Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings chats to Aoife Valentine about basement beginnings and playing to hardcore crowds
Just over a year ago, 19-year-old Dylan Baldi began making some lo-fi recordings in his basement, but after putting a couple online under the name Cloud Nothings, Bridgetown Records were quick to take notice. An EP, Turning On, came out very soon after.
Baldi has since moved from his parent’s house in Cleveland, Ohio to Baltimore where he recorded the band’s debut album with Chester Gwazda, known for his production work with Dan Deacon and Future Islands. Baldi found working with a producer, in a professional studio to be a different ball game to recording alone in the basement. “It was the first time I worked with an outside producer, so I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like,” he admits. “But Chester stayed out of the way in terms of the songs and just made everything sound good, so it all went really well.”
The EP has a fuzzy, distorted sound, which fans have come to recognise as distinctively Cloud Nothings, and upon entering the studio Baldi was intent on keeping their DIY aesthetic intact. “All the records I really like all have a raw element to them and I wanted mine to still sound like that.”
With the success of the EP and in advance of a live show, supporting Real Estate and Woods, Baldi added TJ Duke (bass), Jayson Gerycz (drums) and Joe Boyer (guitar) to the line-up. “They were friends of mine from playing shows in Cleveland and going to shows. It’s a small little scene and everyone kind of meets the same people.”
Within three months, the band was touring America; something of an overwhelming start surely? “Yeah, it was pretty weird. It has definitely gone at a slow enough pace so that we’ve been able to figure out how everything works. It hasn’t been too fast of a rise even though going from not doing anything to touring the country in three months is pretty fast.”
Along the way they played some shows with hardcore band Fucked Up, a drastic change from touring with indie-rock band Wavves and their usual, more responsive crowd. “Yeah, it was different. There was no reception; they just kind of looked at us. It was a weird tour.”
Despite how successful the last year has been, Baldi seems fairly relaxed about what’s next for the band: “We’re just touring the album. That’s all we have planned so far, and we’ll probably be writing some more songs.”
The debut album, Cloud Nothings, is out now.