We had literally run out of money, we were all about to kill each other, we needed to just get it finished." Cloud Control's Alister Wright sounds like a relieved man when he opens up about Zone, the third Cloud Control record which, for better or worse, he decided to produce. Over three years, Wright and his bandmates – siblings Heidi and Ulrich Lenffer – toiled away in several makeshift studios. There was the one-room shopfront in Redfern, Sydney, where they chucked a few killer parties. The headmaster's cottage in their old high school in the Blue Mountains (during school holidays, of course). And a garage in Haberfield, which they still rent out from a fan named Jake.
"That's how we were able to do it so long – just renting out cheap places and moving the studio around," Wright explains.
And yet for an album with such a delayed birth, Zone is devoid of the kind of clutter you'd expect from a band collecting sounds for three years. Wright says he wanted to strike the balance between electronic production techniques and a live band feel; similar to the kind of space they inhabited on "Dojo Rising", the curveball single from 2013's Dream Cave. He pulled it off using the same electronic instruments throughout the record – a drum sequencer and two synths, which they considered members of the band by the end.
"I wanted the best of both worlds: the chaotic [live] stuff mixed with some really interesting sounds," he says.
It's been a bumpy few years for Cloud Control, four high school friends from the Blue Mountains who became a festival mainstay off the back of their wonderfully energetic 2010 debut, Bliss Release. After founding bassist Jeremy Kelshaw left the band in 2015, they had to reinvent themselves as a trio. But with Wright's brother Doug, of Sydney outfit Fishing, currently filling in on bass, those self-described "dark moments" seem to be behind them.
"There's too much history for us to not keep going," says Wright. "I can still remember meeting Ulrich on the train going up to school. He was showing me Jamiroquai. The band goes back a long way."
From issue #791 (October, 2017), available September 7th.
Topics: Cloud Control