Cloud Castle Lake’s muscular, mature music belies their tender years

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

AT the start of last year Dublin four piece Cloud Castle Lake were being strongly touted as ‘ones to watch’ in the Irish music scene, winning rave reviews and plaudits for their incendiary performances at Electric Picnic, Body and Soul and Castlepalooza in recent years.

AT the start of last year Dublin four piece Cloud Castle Lake were being strongly touted as ‘ones to watch’ in the Irish music scene, winning rave reviews and plaudits for their incendiary performances at Electric Picnic, Body and Soul and Castlepalooza in recent years.

Fast forward a year and the buzz is showing no signs of abating, despite the fact that this Dublin four piece have yet release an album, or anything for that matter! Just a clutch of live records and radio session recordings exist for a band that have built up a burgeoning reputation for their live shows.

“We always thought and presumed that we might be more of a recording band, that could be a strong suit for us because we take so long to work on things and we’d like to make sure it is pretty perfect down to minute details,” explains Cloud Castle Lake vocalist Daniel Mc Auley.

“But it has gone the opposite way because we haven’t released anything, so people are concentrating more on live performances, which is not what we expected, but is pretty cool nonetheless,” he adds.

For an up and coming band to maintain an aura without releasing anything physically is nothing short of astonishing, but that has more in tune with the muscular, mature and atmospheric music they have displayed on live outings and in their live recordings, which swing anywhere between operatic post-rock to raucous krautrock with some quieter, tender moments in between. Kid’s stuff this ain’t.

Mc Auley admits that it took the band - also made up of James O’Donohoe, Rory O’Connor and Brendan Jenkinson - some time to find their feet, hardly surprising given that they formed while still at school about four years ago.

“We all met in boarding school - we were there together for the whole six years and it is a seven day boarding school so it was pretty close confines. The three lads had a band and I was recruited to be a singer at some point and we have been doing it since then,” he explains.

“The places that we have practised have all had an influence on our style I think. We used to play in a tiny stone room so when it got really loud it got extremely painful so we often softened it up and I guess maybe that is where some of the more atmospheric elements come from. And also battling each other to be louder I guess has maybe lead to the big epic parts which is us essentially competing with each other to hear ourselves,” he laughs.

The few songs available online have tinges of Radiohead, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Efterklang and Jeff Buckley - largely due to Mc Auley’s falsetto vocals - not a bad bunch of influences for a fledgling band.

“We would all have different influences so that has had an effect as well,” says Dan slowly, noting the influence of film, literature and real life also.

“I’d like to say where you pull ideas from, but I don’t think we would be strictly limited to pulling inspiration from other music,” he says.

Inspiration was hard to find from the get go, Dan explains, as they struggled to find a name for the band when they first got together. The inspiration came from a story by Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov.

“We had been trying to figure out a name for ages, which was the hardest thing in the world and I just saw it on the back of a Penguin 70s edition, I was just reading it idly and it stuck out,” he says.

The band are taking their time to record their debut offering, with guitarist Brendan doubling on production duties.

“We are still working on recording it. We were down in Moneygall of all places for six weeks over the summer just figuring out what it was going to sound like, but we still have a bit left to do,” says Mc Auley.

“We have had the songs for years, some maybe for four years, so it would look stupid if we just suddenly kind of let them go. Because we have had them for so long we would like to do as much justice to them as we can.”

The vague goal is to have the as yet unnamed record finished by the summer and take it on tour, maybe to Europe or America. In the meantime they will play smaller gigs around the country, seeking to add foundation to their growing live reputation.

“We really try to give it socks, I think we are all getting better at letting loose a bit now that we have been doing it for so long. It can be pretty fun to go crazy, shout really loudly and just enjoy it.”

Cloud Castle Lake play in Bourke’s Bar, Catherine Street, this Thursday night. Admission is free, but capacity is limited.