It’s unusual that Cloud Nothings are coming back to Bristol for the second time under this year’s Life Without Sound, but we’re certainly not complaining. The last show aboard Thekla was nothing short of a beautiful mess as they delivered their angsty, emotional pop anthems. The follow-up date this month offers a rare chance to see how the record has evolved since being taken on the road.
When we put all this sentiment to frontman Dylan Baldi, however, he has a more practical way of looking at things: “It’s going to be great. I know where the green room is and my phone will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi,” he laughs. He does reveal though that the record has come into its own since their last appearance in the city. “It just sounds stronger and we’ve gotten a bit tighter. All of the songs sound better and they’re a little dirtier than they are on the record.”
“That stuff was all written during a very confusing, lonely and sad time in my life.”
The album already punched us one in the heart when it dropped. Despite the noisy façade it was evident there was something serious behind the tracks. Dylan agrees with this: “That stuff was all written during a very confusing, lonely and sad time in my life. I think a lot of that comes out lyrically for sure”. Although he makes it clear that this wasn’t necessarily intentional. “I don’t sit down and think I’m going to write a song about a specific thing. Although eventually I realise what all of the songs are about. Around now actually, once a year has passed, I’ve toured it and sang them a thousand times I know what they’re about”.
Perhaps one of the most lovable assets of the record is that it’s very melodic and innocent at the same time as being raucous. This was because the songs came together in a very simple fashion. “I was living in Massachusetts with my girlfriend and I didn’t know anybody where we lived. So I just bought a shitty little acoustic guitar and wrote songs on that.” That clearly played a big part in the finished product. He continues, “I was like layering things on top of each other in a very electronic kind of way. I had Ableton and I was trying to record stupid little rock songs on that. I don’t know why I was doing it that way because I hadn’t done it before”.
“It’s going to be a burial at sea.”
Now though it seems like Dylan and the band are gearing up for a quick turnaround on any material beyond the tour. “I would love to do a record next year, that would be the goal. It seems natural to get something out quickly. I don’t know what it will be like but once we finish touring I’ll devote some time to that.” There’s also a potential shift in sound on the horizon as well. “I think I want to do something different. I write little pop songs easily but I almost feel like there are diminishing returns personally when I keep doing that. It feels like a mode I can switch into automatically and be like, here’s another one of these. I guess it would be fun to do something on a larger scale. Maybe like a longer piece rather than a poppy collection of tunes but who knows.”
Before we part, our thoughts turn back to the monster of a date ahead. Dylan says, “You’ve had the beginning and now you’re getting the end — and then we’ll throw it off the boat. It’s going to be a burial at sea for Life Without Sound in Bristol. Come to the gig, it’s going to be insane.”
Cloud Nothings play the good ship Thekla on 11th December, with Life Without Sound out now on Carpark Records.