Detroit’s Touch The Clouds have just released “Feeling Light”, the first single from their upcoming self-titled album. The new song is a sonic nod to the heavy yet melodic vibe of 90s alternative, while simultaneously offering a light and dream-like feel. We caught up with the band to chat about the new song, their songwriting process, and their non-musical hobbies.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Feeling Light”.
Touch The Clouds: Feeling Light is the first single off of our upcoming 15-song, full-length album – which was produced by Joe Philips, Erik Maluchnik, and Adam Cox, mastered at Third Man Mastering by Warren Defever, and features artwork by Mark Penxa & Jeremy Schemm. This is the first new music from us in seven years, and we think this single is a good indicator of where we’re heading with the new album.
Lyrically, the song is about finding your center in today’s frenetic world – making the time to sit still in the sun, take a deep breath, and let it all go – feeling both photons and relief. Sonically we’re drawing from the heavy, yet melodic vibes of 90’s Alternative Rock, adding a bit of our own flavor, and aiming for something that’s both fresh and familiar.
FTS: Who were your musical influences growing up, and how do they differ from your current ones?
Touch The Clouds: It’s always a challenge to put your finger on what has truly influenced you, knowing there’s an intangible pool of music that has shaped your musical development.
Individually, our upbringings had us listening to a really wide range of music – from classical and jazz, to punk and hip hop, and everything in between. Our anchor points are quite diverse.
Collectively we can trace the band’s foundational tonality to the DIY indie and alternative sounds of the mid-late 90s. Bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Jimmy Eat World, Cursive, Dinosaur Jr., Pearl Jam, and more provided a true north in the beginning.
Currently, we’re actively searching for new music; listening for new interpretations of songwriting and performance. Artists like Nnamdï, The War On Drugs, Wet Leg, Soccer Mommy, and more rejuvenate us when we think we’ve heard it all. Groups like Chamberlain and Quicksand give us a blueprint on how bands can continue to march to the beat of their own drum, years down the road.
FTS: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?
Touch The Clouds: We try to be a warm and cozy blanket of thick, melodic guitar tones and sung vocals, rolling atop a powerful and pulsating rhythm section. We really like to hone our dynamic expression and always aim to play from the heart.
FTS: All artists (save for the exceptionally lucky ones) experience writer’s block from time to time. How do you battle through a block when songwriting?
Touch The Clouds: Ultimately, it comes down to pushing for continued forward movement. Hung up on a verse? Move forward and come back to it later. Allow some things to be nothing more than placeholders, knowing your subconscious is always searching for the right answer. You just have to give it time.
Some of the ways we’ve jumpstarted creation include idea generation methods (e.g. Oblique Strategies), reading anything we can get our hands on to open up a new train of thought, writing down as much as we can (without the internal editor), and freestyling while recording in hopes of capturing the spontaneous musical gems. We’re also big proponents of listening to all kinds of different music to find inspiration.
We try to remember that everything doesn’t need to come at once. It’s ok to sculpt.
FTS: What are some of the band’s non-musical hobbies?
Touch The Clouds: We like to be immersed in creativity of all sorts. We’re all aesthetes to some degree, searching for deeper meaning in painting, design, sculpture, photography, graphic design, modern dance, and on and on. We’ve been known to attend museums, libraries, galleries, and theaters.
Running is a hobby that’s probably high up on the list; we have a couple of consistent, avid hot steppers in the group. Some of us are gamers. Some of us like to camp out in nature. We all enjoy quality time spent with family and friends.
But honestly, everything orbits music.
Check out “Feeling Light”, the latest single from Touch the Clouds!