Band of Clouds :: Appear to Float
A few words about the album ::
- We Are Noise
Album of the Week
- Dan Hegarty Show 2FM
Reminisent of 90's Slowcore with added Umphh
- Aoife Barry / The Irish Times
About the album::
Winter was coming when the record button was pressed to begin this record. There was no band as such, no songs to speak of, and the island was staring into the middle of what felt like the longest winter in history. So we hibernated with friends new and old, an old electric heater, and some new sounds and beats we wanted to experiment with. Along the way we wrote some words to help understand the different parts of the strange animal that emerged at the end of it all.
Outside Broadcast was mainly an album made up of bits songs of mine, some poems, book extracts, some soundscape ideas, and a lot of help from people I’d played with such as Katie Kim, Richard from House of Cosy Cushions, Deaf Joe and Burrows. This new album was going to be different. Even more collabrative. This is the short story of the album and the people who made it what it is.
Young Conor Campbell from Limerick arrived in to begin with. He hadn’t played on Outside Broadcast but after hearing the album he did a painting for one of the songs and somehow ended up on stage playing tambourine with the group gathered for the Electric Picnic show. It was only after a gig at the Clonakilty Guitar Festival did we discover Conor could actually play a handful of instruments really well. Better than any of us in fact and he had some beautiful ideas he wanted to share. Soon after that Shauna Freeman arrived into the Granny It’s Ok Studio. She had come to sing a vocal on one of someone else songs, liked what we were up to and decided to hang around. But she didn’t ‘just’ hang around. She sang hundreds of different vocals, played guitar, bass, keys, and cello. Very quickly the sound of the album began to shoot out into different directions. In the first three weeks we had the bones of ten songs almost completed from scratch. The songs kept coming and as the body needed a spine we called some friends.
The city is blessed with a ridiculous amount of ferociously talented drummers but when friends such as, Tony O’Keefe (Captain Beans) and Sarah E S Grimes (September Girls) drop by, its usually best just give them sticks and press record. Both had laid down drum tracks on Outside Broadcast, and we knew we didn’t do the same album again, so we began looking for new things to try. Some beats ended up being used to simply hold different sounds up until we were sure of the shape things to come so we just disassembled those later and packed them away again, while others were designed to be two completely different peas in a pod. On many of the songs there are two completely different drumming styles playing in each ear. And the strings we used to tie these drums together just happened to be attached to a bass.
Stephen Mahon (Tailor Made Project) was invited in to play on one track but he brought so much to all the songs that he ended up working his way up and down the fret board on the bones of the album. He was joined by Brain Hanrahan Rowe, Dean Walsh and Brian O Sullivan. Brian O’Sullivan had never played bass before but after a few pints one night he called in with John O’Keefe to see how the album was progressing. While John slept, Brian began recording some crazy bass lines. Just as we finished recording, John woke all of sudden from his sleep and almost jumped out of his seat thinking he was at a board meeting… Both Brian and Stephen play alongside each other… end of meeting. The next thing was to find some see-sawing guitars to weave into and glide over the bass and drums.
Originally Dean Walsh helped out on some of the rare Band of Clouds gigs but very soon he was dropping riffs on guitar and bass, as well some drums and ridiculously high harmonies. ‘True Story’ and ‘Little Cloud’ also grew out of an idea Dean had for a song of his own. Dean was joined by Ray Kehoe on guitar to try and complete the effect. Ray doesn’t have much spare time these days after recently getting married and having kids and stuff like that, but the few times he does get to come out and play he somehow manages to truly complete every song he bounces off. Maybe that’s because he’s always last in. Or maybe it’s because we get every song ready knowing that he will be in.
Waterford is so small sometimes it is more like a town or a village than a city but still John O’Halloran remains its elusive pimpernel. We did track him down once or twice and so he returns again with a darkly cinematic fanfare of trumpets and wandering flutes. Rob Roy O’Doherty dropped by for twenty minutes to collect a Harmonium and ended up trading with harmonicas. We just sat back and pressed record. Louise O’Flynn (Boa Morte) came and recorded elegant cello lines for an afternoon, which turned out to be so good; we later reconstructed to make another completely different piece. And Leon Phelan dropped by to talk about some songs of his own that he wished to record and ended up putting vocals on a song that only a working had a title as a starting point. Ruben Noyce and his giant hair did a vocal. Rory Mullane and his computer left his room in Cork for the first time in ten years to work on two songs, and his tan. And as we looked around us we noticed winter was done, and so was the album.
Almost three years ago now, I had almost stopped playing music after it turned out I needed a back operation. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to make music again the pain had driven me so far over the edge. My friend Noel Cleary (Le Cloosh) and many of my friends looked after me then. He would arrive with dinners and pick me up when I was down. He would also arrive into the studio and lifted many of the songs on this album, and the last, with his keys, drums and vocals. This time he also wrote some gorgeous lyrics as a centerpiece for Conor’s song about his dog, Henna’s Lullaby.
So that’s the story. The short version anyway. By some strange twist of faith all these people came and played on this, our album. The album wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for everyone played on it and all the people who helped.
The title of the album, by the way, was taken from a line in a book about a Russian dancer who would, ‘appear to float’, when he ‘got lost in music’. From what I can make out that’s kind of how it feels for us as well.
Hope you enjoy what we made.
released November 28, 2013
All songs written by Band of Clouds
Recorded at Granny its Ok to Experiment Studios
Produced by John A
Assisted by Lisa Bpm
Mastered by Analogheart
John Haggis // Guitar, Bass, Drums & Vocals
Conor Campbell // Piano, Guitar & Vocals
Shauna Lou Freeman // Keys, Cello & Vocals
Noel Cleary // Keys & Vocals
Dean O’Sullivan // Guitar & Vocals
Ray Kehoe // Guitars
Stephen Mahon // Bass
Brian O’Sullivan // Bass
Brian Hanrahan Rowe // Bass & vocals
John O’Halloran // Trumpet & Flute
Robert O’Doherty // Harmonica
Louise Flynn // Cello
Sarah Grimes // Drums
Tony O’Keefe // Drums & Vocals
Rory Mullane // Digital Keys
Leon Phelan // Vocals
Ruben Noyce // Vocals
Finn Solomon // Piano & Vocals
This album would not have been possible to make if it were not for the support of Conor & Anthony to Waterford Arts // Aoife Flynn at Asquared // Rob O'Connor for the lend of his desk, Avril Stanley & all the crew at Body & Soul. Special thanks to all our friends and family for their love & support.
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