The Clouds were among the leading lights of the Australian indie scene in the early to mid-nineties, fronted by the dual vocals of Jodi Phillis and Trish Young.
With three Top 50 Albums – including the classic “Penny Century” (going Gold) – The Clouds were well loved by critics and their huge fan base. They reformed briefly in 2014 to play a national tour.
The Clouds return in 2017 with a new single “Mabel’s Bookshop“ – featuring the first new material in 20 years from a forthcoming EP “Zaffre” out on February 14, 2017 as a digital download.
Tomatrax caught up with Trish Young to ask a few questions.
It’s been three years since your last headline tour, what have you been up to over this time?
Well – a lot can happen to four people in three years and you’re really testing our memories! Let’s take this alphabetically:
Dave has a job that he doesn’t talk about much, I suspect that’s because either it’s top secret; or he wants to cultivate an air of mystery; or because we couldn’t begin to understand it. A few years ago he studied sound engineering and he has put his eary skills to work as the producer for Zaffre. We’re very proud of him.
Jodi’s been busy with music. She’s in an aptly-named four-piece vocal group called the Glamma Rays.
If they’re ever playing somewhere near you – check them out, you’ll be glad you did. Jodi has also been studying composition for film and tv and has spearheaded the ambitious project Seven Stories, a collection of pieces by seven of Australia’s foremost composers, each illustrating in sound one of the seven archetypal narratives. They will be performed by the Ensemble Offspring. You wouldn’t think she’d have any extra time but she manages to fit in recording and producing other artists.
Raph has been working in theatre lighting, both on the eastern and western seaboards of our Great Southern land. He has designed and built groovy furniture, some of which was shown in an exhibition in Bellingen. He has also been studying massage therapy and can tell a metacarpal from a metatarsal at two hundred paces, not to mention a scapula from a fibula. Last year he stood in on drums for the legendary Bil Bilson of the Sunny Boys when they toured with the Violent Femmes and Hoodo Gurus. As well as all that, he’s an awesome juicer!
Trish (that’s me, talking about myself in the third person), has made a hobby of recording but hasn’t released any of the material. She also plays in a covers band, mostly performing at parties and community fundraisers. There have been a handful of solo shows too. Other than that she has been occupied with stencilling and paint-by-numbers Art.
The Clouds have just put out their first release in 20 years, what made you decide to make music together again?
We’ve missed each other over the years and I don’t think there was a particular trigger that got us playing again, it was more a case of things falling into place.
How does it feel to write new material together for the first time in two decades?
It feels great to write new songs again! We’re all inspired by each other and it’s really good to be bouncing ideas around again, even if it’s through cyberspace and we’re not physically in the same room. Actually, come to think of it, from the rare snippets Dave has dropped about his work, I think he may be part of the avatar program and soon we’ll be jamming in person, virtually, though we’re miles apart (we live in four different cities, in three different states).
What made you pick ‘Mabel’s Bookshop’ as your first single after your hiatus?
We picked Mabels’ because it has an infectious beat, a great melody, and interesting lyrics that tell a true story.
You have an EP coming out soon, how will the rest of the EP compare with Mabel’s Bookshop?
There’s another beat-driven song based around a guitar/bass riff, and there’s an ethereal, dream sequence song in waltz-time.
Your press release said that the upcoming EP launch “will be a very special night of classic songs plus new material and a few surprises.” Can you shed any light on what the surprises will be?
If we told you about the surprises we’d have to call them unsurprises, wouldn’t we?
Are there plans for follow up releases from the Clouds?
Yes, there certainly are plans for further releases. We’ve got the names and artwork ready to go! Jodi and I write new song ideas out on pieces of paper, then we seal them in bottles, address them to the others, and throw them into the ocean. That way everyone gets to choose three or four favourites and those will be what we work on next.
You will also be playing at Day on the Green in April, what can fans expect from your show?
At the Day on the Green shows fans can expect bitten fingernails, sweaty palms and sheer panic but we’ll do our best to appear as though we know what we’re doing and that we’ve earned our place amongst such exalted company.
Are there any acts you’re looking forward to seeing at Day on the Green?
We’re looking forward to seeing all the other acts!
What do you have planned once the EP is out?
Once the ep is out we’re planning to grow our fingernails back and get straight onto the next one!
Check out the Clouds’ Facebook page to find out more!