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That’s right. Honest rock'n'roll is important, especially nowadays. And if a band understands this and puts everything they have and believe in into its creation and performance, without the need of a big budget or a record label, then there’s hardly going to be any bullshit behind it. The New Jersey’s four-piece The Black Clouds produce, record and fund their records themselves and they manage to do a damn good job. They’ve absorbed the best influences from the early 90s alternative rock and now come with a brisk and visceral take on the genre. Their latest album ‘Better Days’ is a creation of brilliant music minds that ought to be recognized by every rock'n'roll admirer out there.

Dan Matthews (guitar/vocals) took time to introduce the band and their sound to Mudkiss readers in our following interview, telling us about the pros and cons of being D.I.Y., what kind of people influence him and more.

EVA: Could you take us to the beginning of The Black Clouds and tell us the story of how the band formed? 

DAN: The Black Clouds formed in and around 2005 when my former band (Sunshine Flipside) broke up. I had a ton of tunes written and needed to complete them to ensure my mental health.  We've gone through 3 full line up changes but we found the definitive line up in 2007.  We'll be making records for the rest of our lives now that we found each other.

EVA: How would you introduce your sound to the first time listener and what led you to this particular genre you create?

DAN: These guys sound like Nirvana!....That would be the first reaction from most people that don't care to REALLY listen. We have a ton of influences.  We understand how important honest rock n roll is, so that's our main goal.

EVA: Your album Better Days was produced, recorded and funded by yourselves. Can you talk about the recording process and what made you go D.I.Y.?

DAN: Our last record "Wishing Well" was done the same way.  This record was a cool challenge.  We only gave ourselves a month to record it. We actually booked our mixing sessions with John Agnello exactly a month away before we started recording.  On top of that, we only had around seven tunes written.  We decided that whatever we had at the end of the month would be our record.  It definitely kept things honest and real. The fact that we funded and released it ourselves just reinforces that we're making music because we want and need to.  What we do is important to us.  Hopefully other people will realize the importance as well.

EVA: Many bands take the D.I.Y. road nowadays. What do you think are the main pros and cons of ‘do it yourself’ in music these days?

DAN: There's not much of a choice these days!  The pros are that you can create without someone forcing you in a direction and you have to figure out shit on your own, which makes you understand and be better at what you do. The cons are being broke, completely uncomfortable and your family suffers the effect of you not being around for an extended period of time.  Thankfully, we have extremely patient and understanding loved ones.

EVA: John Angello mixed the record. What was it like to have someone like him on board?               

DAN: John is amazing at what he does.  He actually suggested and added things that took the record to a totally different level.  We're really thankful that he worked with our relatively non-existent budget!  Jack Endino was the same way.  They both really get it and actually care about the existence of good music. We're very lucky to know and have the opportunity to work with such amazingly talented guys.  Hopefully it won’t be the last time.

EVA: What inspires your songwriting and what’s the best environment for you to write in?

DAN: That’s a really tough question to answer.  There’s not a specific technique or environment.  We just throw ideas at each other and are honest with each other. I think that's the hardest thing to do.  Being comfortable enough with each other to say what you really feel about new ideas is tough, but it insures that you end up with a solid record.

EVA: Is there anyone who influenced your music and also you as an artist?

DAN: People who keep creating even when it makes them completely uncomfortable and broke.

EVA: If you were to describe your live shows in three words, what would you say?

DAN: Fuck yes! Finally!

EVA: How often do you play live and what’s the music scene like in New Jersey at the moment?

DAN: We play live pretty consistently.  We love to tour.  The scene in NJ is weird.  There's a ton of great bands but none of them work together nearly enough.  A few bands worth checking out are Ether Sunday, The Obvious, NCM, The Extras Inc, Lonnnie, and Humongous.

EVA: What’s next for you in terms of recording, releases, touring etc?

DAN: We already have 6 tunes written for the next record.  Hopefully we'll have a new record in the beginning of next year. We plan on touring the US in March of 2014.  We'd love to tour the UK and Europe in the near future.  Hopefully we can find the cash soon!

Interview by Eva Jostakova
Press photo by Heather Bennett
Live photo by FindOrion Photography

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