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Be specific: Cloud Nothings on whether or not to stay lo-fi

cloud nothingsDylan Baldi, far left, is the 18-year-old leader of Cloud Nothings.

By David Malitz

Cloud Nothings was a band that just sort of appeared out of nowhere late last year. At first glance it seemed like the group may be just another one of the lo-fi indie rock masses, but no. There was something better about this band. The songs were twitchier, punchier, catchier. Turns out the guy who wrote, played and recorded all of them was an 18-year-old from Cleveland named Dylan Baldi. On a handful of 7"s, cassettes and debut LP "Turning On" he's already established himself as a pop force to be reckoned with. His full band live show was one of our SXSW favorites and he'll be back in town tonight opening for Wavves at Rock & Roll Hotel.

So the band really started when you quit playing saxophone in a college concert band?

Well there was this concert that was the same day as this show we got offered in New York, with Woods and Real Estate. So I was like, I don't want to play this school thing. At all. I would rather go to New York and have a good time. If you skipped a concert you failed the class so I just decided to deal with that and I stopped going to school. I think it was a good choice.

You wrote, played and recorded everything yourself on "Turning On." Did it sound the way you wanted it to sound, or was that just the best way to do it given the circumstances?

It sounds the best I could make anything sound with what I had at my house. I just recorded it on weekends home from college. In two weekends I went home and recorded those songs. I wrote them and hummed along with them while playing acoustic guitar in my dorm room. And then just recorded them at home really quick. So it was just a matter of getting them out there really fast. I was contacted by Bridgetown Records and they asked me if I wanted to put something out. So I was like, "Yeah, of course! I'll have something in two weeks!"

Are you going to go for a "better sounding" record next time?

I don't want to have my stuff stay that way. It's going to be way cleaner sounding. It will be better. There will be better songs. Everything will be better.

Are there specific things you want to do differently?

Yeah, actually. I have two guitars going in all the songs and I think there's really interesting stuff going on, but on "Turning On" it sounds really muddled and noisy sometimes. So that's definitely something I'm trying to do. So you can actually hear it instead of just, Oh that's really noisy but then there's this fun melody.

Do you feel like it's sometimes easy to get lumped in with a lot of other groups with a similar sound?

It's kind of why I want to get away from it all. I feel like there isn't that much separation between all the bands. Even though a lot of them sound they all get lumped together as if they're doing the same thing. Their records are all like 10 pop songs or whatever and you listen to it once and then you just forget about it. I don't want that to happen.

By David Malitz  |  June 25, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Be specific  | Tags: Cloud Nothings  
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