As a follow up to John’s original post [The Cloud Room Needs Your Help] about the fire in lead singer J’s apartment, I decided to dig a little deeper and get in touch with J myself. The following is cross posted from my blog, [Miss604.com: Interview with J from The Cloud Room] and talked about on Episode #121.
Miss 604: I know The Cloud Room’s been crazy-busy over the last year: releasing your album in 2005, tours in Australia, Canada, US, festivals (SxSW), TV (talk shows, MTV, MuchMusic, etc.) … When did you get back home and have some downtime?
J: Back in March we had recorded two new songs (“Lord, I’m Tryin'” and “Eleanor F.”) and figured we just keep recording our 2nd album patchwork-style. We thought we were in for a long respite in June after our 6 months of touring ended in Australia. We settled back into our practice space to write the next album when we got asked by Muse of all people to tour. We couldn’t pass up 5,000-person crowds and plush dressing rooms overflowing with Doritos. The downside was we ended up SPENDING $6K on our own tour support (because our 1-album contract with Gigantic Records had ended). So we finally got back home with no money to record!
Miss 604: Did the writing process begin then or do you do any on the road?
J: I’m always working out new songs in my head as I travel from point A to point C, but we don’t work new stuff out as a band on tour much. We were all really excited about this new song, “Tomorrow Found Out”, so we rented a practice space while in Toronto in hopes of getting it ready to play in NYC. Didn’t quite happen in time.
Miss 604: I read about the unfortunate news last week (the fire in your apartment), aside from losing belongings and gear, how much content had you already created for the new album has been lost?
J: We had gone to Excello Studio in Brooklyn to record 4 songs-worth of drums and bass with the exceptional producer Brandon Mason. We then took the party back to our practice space to track the rest of the instruments. We had the place to ourselves because The Hold Steady were out on tour. Unfortunately, some of Brooklyn’s most motivated drummers were practicing all day long in every adjacent room, so we packed it up and moved to my apartment…
Miss 604: How much of a setback is it? (personally, and professionally)
J: Most everything but vocals had been recorded on the four new songs. I would consider it officially devastating since we had spent all our money on this project, hoping to lure Merge or Matador or Beggars or XL or Downtown Recs. or who-knows-who-else to accept us into their family. But, there’s still a chance that technologically-minded folks will be able to extract the actual music files from the crispy external hard drive! Everything else was just stuff that I could live without.
Miss 604: Is there a time line for getting the new album out?
J: We were pondering putting out an EP called Please Don’t Almost Kill Me (on account of we kind of accidentally used a lot of Hold Steady’s fancy equipment), whether with a label or on our own we weren’t sure; and then hopefully have the second album (tentatively entitled Paranoid Style) out Fall 2007.
Miss 604: On your next tour, could we anticipate a show in Vancouver, BC? …. please? 🙂
J: Ah, Vancouver! Back as a Freshman in college, a group of us drove up to Vancouver from Santa Cruz, CA for New Years so our 19 yr-old livers could partake in the holidays. We have rolls of film of us laughing at how odd it was to be able to smoke and drink in bars. I’ll definitely be coming back!
Miss 604: If any fans/generous, kind people would like to help out in any way what can they do?
J: I’ve been overwhelmed by the response…from Le Tigre donating clothes, to Gibson donating a guitar, to someone named Blair donating $100, to strangers offering shelter. It’s unexpected and heartwarming and makes the loss pale in comparison. My friend Jen set up a paypal account for donations but I can’t seem to find it! I’ll look some more.