The Indie-Rock Band, Cloud Cult, Discusses Their Fall Tour and Why They Chose To Develop, Earthology, a Green Friendly Label
Posted On 03 Nov 2014
Back in September, Cloud Cult, wrapped their Fall tour entitled “An Evening With…”. It was in celebration of their 10th full-length album and first ever fully acoustic and live release – Unplug via Earthology. The tour saw the group playing two sets a night, one stripped down acoustic and one fully plugged in.
This album is the follow up to the band’s 2013 full-length studio album Love which debuted in the Top 50 of the Billboard 200 and resulted in a majority of the band’s 2013 tour dates selling out.
Cloud Cult’s “Breakfast With My Shadow” Video:
Learn about Cloud Cult in the following interview with lead singer, Craig Minowa:
Can you guys remember the moment that you decided to start this band? Why do you think initially you all felt it was the right decision to make?
It was initially a solo studio project with no intention of making a live band. When the first albums began charting unusually well on national college radio charts, it seemed like a good idea to make a touring band.
How did you come up with the band name?
It refers to some early Native American prophecies that talk about a future where humans let technology grow faster than spirituality. It’s basically a call for balance.
As of right now, there are 8 members in the band. Why did you feel that these instruments were needed for the band’s sound? Are there any that the band would like to add in the future?
The albums are recorded without any thought into how the songs would actually be performed live. So I’ve layered a lot of orchestral instruments into the tracks over the years, and it finally felt like in order to really pull of the live performances, without leaning on too much backing tracks we needed band members who could play brass and strings.
Did the band feel that the 2009 feature film, No One Said It Would Be Easy portrayed the band accurately? What made you guys want to put that out?
The initial intention was just to make a documentary about the Feel Good Ghosts Tour of 2009, but the film makers John Burgess and Scott West took it on as an obsession and created a much more expansive piece. We are really thankful for what they created.
Let’s talk about forming Earthology and then Earthology Records. What let do that? Explain how it helped “green” the music industry?
The first Cloud Cult album Who Killed Puck? was finished in 2000, and at the time, there weren’t many options for manufacturing an environmentally friendly CD. So I created the record label and manufacturing processes out of necessity. It was a long road starting with being the only place in the world where you could recycled your used CD jewel cases, and ending with working with various companies to access 100% post-consumer recycled content for paperboard cases.
How do you think the band has changed and grown over the years? How has your sound changed for each album?
We’ve grown from a solo studio project to 8 members. And we’d like to think the sound has matured a bit with that growth.
Explain how and why visual artists are an important part of the band? What do they add to the live experience?
Visually watching a painting unfold while listening to a song unfold taps double senses. So the hope is that it adds another level of inspiration to the viewer.
Who are some of your musical influences? Who are some of the new artists on the radio that inspire you?
We have two young kids that we tour with: a two year old and a four year old, so a lot of the music we listen to ends up being albums written for little kids, which adds some nice levity to long drives between cities.
Just this past April, the band released a full length live acoustic album called Unplug. Why did the band decide to put out that kind of a record? How different are these songs on here then their original album versions?
Our electric show is very technologically dependent, so we’ve been rehearsing a lot in the woods to get away from that. Some of the ideas and renditions of songs that we were coming up with, while being unplugged in the middle of the trees, felt like they were something we wanted to share.
How important was it to continue working with Jeff D. Johnson who has been doing Cloud Cult’s live sound for the past seven years?
He’s a super close buddy, a spiritual leader, and a sound geek extraordinaire, so it’s a no brainer.
What was it like touring Europe this summer? Any particular experiences stand out?
The entire experience stands out. There’s a lot of deep, deep cultural roots over there, so the whole experience was humbling.
The second leg of your US tour is about to begin, entitled An Evening With… What made you guys want to play one acoustic set followed by an all electric set? Which is the most fun/rewarding to play?
We tried doing some stand-alone “Unplug” shows late last year, when we were finishing the album, but it always felt like we left the stage wanting to rock out. And if we play a show where we are strictly rocking out, we leave the stage wishing we had time to just unplug. So it’s a nice balance.
Where are you guys most excited to play at? Any favorite venues in the first leg?
We are lucky to have a very passionate following, although modest in numbers in comparison to major label bands. So it always feels like no matter what your impression of a venue was when you first walked into it at sound-check, you feel very different about it when you leave, because it’s not about the venue, it’s about the crowd, and there are lovely people everywhere.