Interview: Cloud Cult

by Mike Montano

If you are a fan of edgy, indie music then look no further. Cloud Cult has fastly been topping the college charts next to such names as the White Stripes and Coldplay. Their concert was low-key on Thursday, Sept. 13th at the Bottleneck, but the energy from the show was anything but. People of all ages were singing along to their music, dancing and just having a great time. I had the perfect seat in the house, with full view of the band and their fans going wild. At one point, I saw some college students rocking out in the front, a woman dancing with her hula-hoop in the back and a pair of older couples singing to the music at the table in front of me.

If you missed out, don’t worry because you can still pick up their latest album “The Meaning of 8.” As Craig Minowa, singer and songwriter of Cloud Cult said, “Our album has something for everyone. It’s more layered than the others and has a mixture of genres.” I sat down with Craig and a few other band members to get more insight on their shows and music:

What bands give you inspiration?
Dan Greenwood [drums] – “Land of Talk”, a band from Montreal

Scott West [painter/trumpet]– Wilco and Polyphonic Spree definitely.

Craig – “Neil Young”, along w/ all the great bands we’ve toured with and I also really enjoy music from the 30’s and 40’s – you know, the music with the big orchestra bands. They’re sound was so big.

How do you go about writing your songs?
Craig – I’m most inspired by nature. While I do most of my writing at home, some time is spent just under the stars. I know it sounds corny, but I get a lot of my best ideas outside. When I do start to write out songs, I tend to begin writing a few months before the latest album is released, just for the fact that it takes so long for an album to get out there. When I decided to name this album “The Meaning of 8” I really drew the name from all the occurrences of 8 throughout the album, throughout life and how powerful it was.

Do you prefer larger or smaller venues to perform in?
Craig – Definitely smaller venues because they are more intimate. We always get lucky with our crowds. We have some hardcore fans and I’d say it feels more like family out there.

Dan – I agree, smaller venues allow you to bounce energy off of each other and we really feed on that when we perform. If we know our fans really like what we’re playing, we just rock out that much harder. The feeling is just spontaneous and it’s great. I feel separated from the fans if we’re playing in a huge arena.

Scott – I’d have to disagree and choose the bigger venues because I see it as a chain reaction. We play for our fans, they get into it and to see all of them out there, is rewarding and encourages me on stage. I just find it really inspiring.

Scott is one of two painters on stage and plays trumpet as well. When he’s not playing the trumpet, he’s painting on a canvas onstage. I’ve never seen this done before in a concert, so I asked what he’s thinking when he’s painting and does the energy he gets from fans feed into his artwork.
Scott – Well I starts off with a blank canvas at the beginning of the show. When I feel something in the music, that’s when I start to paint. You know, there are a lot of parallels between music and painting – within the brush strokes and the rhythm. The tone of a song, has a color that goes with it too. It really brings out the psyche. The words help bring out what I’m painting as well. When I’m done painting, we auction my painting, along w/ Connie‘s painting (Craig’s wife). It’s great having people that we’ve met come to our shows and they like our music and artwork and later let us know about what they’ve done w/ our artwork and made it their own.

If you could tell your fans anything, what would it be?
Craig – Live the best life you can, that’s all you can take with you in the end.

Scott – Do what you love. As a painter, I get to meet a lot of incredible people. If you love something, and you’re able to do it for a living, it makes all the difference.

Dan – Life just goes by so fast – enjoy what you have when you have it. And of course, Thank you for coming to our shows!

Cloud Cult is currently on tour, having finished a recent show w/ Flaming Lips in Denver, CO. Be sure to stay posted for more Cloud Cult tour and news info! Until then, keep rockin’ out Lawrence!

Cloud Cult-Take Your Medicine mp3

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