By Danielle Chelosky
Dylan Baldi has loads of floor to cowl. The chief of prolific Ohio indie rock band Cloud Nothings might be speaking about July 2020’s quarantine album The Black Hole Understands; December’s follow-up Life Is Only One Event; certainly one of their 27 live albums all unleashed final 12 months; their seven Bandcamp unique EPs launched from August 2020 till now; or this month’s new LP, The Shadow I Remember, which drops on February 26.
Or he might be discussing his noseless canine, Lavender, who he adopted together with his girlfriend, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, round Christmastime. “She’s a one-of-a-kind dog,” Baldi tells MTV News. “People will just stop and be like, ‘Look at this dog,’ and want to be with this dog in a way like no other dog I’ve seen,” he says. “It’s like having a rare Pokemon.”
During Baldi’s lockdown, Lavender has typically graced the official Cloud Nothings Twitter account with stealth cameos. And with out touring, that social-media presence is without doubt one of the few energetic items of the band: “Right now [Cloud Nothings] just feels like it’s a Twitter account that I post stupid stuff to every once in a while,” he jokes. Over the previous decade, the undertaking has advanced right into a full band after starting as Baldi’s outlet for songwriting in 2009. These days, when they’re extra than simply an web persona, Cloud Nothings consists of Baldi on vocals and guitar, TJ Duke on bass and backing vocals, Jayson Gerycz on drums, and Chris Brown on guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals.
“It doesn’t feel like a functioning band at the moment. But throughout [quarantine], we’ve still been able to get stuff done. It just feels like an important, vital part of it — the live show is, I think, how a lot of people come to know us and like us — is missing, and that’s sad.”
Just by listening to the music, you may inform Cloud Nothings are supposed to be heard stay. The songs have solely gotten extra difficult and full of transferring elements as their profession has progressed, from Attack on Memory’s iconic 10-minute noise crunch “Wasted Days” to the breezy, early The Shadow I Remember single “The Spirit Of.” There is all the time an intentional fruits at work beneath the loud floor. Patience is important, nevertheless it’s rewarded. This is all revealed throughout exhibits when the members path off into explosive jam periods and followers fling their our bodies round in violent ecstasy.
And whereas it’s unusual for followers to not have the ability to attend exhibits, it’s much more disorienting for musicians to lose the liberty to tour and journey. “My brain and body had gotten pretty used to being somewhere different relatively constantly,” he says. “It’s a very normal thing for me to do, so it’s weird for me to strip that away entirely.” One of the band’s first quarantine concepts was to drop a ton of stay data — practically 30 — of performances all around the globe, from New York to Brussels to Paris. Not many bands can do that whereas sustaining the integrity of every launch; Cloud Nothings, who use exhibits as a chance to experiment each evening, can. Without touring, although, they’ve needed to make alternate preparations for making a dwelling.
“Even doing as much as we did, our guitarists paints houses,” Baldi explains. He and Duke have been briefly working as tech guys for courtroom depositions over Zoom. They’ve additionally established themselves by way of Bandcamp’s subscription service. For $5 a month, a Cloud Nothings subscriber will get two unique albums a 12 months and an EP each month, in addition to 20 p.c off merch. “Just by creating all of this stuff, it keeps a dialogue going, at least between us and fans of the band,” he says. “The records, I kind of beat myself up about really trying to make good. This stuff feels low-stakes, but it’s for the true heads.”
Relatedly, in December, certainly one of Baldi’s tweets gained traction and subsequently induced controversy: “your spotify wrapped is basically just a list of artists you owe money to lol.” While Baldi dismisses most of his updates as “shitposts,” he admits there needs to be a dialog concerning the subject of streaming providers. “If you use Spotify, you could use a different service, or you could do something else. You could! Why don’t you, actually?” he says. “But at the same time, obviously Spotify is an evil company that is to blame for these things. The way they pay artists is cruel and unusual.” The discourse over this tweet centered on precisely this pressure. How honest is it guilty shoppers when the foundation of the issue is a company? Do shoppers must be held accountable for contributing to what they know is dangerous?
Even within the face of this, Baldi continues to be impressed and optimistic. “You gotta just find the people and things that are doing interesting stuff,” he says, “even within the confines of an industry that doesn’t always bring that to the forefront.” His angle is you can get burned out doing something, that it’s inevitable — and you can both stop or work by way of it. Has he thought of quitting? “Yeah, but then, like, what would I do, you know?” he quips.
And so he’s selling The Shadow I Remember, which is outdated to him at this level. The 11 songs have been recorded in Chicago with legendary noise maestro and trusted collaborator Steve Albini, who beforehand, and notoriously, performed Scrabble when engaged on Attack on Memory. (He performed Scrabble once more this time, however Baldi understands: “When I take a break, I look at my phone, scroll through pictures of dogs on Instagram. It’s the same thing,” he says.). It perpetuates the basic Cloud Nothings philosophy, which Baldi sums up within the press launch as his purpose of creating “a three-minute song to be an epic.” “They can have all these different parts and moving things going on so that nothing ever gets dull but it makes sense in a way so it doesn’t just sound like chaos,” he explains. “There could be a different melody, every instrument’s playing something different, but it all sounds like one cohesive thing.”
In each their music and in an unprecedented time of worldwide uncertainty, Cloud Nothings strategy the sting of chaos whereas nonetheless managing to maintain it clear and arranged. It’s what Baldi has been refining because the starting. It culminates of their newest 33-minute album and within the easy act of making and and doing no matter you may — as a result of there’s nothing else to do.