Sat 11/17 @ 9PM
Cleveland’s indie rock act Cloud Nothings may not be a household name (yet), but frontman Dylan Baldi isn’t complaining. The band he founded nearly a decade ago has grown a solid audience that not only allows the quartet to tour stateside, but in recent years travel overseas, including extensive European runs. Last year it added China to its schedule.
Now the outfit — singer-guitarist Baldi, drummer Jayson Gerycz, guitarist Chris Brown and bassist TJ Duke — is back with its latest studio effort Last Building Burning and another hometown gig booked for November 17 at the Grog Shop.
CoolCleveland talked to Baldi about the group’s latest effort and his soon-to-be-eroding anonymity in China.
CoolCleveland: Congratulations on Last Building Burning. Upon the first listen, it’s decidedly quite different from Cloud Nothings’ 2017 release Life Without Sound, which had an alt-rock, power-pop sound.
Dylan Baldi: That’s right. The first track on this album is purposely abrasive. I wanted it to be like, “Here’s what you’re in for.’ I like when the first song on an album is a statement. For this album, I wanted to make something that was really just intense. That felt like one sort of long exhale where by the end of it you’re like, “Alright.” You kind of feel like you went through something.
CC: That visceral experience can be found all throughout Last Building Burning, but nowhere is it more evident than the nearly 11-minute long “Dissolution,” which has a distinct experimental feel.
DB: I like stuff that just kind of drones for a long time. I’m sure we could make a record that’s just like an hour of that or something.
CC: There’s also a confidence associated with “Dissolution” where, say, coming off a power pop album the band isn’t afraid to switch gears and venture into new areas while pushing its own boundaries.
DB: I’d get really bored if we just did the same thing over and over. I don’t see the point of that. That’s kind of how I feel about life also. I like things to always be changing and always trying new stuff and experimenting. It’s not like we’re making wide, super-drastic change. We’re not a jazz band now, but there’s enough of a difference between records where we’re trying something new. That’s important. It keeps things interesting.
CC: Speaking of change, how has Cleveland’s music scene evolved over the last decade?
DB: I think the big thing is that it feels a little more cohesive in a way — or at least certain parts of it. When I started back in 2009, everything was its own little camp. Now it feels a little more like one big group of people, which is nice. I prefer that.
CC: Being in a national touring and critically acclaimed act, are you recognized when you’re out and about in Northeast Ohio?
DB: We’re not the kind of band that’s popular enough where random people come up to you on the street. Although, one time our drummer got recognized at a Walmart by a little kid. I thought that was very funny, but that’s not normal at all.
CC: Now that Last Building Burning is out, do you have any goals for the project?
DB: My goal for every record is to just make a record that we like, that kind of exemplifies where we are in whatever point in time it is and whatever is going through our heads. The idea is to just put it out there and see what happens. Something crazy always happens that we’re not expecting. Like last year we went to China. This year we’re probably going back there for longer.
CC: Well, if you keep touring China, that anonymity could be eroding in Asia.
DB: That would honestly be the greatest thing that could ever happen. That would make me so happy. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but yeah, we’ll see.