Playing this month at The Earl in Atlanta on Jan. 24, independent rock band, Cloud Cult, have paved their own way for more than 15 years. They were the first band to develop a 100% post-consumer recycled CD case back in 2000. Their most recent release has been their critically acclaimed 10th album, The Seeker, along with their feature film of the same title. Because of their fierce determination to stay independent, they have declined offers from major labels. AXS chatted with the band's founder and songwriter, Craig Minowa, about their philanthropic efforts, including their success with it and how other artists can get involved. For more information about Cloud Cult, and for other tour dates throughout 2017, visit their website here.
To purchase tickets for An Evening with Cloud Cult in Atlanta, click here.
AXS: What was the vision behind The Seeker, both visually and musically?
Craig Minowa: We've always wanted to do a concept album that doubled as a narrative film but have never been in the logistical spot to pull it off. With The Seeker, we wanted to tell a story through music and visual poetry about the search for meaning and the afterlife.
AXS: Cloud Cult is very dedicated to making the world around them and others to be an environmentally friendly place. How do you think other artists, who aren't already, can get involved with this initiative?
CM: The first place to start is taking a look at your merchandise production. We can all complain about what big businesses are doing to our water, air and land, but the reality is that every band is a mini business that needs to make those same decisions about what kind of damage is done from the product we make. There are a lot of places out there that can help you release merchandise made from organic and recycled materials.
AXS: In your years of creating and performing music and searching for the meaning of life, death, and all things unknown, what have you guys learned from each of these aspects?
CM: I've spent massive amounts of time searching for the meaning of it all through the music. I'm in a place right now where I feel like the human brain doesn't have the capacity to comprehend the magnitude and complexity of the universe. That's the point where you let go a bit, watch the mystery unfold in awe and just try to be as present as possible.
AXS: You guys performed several dates recently, including a stop in Atlanta at The Earl; what do you guys most enjoy about touring?
CM: The most satisfying element of touring is getting a chance to meet supporters of the band, because so many of those people are really open with us about the struggles and transformations they've had in life. When you meet so many good intentioned people, you can't help but get recharged in your hope for this world.
AXS: Who was your first concert, and who has been your overall favorite?
CM: My first concert was Jesus Jones. They had technical difficulties, and I remember him throwing his guitar and marching offstage, but it was still amazing to see. The best concert I've seen was the first Lollapalooza with Jane's Addiction and Nine Inch Nails. That was the only time I've ever been one of the first to start a mosh pit.
AXS: What was your first album on cassette, CD, and/or vinyl?
CM: My first vinyl album was the soundtrack to Superman 3. Come to think of it, I think subconsciously the horn opening on our album "Light Chasers" was inspired by the horn opening on that album. Whenever I am confronted with a major physical challenge, I hear those opening John Williams horns. My first cassette was Fat Boys Big and Beautiful. I wanted to grow up to be a human beat box, but whenever I practiced, my older sister would say I sounded like I was making drums with my butt.
AXS: Which four artists and/or albums would you not want to live without?
Peter Gabriel - Passion
Mozart's - Requiem
Tom Petty - Wildflowers
Radiohead - OK Computer
AXS: Do you have a guilty music or entertainment pleasure?
CM: I can listen to Christmas music year round. Sometimes when I'm really stressed out, I'll put on a Bing Crosby Christmas tune, and I find my safe place.