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07 February 2018

INTERVIEW: Citrus Clouds.

Citrus Clouds is a Phoenix-based project consisting of Erick Pineda, Stacie Huttleston and Angelica Pedrego. They hit the scene with their hazy brand of melodic dream pop back in 2015 with the release of In Time I Am. Since then they’ve presented two other excellent offerings – 2016’s Imagination and 2017’s ULTRA SOUND. Fresh off a recent tour, Citrus Clouds is now preparing for the release of a handful of new singles in 2018, with a forthcoming full length planned for 2019. Looking forward to all of it! Enjoy getting to know the band in the following interview.

How and when was the band formed?
Citrus Clouds formed in mid-2015 as a side project and we had no real intentions of playing out much. We didn't have any expectations really. We would practice a ton and tried to write the best songs we could. It was purely for fun and for us.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (any new releases, tour, etc.)?
We've released our new EP ULTRA SOUND on Custom Made Music last September. We are working on releasing a few singles in 2018 and want to finish writing our 2nd full length, set to release in 2019 under the name Nothing Familiar. We want to explore different sounds and textures and are really excited about the new songs.

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?
I feel our sound definitely fits and has a place in the current shoegaze/dream pop scene. Our sound tends to be less reliant on guitar pedals and more on melodies and feelings. We call what we do Desertgaze because here in Phoenix, it gets really, really hot and depressing half of the year and although we make dreamy sounds, they tend to be a little more minimalist and dryer than a lot of current shoegaze stuff. Phoenix is definitely not England weather wise and that is reflected in the music we make. Really though, a genre can only give you a rough outline as to what kind of music a band makes. 

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?
The modern shoegaze scene is really fantastic. I love how international it is and how these types of sounds resonate with people all over the world. Some bands that we've been liking a lot are: Mute Swan, Panda Riot, Shallow, Seatemples, Death Valley Rally, Rev Rev Rev, The Cherry Wave, Sun System, Ego Tripping.

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?
For our sound, one piece of gear that is essential is a Boss ME-50 effects pedal. Nothing fancy but gets the job done and I've been using the same pedal since High School. I love a very clean amp and a JC Chorus is the perfect amp for me.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?
We record with Jalipaz at Audioconfusion in Mesa, AZ (AJJ, Diners, Dogbreth) and he loves to record live. We will rehearse the shit out of the songs and try to go in to Audioconfusion and knock them all out as perfectly as possible. After we lay down the tracks we will lay down overdubs and the vocals. Stacie's vocals are usually last and they become the glue that ties everything together. In keeping with the minimalist approach, we want to be able to recreate everything on the record when we play live, so there aren't too many crazy overdubs, synths or other things. Everyone is different in how they approach recording. I feel one should do whatever feels good and right for them. 

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/Bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?
We've been fortunate to have Dave Allison from Custom Made Music help put out our last 3 releases. Having someone believe in what you do and help get the music out is invaluable. DIY is also very important because it allows your music to reach the world, but you need to really put in the work and make meaningful connections with like-minded bands and blogs. If the music is good, people will be willing to listen.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?
I like how finite a tape or a vinyl record can be. There is something very poetic about only being able to play something so many times before it wears out and goes way. That makes every listen special. 

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?
So many bands and artists were a huge influence on me and the Clouds. For me personally, Joao Gilberto for his velvet vocal delivery and beautiful chord progressions, my dad Heriberto Pineda for playing beautiful melodies and accenting them with lush chords. The Pixies for writing really well written songs and using very simple guitar solos/melodies. As a band, Slowdive and MBV were HUGE influences when starting out for the usage of dense dreamscapes, whammy attacks, female vocals and just the overall vibe. Blouse were also very essential to us when we were starting out.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?
Life is short, make the music you want to make. Be eternal.