Cloud Nothings' Dylan Baldi Cuts Through the Noise

Cloud Nothings mastermind Dylan Baldi talks Steve Albini, his collaboration with Wavves and free jazz

Dylan Baldi was in his living room listening to a Waylon Jennings record from the '80s ("Turn the Page," to be exact) when I got him on the phone. He paid $6 for it, but that was $6 too much, according to him.

"It's not very good," Baldi said.

Baldi is the lead singer and songwriter of Cloud Nothings, a Cleveland-based noise rock band that originated as one of the many "fake" Myspace music profiles he created in the early 2000s. 

Since 2009, Cloud Nothings have recorded with the legendary Steve Albini, become a darling of Pitchfork Media and collaborated with Wavves on the album "No Life for Me."

"It was cool; he [Albini] was nice. We were just kind of there, and we did it and left," Baldi said. 

As for the Wavves collab ... "Nathan's [Williams, of Wavves] friend Jamie ran a label ... and hit me up one day and said, 'Do you want to make a record with Wavves?'" he added.

The band is fortunate enough to be in a position where they have the freedom to exercise their creative will.

Unlike a typical record deal where a band has to commit to five to seven albums with a label, Cloud Nothings' agreement with Carpark Records means they're only on the hook for one album each time they re-sign. 

On Oct. 19, the band will release their fifth studio album with Carpark, "Last Building Burning." 

Listen to new single "Leave Him Now" here.

"We're in like a lucky position where we tour a lot -- this is our only job. So, we might as well make it fun. Last year, we toured a record before this, and there were moments in the songs where things got chaotic. We wanted to make a record like that -- hitting those insane peaks. That was really the basis of how this one ['Last Building Burning'] started. It's a little more exciting to play live," Baldi said.

Chaotic excitement is nothing new for Baldi, who plays saxophone for a free jazz band in Cleveland every now and then. 

"I grew up listening to jazz a lot, weirdly. It was the first thing I started getting into. Early on it was like Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders -- just sort of a little more out there. I think that did have an effect on me just being like, 'You can do anything you want.' There's no rules here, basically: It's the outer reaches of what music is. That's how I first got into noise was through free jazz. I got into punk and stuff after I got into free jazz," Baldi said.

Cloud Nothings headline Casbah on Thursday, Nov. 1. Get tickets here.

Rutger Ansley Rosenborg has been an Associate Editor at NBC SoundDiego since 2016. Find out more here, or contact him here.

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