How did you come
to work together? What were you doing before?
why?: We all met in Cincinnati. Doseone
and I met in college and started a band together and
later started to record under the moniker, Greenthink.
Nosdam (who I have known since grade school) started
coming around and contributing beats to the Greenthink
stuff. We kinda just took it from there.
How would you define the cLOUDDEAD sound to
someone who is not very familiar with your work?
Odd Nosdam: Well, I guess it’s
not hip-hop. I don't know. cLOUDDEAD is melodically
delivered poetry over beats with sampled and hand played
sounds questionably sequenced into a song that is carefully
mixed to insure that the sound that is often referred
to as "The cLOUDDEAD Sound" is indeed present.
As well as cLOUDDEAD, you all have other projects.
How do you manage to keep these various commitments
going, and does it affects the band?
Doseone: Yes it affects all of the
bands, but my role in cLOUDDEAD is like the one I have
in all these projects... writing words and ringing intense...
at its worst being spread thin wears you out physically...
but more than one engine to plug into is definitely
how I prefer things.
How do you split the work between the three
Doseone: Intuitively, and then of course Nosdam
does the drums. Musically, why? is most confident, David
is a human taste factory, and I am uhhh... It's very
much a give and take along with a bit of selective hearing...
a certain part of a song which you can't quite come
up with yourself, so then you pass it off like a flaming
There is a very active underground hip-hop
scene on the West Coast at the moment, with loads of
new artists coming up all the time. Do you have much
contact with the scene in general, and these new artists
Odd Nosdam: Not anymore contact than with the
SF noise scene.
You've got a new album coming up, Ten.
How did you work on the album? How was it conceived?
why? Dose and I wrote all the lyrics during
the late spring and summer of 2001. We recorded over
the course of the next two years (off and on) by passing
songs back and forth between our studios.
The album seems to have a much rougher, perhaps
more experimental, sound. What has inspired you during
Odd Nosdam: Time. Definitely our relationships
with each other coupled with our individual experiences
since moving to Oakland three years ago... and I think
we've really matured musically since 1999. We actually
used a compressor and sequencer on Ten... Vocals
are smartly recorded and mixed... Just knowing more
about how to get what you want is really a confidence
The music also has a very melodic edge, which
is still quite unusual on the hip-hop scene. How do
you select the samples and beats you use on a specific
why?: For all of the stuff that I produced
(about half of the record) I only used one sample (an
organ off of some organ record). The rest is all live
instruments and some drum machine/keyboard drum stuff.
As far as the stuff that Nosdam did, he is a master
beat and sample finder. I really have no fucking idea
where most of his stuff comes from and I don't think
he would tell you if you asked him.
You tackle a lot of different subjects in your
music, from politic to society or your own experiences.
Do you set up to write about specific topics when you
start working on a song, or is it a much more organic
Doseone: We definitely lean toward the organic
side of composition... Most of our poems occur to us
in a natural fashion, and some of them actually are
based on natural occurrence. However with word choice
and editing we are pretty retentive... Fine-tooth combed
as it were. And with Ten especially, we had
our images and they had their order. We simply fleshed
out the wording.
How did the remix of Dead Dogs Two
by Boards Of Canada happen?
why: We met Boards of Canada when we were over
in Scotland touring a couple of years ago, and we were
flattered as hell to learn that they were into our stuff.
The rest was just a conversation in an Edinburgh pub
What did you think of the result?
Odd Nosdam: The result is fucking awesome.
So much ear candy. Is it their best work yet?
There were loads of comparisons between your
sonic landscapes and theirs when your first album was
released. Did you think that it was a fair comparison
at the time?
Odd Nosdam: Well, none of us heard BOC until
after we finished the first record in 2000. Doseone
played Music Has The Right To Children for
us when he came back to Cincinnati to record The
Sound of a Handshake in winter 2000. For the first
record, musically, I was inspired by these bands: Hood,
Flying Saucer Attack, Stars of the Lid, and Windy &
Carl. I was just trying to put beats over SOTL loops.
I was listening to FSA constantly till I eventually
started to rip it off, but BOC have been a huge inspiration
for us since we did start listening to them and especially
for myself after meeting them at our 2002 show in Edinburgh.
Are you planning to tour following the release
of the album, and can we expect dates in Europe?
why?: No... sorry.
What are your views on the mainstream hip hop
Doseone: From where I sit I can't really see
much but my front room, the cat, the end table…
Growth comes in spurts... so there should be a new batch
of do gooder's coming along any minute now... otherwise
I haven't heard anything to drop your jaw and dance
On a regular basis, we hear in the UK that
British hip-hop is finally taking off, and then nothing.
Have you had the chance to hear some British hip-hop,
and if yes, what did you think?
Doseone: Yes, I've heard a bit, The Streets...
not my bag really. He's kinda young on the mic... what
else... some more underground stuff but nothing that
really brings it all together... i.e. a British personal
perspective and unique personality... can't forget that
bona fide rap swagger... but it's inevitable.
What do you like listening to when you're at
home or touring?
why?: Silver Jews, Fog, Daniel Johnston, Modest
Mouse, Bob Dylan, Elliot Smith, My Bloody Valentine,
Carly Simon (You're So Vain), Outkast, Pavement,
Guided by Voices, Velvet Underground, Aphex Twin, Boards
Email interview January 2004
Thank you to cLOUDDEAD and Laura