How Cloud Control Entered The ‘Zone’ To Record Their Most Ambitious DIY Album To Date
We checked-in with Alister Wright from Cloud Control following the release of their art-pop masterpiece Zone to chat about DIY recording and how different zones leak into the final product. Cloud Control are hosting a series of vibrant launch shows across Australia later this month, find out more here.
Lyrically, ‘Mum’s Spaghetti’ sounds like an ode to the joys of traveling and seizing opportunities mixed with feelings of homesickness – was this the case for the band?
For that song I just kept thinking of the line Ulrich wrote about wrapping a tortilla and what that meant. What does that mean? Is it sexy? I should ask Ulrich. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in that song. Being your grandparents, being sexy, and yeah being on the road.
It was recorded all over the place – which writer’s retreat or airbnb or garage do you think infiltrates into the overall sound of a song or the record the most? Did any of these places surprise you creatively?
The biggest sound was probably the sleeping bags. That’s the sound of our drumkit – it’s a bunch of tent poles with sleeping bags draped over the top. That was one zone that we took to every place we recorded at.
There’s a real sense of nature in each song on the album (lyrically + instrumentally), which feels like it leads you into the outdoors and away from the studio or even the dance floor – is this something you wanted to achieve? If so, where did this notion spring from?
It’s different for every song. On ‘Panopticon’ for example, that shuffling and noise in the intro is me walking around loudly and messing with some papers, and Ulrich and I having a fake conversation up at the beach house. But that was to get that room ambience in there, it’s like taking an audio photograph of the room we were in. Like a little measurement of where the song is happening before the song really starts. So when you listen you’re being flashbacked into another zone. Does that make sense?
Instrumentally, it sounds very full-bodied, what new instruments did you experiment with and add and lose along the way?
We added a few roland things – an FA-06 (a super digital sounding keyboard) a JUNO 106 and a TR-8 drum machine. The idea was that if we played instruments instead of just a computer it would sound more like a band. And make the album stick together more. We had three guitars stolen out of our studio!
That’s fucked. It’s surprising to learn that the album was entirely self-produced, because it doesn’t sound DIY. It’s probably not so surprising that you underestimated how long it would take to produce – was it bitter sweet having so much freedom and less constraints on the band in terms of delivering vs. perfecting an album?
Cool! Yeah it was a pretty insane learning curve. The best part was being able to try lots of interesting things and not be on the clock, let the sound of the album happen through experimentation. It wasn’t always easy but I’m glad we did it.
The whole album feels genre-less but so very cohesive, was it important to not be pigeon-holed or just to create a healthy amount of light and shade?
I think maybe that came from always putting the songs first? Between us we really listen to a lot of different music… and we don’t stop until everyone is happy. Or everyone is sad, depending on the song haha.
At one point you moved into the headmaster’s house of your Blue Mountains high school – how did that conversation go down?
Heidi made that happen. As I understand she is in very good standing with Blue Mountains Grammar. They were really nice!
Is there a ‘zone’ that exists for the band?
You are the Zone. We are all in the Zone together.