Vampire Weekend called them “the best support we’ve ever had,” they won two AIR Awards in 2010 and 2011, trotted off with the nation’s sixth Australian Music Prize, then several weeks ago, they were listed as one of over 70 bands playing at Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay.

Now, as 2013 charges on, Blue Mountains quartet Cloud Control are set to unveil their second studio album, a release with a title still unknown to the public; a chosen tactic that lead singer Alister Wright and his band think is “really funny.”

Wright says of a recent video about the album recording that band members, “just kept saying [the] title”, which was then bleeped out during editing.

The blatant use of a cave as the backdrop for many of the video’s interviews has lead some to believe the title might be, well, Cave. “Maybe?”, Wright says coyly. “Ok, it’s not actually that, but it’s almost that.”

It was unanimously decided that Cloud Control would eke out their title like this, with more teases to come in the form of artwork and other components. “I think we’re doing a teaser thing, to get the name out there,” confirms Wright.

But why the mystery one might ask? In a world saturated with new releases, bands, icons and ideas, Wright says, “You don’t want to put it all out at once, you’ve got to starve people a little bit.” “We were thinking of somewhere to record that was different and inspiring and somehow related to the songs …  Every weekend we would drive around to different caves and try and find one that we could record in.”

But the elusiveness surrounding “the cave thing”, as the frontman calls it, should not suggest the group’s second album is some kind of spelunking concept album. Wright says the subterranean element, “only happened towards the end.”

“We were thinking of somewhere to record that was different and inspiring and somehow related to the songs …  Every weekend we would drive around to different caves and try and find one that we could record in,” he says of the rock-lined endeavor.

“We recorded vocals in there, and also did this thing where we took in some speakers and some microphones and would play a guitar part, that we’d recorded in the studio, and we’d put microphones at the other end of the cave and record the cave sound. So you’d get the cave reverb on a lot of things. It sounds a lot better than using your computer reverb on things. It’s just cool to make the process more relevant.”

Of course, it’s not such a simple undertaking to find a cave to record in. “Many of them have streams in them and are pretty wet,” says Wright. “We tried recording a few things in a few different caves and it sounded like there was a guy taking a shower in the corner. The one we recorded in still has drips in it, just not so many drips.”

In the same video, Wright can be found standing in front of a flashing, seizure-inducing red light, saying, “Writing an album, for me, is a very manic process.”

This statement seems to contradict the lucid melodies and entrancing harmonies the band create, at least on their highly successful debut, Bliss Release. Wright refutes this, saying, “I don’t feel like that’s contrary at all.”

He explains: “I’m not crazy or anything, but when you’re making something and you get so close to it, sometimes you just hate it, and sometimes you lose faith … I feel like those emotions are pretty important, because without it, you don’t come back and examine things. And you don’t be hard on yourself.”

Beyond uncertainty surrounding the title, Cloud Control are still finalizing other elements of the new album, which isn’t due for release until late July or August. Appropriately, it’ll be out around the Splendour season when they will be home for the first time in nearly two years.

“We don’t even have an order for the tracks yet,” admits Wright. “I think we’ve recorded 12 songs so far and having them just floating around, it doesn’t quite feel like an album yet. I can’t wait to get it finished.”

Cloud Control worked with Barny Barnicott on this album, whose credentials include recording and producing ME’s debut album, Even The Odd Ones Out, as well as having worked with The Temper Trap, Arctic Monkeys, and Kasabian. In short, he’s a good choice when it comes to mixing.

The decision to work with Barnicott wasn’t a longwinded or taxing one by any stretch of the imagination. According to Wright, “We just went and had a meeting in his studio and it seemed like he understood where we were coming from. He also had a really nice studio…” “I actually feel really lucky to be playing a show before the album comes out… I love it, I really love it.” – Alister Wright

The band will preview a considerable part of the new album at Vivid Festival in Sydney at the end of May – still several months out from the scheduled release in July or August.

“I actually feel really lucky to be playing a show before the album comes out,” Wright says of the Vivid preview. “It’s really cool. Man, I’m just so excited to come and play for people”.

Wright explains that it’s been a long time between drinks when it comes to playing for crowds, and thus, of the upcoming shows, he’s particularly excited and amped. “We haven’t done it for so long, it’s just going to be so much fun. I love it, I really love it.”

But there’s little intention to tour this new and mysterious album extensively, despite the two major Australian festival appearances.

“The plans are just coming together now,” explains Wright. “Not a full tour, just a couple of shows. And then we’ve got a week off, in which we’ll hang out with our families which will be good. And then we’re coming back here (the UK). We’ll probably do a similar thing, a few pre-album shows then the machine will start winding up – we’ll start dropping singles!”

To a final enquiry about the album’s title or any other details about the release, Wright says, “I really want to! I’ve been instructed by my manager not to tell you! And he’s here right now – wielding a baseball bat.”

Whatever the title of Cloud Control’s second album, anything the band release is going to be the source of considerable fascination; a result of the euphonious trail that the band have left for listeners since forming in 2007.

Cloud Control play Vivid LIVE 2013 on May 31st before playing Day 3 of Splendour In The Grass. Dates & details below.

Cloud Control At Vivid Live 2013

DATE: 31 May
TIME: 8.30pm
VENUE: Joan Sutherland Theatre

Vivid Sydney runs from 24 May to 10 June. See here for more details.

Splendour In The Grass 2013 Dates


Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July
North Byron Parklands, Byron Bay

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