Interview: The Black Clouds

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It feels weird that the height of the grunge movement was 20 years ago. Seattle was the epicenter of popular culture, MTV mattered and think about 1994 at the movies – Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption, The Professional – an amazing year to say the least. Flash forward 20 years later and the movies are a bit weak this year, Brooklyn has usurped Seattle, MTV sucks and music…well that’s where it gets interesting. There are so many bands out there today that are embracing that raw and visceral edge of the grunge movement and reinterpreting them to make them sound modern and now.

The Black Clouds is one of those bands and the Asbury Park scene which they play in is better for having them. They are able to tear it up like the best from the West Coast oh-so-many years ago. We recently caught up with singer/guitarist Dan Matthews to talk about working at Sound City, touring the AP scene and more.

Photo Credit: Keeyahtay Lewis/Deadbolt Photos
Photo Credit: Keeyahtay Lewis/Deadbolt Photos

The Black Clouds Are: Dan Matthews – Guitar/Vocals, Neil Hayes – Guitar/Vocals, Gary Moses – Bass/Vocals, Cory King – Drums/Vocals

We Formed in: 2004

We’re Based out of: Monmouth County, NJ

Other Bands We’ve Performed In: The Sex Zombies, Sunshine Flipside, The Vanities

Any New Music Coming Soon?  We recorded a new album this August with Jack Endino at The Foo Fighters’ Studio 606 through the Sound City Console! We’re really excited. Mark Arm from Mudhoney sang one of the tunes and Jack played a bunch of guitar on it. We can’t wait to release it.

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Our Sound Is Likened to: Failure, Nirvana, The Toadies, The Stooges, The Pixies, Soundgarden

Famous/Awesome Band performed with before: The Toadies, Hole, Monster Magnet, The Supersuckers

I listened to your music on the website and it’s absolutely awesome. There’s a definite grunge influence in my opinion. If I’m correct, can you talk about what it is about grunge/alternative that you love?

Dan Matthews: What’s not to love?  We grew up in the middle of it. What we love the most about that era is the honesty.

You guys maintain a very DIY attitude — having self-funded your records and tours. Why are you guys so proud of having this D.I.Y. attitude?  

DM: Being DIY means that you REALLY care about what you’re doing. No one is DIY by choice. Most people give up after a few years if they still have to pay for shit themselves. We live and play in a beach town that consists of mostly cover bands, jam bands and folk (Which we have no problem with) but basically, the majority of people that live around us don’t like our type of music. With that in mind, we’re really proud that we’ve been around almost 11 years, recorded three records and toured US two times (soon to be three).

If someone is reading this and discovering you for the first time and wants to listen to a song of yours to truly get the essence of The Black Clouds which song would it be and why?

DM: Everyone hears music differently.  That’s an impossible question to answer.  I go to the music store and buy records from bands that I’ve never heard of on a regular basis based on nothing at all.  I recommend they do the same.  As for our band, listen to any one of our songs.  We won’t release anything that we think sucks…

*What can the people coming out to a show expect to see from you guys in terms of a live experience?  

DM: Us playing our tunes while looking like we’re being electrocuted. Maybe some twerking.

The Jersey Shore scene has so many bands performing in it right now, so what makes The Black Clouds stand out — from a musical standpoint?

DM: The Armadillos in our trousers.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2014?  

DM: We plan on finishing the new record first and foremost.  We’ll also be playing a bunch of East coast shows to raise money so we can afford press the new record and set up a tour for it early next year.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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