Interview: Ben Sharp of Cloudkicker

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I caught up with Ben from Cloudkicker after his set outside of Backbooth in Orlando, we talked about touring, favorite music releases and more. Cloudkicker are currently on tour with Tesseract and Intronaut through April 30, be sure to check out the remaining tour dates.
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Q – You just finished playing your set, I personally enjoyed it, but how did you feel about it?

Ben – It was great, it was a very good crowd.

Q – You put up your latest release entitled “Subsume” around seven months ago, how has the reception been?

Ben – Great, just about the same as Fade, Loop and Beacons. I’ve been getting a very solid response over the last four years.

Q – “Subsume” features just four songs, the shortest of which was around five and a half minutes. Was it a conscious decision to write long songs, or did they just sort of come out that way?

Ben – It’s actually eight songs, just split into four tracks. The idea behind that was I wanted people to listen to the album as a whole, and not treat it like eight separate songs. The songs are split up in weird spots anyways, I just wanted to encourage people to start from the beginning.

Q – The guys from Intronaut are also acting as your backing band for this tour, how did that come about?

Ben – It was actually their idea. I met them in 2010, I gave them a few copies of Beacons, and then the next week Sacha told me that if I ever wanted to tour, they could be my backing band, I just didn’t think it would happen. About a year ago they came through Columbus, and they actually talked me into it. So we sat down and said “If we’re going to do this, how would we do it?”, and “We need to do this, this and this.”, “Lets try this.”, and luckily it worked.

Q – This is your first time ever fully touring Cloudkicker, what made you decide to do it now after being a studio project for the past seven years? Was it just cause of Sacha and Intronaut?

Ben – Yeah, it just sort of fell in my lap, and I said it’d be cool to take this opportunity.

Brandon(interviewer) – I know you’ve said in past interviews you don’t really like constant touring.

Ben – Yeah, but Intronaut just make it so easy, they’re professionals. A week ago we went into the studio and plugged in my guitar and set their stuff up and just played through, it was that easy.

Q – I know you’ve stated in past interviews that Meshuggah were your main influence when you were starting out, what would you say is your favorite Meshuggah album?

Ben – It’s probably Catch Thirtythree, It’s sentimental for me because it’s what got me into Meshuggah. When I saw them playing in Cleveland with Intronaut a little while ago, they played three or four songs from Catch Thirtythree and I was just losing it, it had been a while since I’d heard it, and it got me back into Meshuggah.

Q – Are there any plans for Cloudkicker and Intronaut to record one of the upcoming shows and release a “Nautkicker” live album?

Ben – Sacha has a guy in Austin, TX who told us we need to stop by his studio before the show in Austin that night and record a live album. We’re pretty set on that idea, about 75% on it, we’ll record it in the studio, but it will still be a “live” album.

Q – What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Ben – Right when you asked me that question, it just emptied my mind of all the concerts I’ve attended(laughs). Meshuggah is the most fresh in my mind, they put on an amazing show, it was their tour with Animals As Leaders and Intronaut.

Q – What are some of your favorite music releases from the past year?

Ben – The new Beck album is really good. Tim Hecker just put out a very interesting album called “Virgins”, the latest Tycho album. Oh and the new Animals As Leaders album is pretty killer, I’ve been talking about it a lot with the Intronaut guys.

Q – Using vocals occasionally, such as on “Let Yourself Be Huge”. Did you intend for the vocals to stand out or serve as another layer?

Ben – As another layer. I wanted it to blend in the background. Have you listened to the Appleseed Cast?

Brandon(interviewer) – Yes.

Ben – The album “Segarmatha”. I kind of wanted to mimic their vocals, they’re just very deep into the mix, and it gives you the impressions that the song allows.

Q – After this tour is finished, what’s the future hold for Cloudkicker?

Ben – I’m going to go home, enjoy a week of vacation, hang out with my wife and my dog, and just get back into the groove of my normal everyday life. Sometime in the near future I might start writing more music, but I don’t know what that will look like.

Q – Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Is there anything you’d like to tell any fans and supports of Cloudkicker?

Ben – Thanks for coming out to these shows

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