‘Lost perspectives and rediscovered gems’: An interview with Cloud Control’s Heidi Lenffer

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Just weeks before the release of their second album Dream Cave, The Edge chats with Australian Cloud Control’s very own Heidi Lenffer about student bands, the battle to write music, their upcoming tour and Vampire Weekend eating lobster.

You formed in 2005 – is there a story behind that? And what do you feel has really changed since then?

We formed the band as a form of active escapism from my honours thesis I was writing at the time. We really formed on a whim and we had no idea what we’d started, we could never have foretold this story, we thought it would be over in five weeks and now it’s seven years later.  Our friendship is better than ever, we had a rocky period a couple of years ago when our touring cycle had ended and we felt under-pressure to write some new stuff and it wasn’t coming easily. I mean you take a big leap of faith when you move to another country for a job, let alone relocating four different families, and you’ve got to acknowledge the pressure on you to make that decision worthwhile.

What was your reaction to the world-wide response to Bliss-release? And hopes for Dream Cave?

Well, we didn’t really have expectations as it was our first release, and we didn’t know what kind of level of success our band would be capable of.  But I think we did really well in Australia, it was a real honour to receive that Australian music prize, and the money we got from that allowed us to pay a lot of rent over here. Over here it was slower cause we had to delay the release, we released it here officially a year after it had been out in Australia, and then again another six months later in America. We’re hoping that now we’ve built a little bit of a reputation, that a few more people know our name and will be more receptive to our music. I think the album is good, we were nervous that we wouldn’t write something as good, cause you never know if the song writing is just going to dry out. So to write another album that I think is even better than the first one, and that suits my tastes more, is really exciting.

What specifically do you mean by the music suiting your tastes more?

Well, when writing as four piece you have to make comprimises, so that doesn’t mean it will come out sounding exactly how you want it to sound, it’s more of a middle ground. It’s a risky way to work because it means you have to let go of what your own ideas and listen to people more. The others really liked it, it had a lot of folky elements, which is something I don’t really listen to for fun, but I prefer a more upbeat style.

Do you think with this new album it became easier to balance those conflicting softer and more upbeat elements in your music?

We’re definitely getting better at it, but I don’t think it’s ever going to be a very easy thing to balance four creative wills together at one time. It often turns into a fight, but you know a very civilised fight (laughs). It becomes a creative mash-up of ideas, lost perspectives and rediscovered gems. But I couldn’t imagine working any other way, I think you lose something if you’re a solo artist, you have no-one to battle, no-one to bat the edges of your ideas. It’s a very self-indulgent process.

Do you have any specific tactics for promoting Dream Cave?

Obviously we have an extensive touring world domination plan in play to come to fruition in September this year. I think we have a ten day UK run, and then to five or six dates throughout Europe. Also Radio 6 have been really supportive of us, they’ve already announced one of our singles and hopefully they will follow on with the others.  People just need to come to our shows, because they will have a really good time. So that’s our grand plan.

After supporting bands like Foo Fighters and Vampire Weekend, are you excited to have your own major tour this year?

Well Jeremy met Dave Grohl, he was in the fire escape actually, and that was the closest we got to them.  Vampire Weekend were really great, they had lobster on their table though which they often didn’t eat and I felt that was a very indulgent waste, you order a lobster and don’t eat it. But we all love touring, we have this system where we don’t do any work but to get on stage and play. We’re supporting the Local Natives on an extensive tour all through Europe, and they’re travelling in a sleeper van so they just fall asleep on it and drive to the next country over night, whereas we don’t have the privilege of sleeper van hire so our driving schedule is a lot more hectic.

Finally, any hopes for the future?

I hope we learn to write more frequently on tour because we toured for two and a half years after our first album and we realised we hadn’t written any more music yet. I’m hoping that writing can be an on-going process for us. I’d love to play the Royal Albert Hall, that would be amazing!

 

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Third-year English undergraduate, dabbles in records and video-games. Can be found trying to raise money for new games and consoles, worshiping David Bowie and reading young-adult fiction unashamedly.

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