Band of the month – Cloud Castle Lake

This month we are thrilled to present a band from windy and beautiful Ireland – Cloud Castle Lake. Brendan William Jenkinson, Rory O’Connor and Daniel McAuley have formed a band in boarding school a few years ago. They shared an interest in music and decided to try creating something together.

In the end of 2014 the band released their debut EP “Dandelion” on Happy Valley Records and and in March 2015 they have released a new single “Glacier”. Stunning high falsetto vocals accompanied by synths, percussion, and guitars form a real rhythmic chaos. An ambitious trio successfully mixes melodic folk with noisy and psychedelic sounds, at times going quite jazzy. Experimental music lovers, this is a treat for you.

Cloud Castle Lake kindly shared with us their way of melody crafting :)

What are you biggest musical influences?

One thing we’ve realised over the years of playing and writing together is that it’s probably more successful to not have biggest influences. Influences which are so omnipresent and overwhelming, like an obsession, which serve well as initial inspiration, but soon confine you in your endeavours. We try to make music that we love and that we feel is fully its own thing, which is hard to do and often requires looking further afield for inspiration. We started out by emulating our favourite bands: Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Portishead, Grizzly Bear, but somewhere along the way we realised it wasn’t getting us to where we wanted to be, and also our own individual listening had moved on from there. We were listening to Aphex Twin, Joanna Newsom, Talk Talk, Bjork, Autuchre, Boards of Canada, The Microphones. Listening to American Soul, Jazz, Folk, Country, and felt a connection with a lot of it. Listening to African music: Felt Kuti, Bembeya Jazz National, Francis Bebey, Mulatu Astatke. Twentieth Century Classical: Arvo Part, Gorecki, Penderecki, The Second Viennese School, Bernard Parmegiani and Luigi Nono. There are also people who have dedicated their lives to their instruments, like Glenn Gould, and we were discovering stuff through these musicians. Like Bach. Sometimes we are influenced by musicians like Bob Dylan or Scott Walker, whose careers are like film plots with bizarre turns and who have pretty much created whole genres of their own. The further our influences take us, the more fun it is to make music.

What is the most difficult in being in a band?

It can be stressful dealing with the admin and accounting side of things and figuring out the best ways of reinvesting money back into the group, etc without it taking over too much of our time. But things are looking a lot better nowadays. Exciting times for sure.

How are your songs being created?

Usually one of us will bring in an idea. It might be a chord progression, or a beat, or a melodic motif. Sometimes the strongest ideas are made up of two internal ideas which balance off each other. Ideas which are strongest will often have an initial personality or characteristic which endears the band to the idea. We take it from there, either by playing it out together in a room or by recording one of the ideas and building on it, in an abstract way. We use performance as a creative tool, often recording while ideas are still in their infancy; the mystery of the recording process bringing out unusual and striking characteristics. Mistakes can inform new ideas. Sometimes a song will stall and it’ll become very difficult to finish the song. When this happens it can be beneficial for one person to work on the idea alone for a while, adding arrangements or improving a melody, before bringing it back to the band. Creativity and editing usually work hand in hand. Performing a song live to an audience can inform you about the song’s strengths and weaknesses. But while all of this sounds very formulaic, usually one of the biggest and most exciting techniques is to completely change up the process. To throw out all prior knowledge and process, allowing only your muscles to carry this knowledge. Sometimes, making music sometimes feels like learning how to make music.

 What are your rehearsals like?

We like to tinker with our live set a lot, so rehearsals often involve figuring out new ways to play certain parts, coming up with new intros, playing with new arrangements and stuff like that. Keeps us on our toes.

What are other young Irish bands you are proud of?

We’re very big I Am The Cosmos guys. We love Katie Kim and The Gloaming too. We’re also very proud of Cian Nugent.

When and where can we see you live next?

We’re playing this Saturday at Body & Soul and at Indiependence in August.

Cloud Castle Lake on Soundcloud

Cloud Castle Lake on iTunes

Cloud Castle Lake on Facebook

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