Thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview! Can you introduce yourself? When and where was Eat Cloud born?
Thanks for having me! Psychedelic baby is pretty sweet, I read your interview with The Monks today!! My name is Andrew Tomasello and Eat Cloud is mostly done mostly by myself but friends have worked with me on things and hopefully more so in the future. I am originally from Massachusetts which is where things started but I have lived in every part of New England that I would ever want to at this point. I somehow am currently in Providence RI and like it here a good amount.
Tell us about the beginning?
The project started quite a long time ago under a different name with a very different sound when I was 17(2002). I couldn't find drummers that I thought were good enough and I was getting frustrated with being in bands so I bought a 4 track and a drum machine, and very shortly after I found a Casio SK-5 sampling keyboard and a chord organ at a yard sale and those were pretty prolific finds at the time. I guess you could say at that point, I was a psychedelic baby and was just messing around with instruments as much as possible. I use samplers and looping pedals now to emulate a lot of the tape tricks I had, but a lot of the sound I developed on manipulating tape on my 4 track are tricks I use now. I'm just able to do a lot of recording tricks I had in my teens in a live setting now.
Why the name Eat Cloud?
Eat Cloud was a phrase I came up with when I was about 19 or 20. It was more of a reference of society's consumption. People take in a lot of stuff that they probably shouldn't, I was taking a lot of stuff I shouldn't have at the time I came up with the name. It more has to do with clouding up your body with garbage. Be it drugs or McDonalds, soda or beer, people eat clouds all day all the time. At the time of coming up with the name I was very heavy into reading about Monsanto and other really bad corporations and the phase just sort of came to me. If you haven't read the book "The Ecology of Commerce" by Paul Hawken" you should, its still very relevant to this day.
I also like the idea of broken language, I come from the generation of people that were children without the internet in the early 90s, but were a teenagers during the internet boom by the mid to late 90s. I guess I'm from the last generation of children to have a early childhood without the internet. A few years after the computer/internet boom I started having observations about phrases that abbreviate full sentences and how culturally things like spell check were actually breaking down people's understanding of the language they speak and the ability to form a complete sentence, which is why I left both words singular, so it sounds somewhat strange and awkward to say.
What are some of your influences?
Originally this project started out of pure ignorance which I am growing to miss. I started playing music at a young age, and was in a lot of more traditional kind of rock bands in early high school. I
started becoming interested in experimenting with instruments I wasen't familar with in my later teens. I really loved the Silver Apples early on, which, when I was in the band MMOSS I had the honor of being able to play a show with. Over the years I worked at a record store, rock clubs, recording friends and playing lots of shows and became exposed to as much as possible. I feel my biggest influences as an artist are the instruments I choose to use. I like to think I'd have this sound even if I wasn't exposed to anything, but I would say some of my favorite artists of all time are John Fahey, Faust, Harmonia, Brian Eno, The Byrds, Sonny Sharrock, Black Dice, J Dilla, Raymond Scott, White Noise, Tim Hecker and lots of other things . I think more than anything, I really like bands that like to experiment with tonal clusters but can also still write a song and evoke a feeling. A lot of psych bands and fringe music tend to only be weird and focus on process or emulating things, but I like catchy doodles that are unique to the creator, I just don't like square catchy doodles.
Were you in other bands before forming Eat Cloud?
I played drums in MMOSS a few years ago(great rival kind of a psych band), and I played drums and lap steel guitar in Sore Eros for awhile but I quit last year to focus on this. I currently play keyboards and drums in Boston's improv psych hodge podge known as Mind Yeti and I've done a lot of other stuff as well in the past.
You have a mixture of songs out called Annunaki pirate radio. Can you present us these songs?
I made that record recording on the computer at home. I played guitars of all sorts, drums, mouth harp, dulcimer, lap steel guitar, thumb piano, glockenspiel, melodica, samplers and anything else I could find. I started recording using computers because I can't afford a ton of rack gear and I like compressors and the ability to have lots of tracks. In the end though, a majority of that record is from live recordings and improv jams I did over the past few years with maybe a few overdubs. All the synth sounds and stuff come from a Juno 106 and some casio's, whenever I would use VST's it sounded too clean and I felt like it was shitty. I like the idea of electronic music having the feel of a psych band, I feel like I'm kind of in purgatory between the approach of a psych band playing electronic music, but it sounds like some inbetween.
Would you also mind telling us about the songs. If you can share a few words about the songs on the album?
I would try to record at least one song a week for about 2 years, and collected a lot of stuff. Once I had a ton of songs and just had to put something together that I felt was a record, I realized that all my favorite material was from periods of my life that had strong peaks and lows. Some songs were recorded when it might have been the first day of spring, or on my birthday, other songs are from periods where my friend had recently passed away, or I was so broke I couldn't eat well. Even though none of the songs have words, they come from periods where I was feeling strongly about something. The song names for the most part have nothing to do with those events, they are more funny phrases that I like or describe sounds in the song to me.
Are you doing any touring/concerts? Are you satisfied with it? Share an interesting experience you had from concerts...
As far as upcoming shows, I'm playing at AS220 in Providence RI on June 16th and in Allston MA on June 25th at Obriens.
I play shows pretty frequently, I play guitar, lapsteel guitar, drums and a sampler in different configurations through looping pedals and other electronics. I play quadraphonic performances as often as I can get away with it because I like the idea of changing the physical space of live performances. In the future I plan on touring, I'm working on multimedia concepts so that when I play an instrument it affects video and light and building a PA system so I don't have to deal with clubs and soundguys. As far as music I'm really happy with my shows lately, but in terms of the multimedia concepts I have I'm pretty far along I just have to execute the ideas and get the resources to make them happen.
I think my favorite experiences from playing shows is when I can get most or all of the audience to completely shut down. At some shows I've gotten everyone in the room totally spaced out from what I
played, it felt like I put people in some sort of collective trance. Its probably a similar feeling to what a band would get if they made everyone dance, but the complete opposite. A good and interesting show to me is when I get peoples attention and make them space out and go to another place.
How about some future plans for the band?
I'll be putting out another record properly pretty soon. I'm saving up to make a 12" and been working on a lot of artwork while recording new material that I can pull off live. As well I'm working on songs so I can approach my friends to help me with playing live on occasion. Finishing Annunaki Pirate radio was a good way for me to figure out what I wanted for the sound of a record. So the material I've been working on since that record has more intentions to it than i had on the record I just put out online. I'd like to put out a record about every 6 months to a year for as long as my brain will produce this work. Annunaki Pirate radio was the first record I had released in many years, I had ditched 4 records prior to that record. I worked very slowly for a few years out of the public so I could figure things out my way without others input, now I'm pretty into "putting myself out there" as they would say. I'll be doing an East Coast tour in the fall and am working on going to Europe for some shows.
What is your opinion about psychedelic scene these days?
I think all music has the possibility to be psychedelic depending on its approach. I remember seeing Konono No1 a few years ago and everyone was in this collective psyched out dance that was very unique to that show. I think the artists culturally come from such a different place that it affected people in this country differently than music that comes from here. In terms of Psych rock, there's some great rival kind of bands but I'm more interested in the newer psych bands that will pave the way of how people think of music in the future. Right now, music and art has the ability to be the most
psychedelic its ever been from all of the technology and ideas that have developed. People can create ideas on a laptop at home that a very wealthy person wouldn't have been able to finance in years past. I think the most psychedelic bands and artists from right now are bands that push boundaries as hard as they can, people who use sound to control light, light to control sound, people who play instruments in new ways, write songs that are unique to them. Psychedelic to me is things that make me feel out of my element, people doing things that I'm not familar with that make me think. Psych music in the 60s was all about hearing new things and having a voice. Fuzz back then sounded new and insane to people, now that sound is very standard.
I think the psych scene in general is great though, there are many people out there going for new things, trying to play music in new ways and I know it will only grow more in time. Its like something is starting to happen that hasen't happened yet. The psych scene of the 60s was revolting against conventional ideas and promoting good ethics, that might be totally mutated currently but there is a strong universal feeling in the world right now that people are reacting to which is creating modern psychedelic music.
Thank you very much for your time and effort. Do you have anything else to say about the band or yourself, that I didn't ask?
Listen to my record and share yours with me! You can hear my jams at http://soundcloud.com/eat-cloud/sets/annunaki-pirate-radio and you can email me at email@example.com. Thanks for having me and keep it weird!
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
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