Of Clocks and Clouds
By Harriet Kaplan
Brooklyn, New York natives Joe Salgo and Ross Procaccio make up alternative rock duo Of Clocks and Clouds. Their new track, “Another Life,” from their forthcoming, self-produced album, “Better Off,” is due out this Summer. “Another Life” has been described as having “enchanting arrangements, intensifying interludes and attention grabbing guitar riffs.” Joe Salgo spoke to BoC recently and discussed inspiration for the band’s name from unlikely source in magazine article “that is a mission statement to how they make music.” The fact both musicians are from NYC, Joe says is “apparent in our personalities and outlook” and how “NYC is our home and we represent that.” The fact both musicians have “a lot of influences in common but there an equal amount of influences that are total opposites.” Joe attributes that contrast to making “our music unique and non genre specific.” Joe comes from “lo-if rock singer songwriter background with experimental sounds” and Ross “comes from a post-rock and jazz background.” Joe says: “you can really hear our roots in the new music we’ve made.” Both musicians “like to push each other’s comfort zones, shake things up and by trying something different.” Meet Of Clocks and Clouds…
How did the duo come up with the name Of Clocks and Clouds and what inspired it?
Joe: Hey this is Joe Salgo from Of Clocks and Clouds. Band names can be really tricky. I was working on tracks for what became the first album and I still hadn’t come up with a band name. I was flipping through WIRED magazine and came across an article about this guy Karl Popper, a German scientific philosopher from the early 1900’s. He wrote an essay about measurable events in nature and divided them into two categories: clocks and clouds. Clocks are the things in the world that are constant and easily measured. Clouds are more amorphous; constantly changing and difficult to contain or measure. These ideas really resonated with me and became a mission statement to how we make our music.
Where are you both from and do you share musical influences?
J: Both Ross Procaccio and I are born and raised in Brooklyn, NY- which is quite a are thing to discover in NYC these days, people that are actually born and raised here. Brooklyn was a lot different when we were growing up then it is now. And that is something that is apparent in our personalities and outlook. We’re not wide eyed kids from Minnesota moving to Brooklyn to form an indie rock band (not that there’s anything wrong with that). This is our home and we represent that.
As far as musical tastes, Ross and I have a lot of influences in common and probably an equal amount of influences that are total opposites. It’s like a Venn diagram- there’s the bands in the middle that we both love; and then there’s the bands on the far sides of our circle that the other person can’t stand at all. But that’s what makes our music unique and non genre specific. We blend many different styles into our sound, and you can really hear that on our new album Better Off.
When did Of Clocks and Clouds form as a duo?
J: I messed around doing solo electronic stuff for a while as Of Clocks and Clouds. I met Ross at a show and we started playing together. When we first started, I was playing a lot of keyboards and we had a few other players in the mix. It wasn’t until early 2013 that we decided to move forward as a duo. We stripped it down: guitar, drums, vocals and my laptop. The first show we played in that format, we could really feel the audience getting it. There was also an ease and simplicity to operating as a two piece. We’ve been approaching the music that way ever since. Recently however, we’ve been playing with a very talented bass player, which gives Ross and I a lot more freedom to explore sounds. We’re not as responsible for holding down the groove at all times.
Were you both in other bands before? If you were, what different about this project versus any other you both have been in and what experiences have been helpful you boys took into working with Of Clocks and Clouds?
J: We’ve both played in bands before, but our roles were much different. We were more supporting players in the past. In OCAC, the music comes directly from us. In fact many of the songs on the new album are derived from live jams that we recorded. Ross comes from a post rock and jazz background, and I come from a lo fi rock singer songwriter background with experimental sounds. You can really hear our roots in the new music we’ve made.
What can you tell me about your new album, Better Off, given its self produced as opposed to working with a producer. Did you opt for greater creative control and freedom of expression?
J: Self producing is exciting and freeing. Ross runs 6611 Studios out of his house in Dyker Heights Brooklyn, so there were no time constraints for us other than our own personal commitments. Having the ability to go over the tracks on our time is a luxury that many bands never get. That being said, having two people to produce, record, write, track, arrange and mix was a shit ton of work. Rewarding yes, but this album definitely took a lot out of us. We’re both very proud of the work we put into it and the end result- and we’re both very pleased to be finished with it.
How do you collaborate in terms of songwriting and the arrangements?
J: Our songs begin in one or two ways generally. Either I’ll show Ross some electronic track I’ve made with my laptop and we’ll use that as the skeleton and assemble the body, or we’ll come up with something on the fly while we’re jamming and arrange that into a song. The new album is a reflection of both styles. We try to push each other past each others comfort zones. After playing together for so long we know each others habits- so we like to shake things up and try different things.