lenffer, Alister Wright, Ulrich Lenffer and Jeremy Kelshaw have a story that struggling artists dream of. What started as a girl on a mission to win a contest eventually turned into an amazing origin story for Cloud Control, who, since 2006, have supported acts such as Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Local Natives and The Drum. This past Saturday the band traveled from the Blue Mountains of Sydney to kick off their US tour at a sold-out show at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right. Bass player Jeremy Kelshaw shook off his jet lag to talk with Milk Made about their sophomore album, Dream Cave, which was partly recorded in an actual cave, and how the band got their foot in the door.
Bonus points if you read this interview while listening to Cloud Control’s US-inspired playlist.
Milk Made: How did the band start?
Jeremy Kelshaw: Heidi put the band together. She entered a contest at university and did have a band and didn’t have any songs. We just wrote a bunch of songs for about two weeks, we did bad, we were horrible and didn’t win. We kept playing and entered the next year and won and then we actually started playing real gigs. It was something we couldn’t give up after being thrown together. Just being thrown together on a whim I guess, and it stuck which is pretty cool.
MM: Where did the name Cloud Control come from?
JK: It’s just a bit of a word association, turning words around to renew the band name. It means everything and it means nothing at the same time. It’s one of those things that stuck because it kind of weirdly describes the sound that we are into in a not-very-specific way, you can’t really tie it down to a genre.
MM: What inspired Dream Cave?
JK: We were living in London at the time and we wanted to see what was new music, what was classical music. it was kind of a different space to be writing. The first time we were writing we were back at home in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. We spent a bit of time in France and got a little bit of it in Australia as well. It’s a much more varied album, a much more developed album. There’s more sounds on it. We recorded some of the vocals in a cave down the coast for the song “Dream Cave." It’s a new take on a space that was a unique for us and unique for the album. We did a lot of live vocals, did a lot of reamping, so taking stuff and recording it in a studio and just playing it out into a cave and recording it back. Keyboard parts, bass parts, vocal parts and playing that into the cave and recording them back. Mostly everything else we did in our producer’s studio in Kentish, which is just south of London.
MM: What are you expecting from this tour?
JK: I don’t know, things are going pretty well. We hadn’t planned anything yet but we’ve been selling a few tickets so that’s exciting. We’re hitting all the places we’ve been to already, which is good so we can kind of build on the location we’ve been to. We’re going to a few new places, we’re going to Philadelphia, Chicago and Vancouver which we’ve never been to before, so that’s new for us. So what to expect? I think we’re a expecting really great tour, people seem like they’re going to be turning out which is good. Seems like we had a break in the super, super cold weather that’s good timing [laughs]. We’re look forward to it.
MM: Is there a difference in the way your music is received in the US than in Australia?
JK: I think so, I think we Australians would hear a lot more underground New York music the Americans would hear Australian underground music. I don’t know if that’s true but I think that’s the vibe I get. In terms of crowds, I think the crowds are really similar. It’s hard to compare because at home, we’re an Australian band, you’re playing to your home crowd. We played SXSW a few days ago, everything down here has been positive and people really enjoy it.
MM: Do you feel there’s more pressure to perform well in the US than in the AU or the UK?
JK: For me personally, I don’t think so. I only get nerves and feel the pressure when I’m not prepared. If I feel like we don’t know our stuff backwards, that’s the kind of time I get stressed out. But playing to 100 people or playing to 2,000 people, as long as we are prepared I feel really good that we are going to put on a good show.
MM: How did you combine each band member’s influence to create this album?
JK: [Laughs] I don’t know, it’s a hard thing to describe particular influences. We never sat down and said, let’s write music like this and like this. For a while there, we created a Spotify playlist and choose varied inspirations. It’s one of those things where at any moment someone could say, let’s take an idea out of a David Bowie song or let’s take an idea from a Led Zeppelin song. It’s kind of a fluid process.
MM: If you could perform in your dream cave, which cave would it be?
JK: There’s a cave in the Blue Mountains called the Jenolan caves which are really, really old. I haven’t been to it since I was kid. It’s one of those things your parent drag you out to, if you don’t go there again it becomes this mystical thing from your childhood. They’re probably much bigger than I remember them to be. We’ve been trying to have a show there, it just hasn’t worked out. That would be pretty cool.