How on earth did Cloud Control end up in Birmingham?
Thatâ€™s not a question asked when Scene patches through to the Midlands city â€“ after all, the bandâ€™s move to England in April of this year was well documented â€“ but itâ€™s certainly the sentiment passed back down the line from bassist Jeremy Kelshaw as he walks us through the Blue Mountains quartetâ€™s recent history.
Itâ€™s the morning after and Kelshaw is sitting in his hotel room. Heâ€™s kindly stepped into the breach on behalf of slumbering stickman, Ulrich Lenffer, and it takes a while for the cobwebs from last nightâ€™s show to blow out of his croaking voice. â€œWe are based in London these days â€“ apparently,â€ Kelshaw half laughs, half coughs. â€œThereâ€™s a lot of cold beds of ours in London, letâ€™s put it that way.â€
Kelshaw is referring to Cloud Controlâ€™s relentless touring schedule. A stack of festival dates over the northern summer segued into a month long residency in London, and now a series of road trips around Europe and the UK, first on their own, and then in support of up-and-coming Brooklynites, The Drums. The touring was prescribed by the bandâ€™s UK label, Infectious Records, who promised Cloud Control that theyâ€™d soon be begging for a break from so many live shows.
â€œThat was true. We came to a point where we needed to hold off on the shows because it was getting too hectic â€¦ But itâ€™s going really well. Weâ€™ve always been a bit of a slowly-but-surely band â€“ thatâ€™s how it feels on the inside â€“ and itâ€™s the same kind of deal out here. It hasnâ€™t been this massive leap. Weâ€™ve done what weâ€™ve always done, which is hit the road and play as many venues as you can.â€
The move has thrown up some difficulties for Cloud Control, though. Since April, the bandâ€™s been in a laborious phase of resyncing their entire release and support cycle. It means their 2008 LP, â€˜Bliss Releaseâ€™, has only just hit the United States, and the band are beginning to itch at the fact theyâ€™re yet to get time to sit down and concentrate on a second longplayer. â€œWeâ€™re taking January and most of February off to go to a house in the UK and just make music,â€ Kelshaw says. â€œWe really want to light a furnace of new material and hopefully that will be the catalyst for it. Just great kernels of ideas is what weâ€™re going away to do, and that happens through a variety of processes.
â€œWe want a new album out as much for our own benefit. Weâ€™re musicians and weâ€™re a band because we like writing music and playing music. I think weâ€™ve neglected that aspect of it, under the circumstances. Hopefully next year will be really inspiring in that respect.â€
Not that Cloud Control plan on neglecting Australia. The band have already made three trips back to local shores this year, and Kelshawâ€™s confident they have the runs on the board to allow for a slow burn on their sophomore release. â€œIt gets to that point where we donâ€™t want to keep playing unless we have new stuff to give. I think thatâ€™s why over New Years weâ€™re only playing three gigs. We just want to keep it on the down low and people who want to see us can come to see us. With an album out thatâ€™s doing well, people do feel like your nameâ€™s everywhere. Weâ€™ve got a good name and we want to preserve it and not piss too many people off.â€
The next in Cloud Controlâ€™s quiet trips through Australian customs will come over Christmas and New Years, when the band play a clutch of dates along the east coast. First up will be Woodford Folk Festival, which after Splendour In The Grass will make it their second appearance at Woodfordia this year. But not for Kelshaw: he was on leave from the band in July and August while his wife had their first child, so heâ€™s particularly excited to face Woodfordâ€™s infamously merry throng. â€œIâ€™ve been dreaming of playing on that stage,â€ he laughs. â€œThe others have told me how special it is to play a big stage like that for the first time, so Iâ€™m really looking forward to that â€“ I think it will be really special. There might be one new tune in there â€“ weâ€™ve got a song that weâ€™re working out if itâ€™s ready or not, so itâ€™s hard to say at this stage â€“ but it will mostly be â€˜Bliss Releaseâ€™ stuff. Itâ€™s going to be great.â€
Cloud Control play Woodford Folk Festival, December 27 â€“ January 1. woodfordfolkfestival.com