“ I recited his Rap as if it was my own, and because I had learnt it, I realised I could do it myself.”
While at university in Aberystwyth, Wales, I became friends with a guy called Omar Walton-Jeffers and ended up living with him during my 3rd year. He’s recently started making music under the alias Cloud and I thought I’d catch up with him to see what his music is about and how he got into the music scene in the first place.
What is the Element of Cloud?
“The Element of Cloud is my Facebook page that I upload my music to. Its a branch name of Cloud. I chose the name myself. My friends wanted to call me Coach! Its where I promote my music and my producer (Bay Blanco) and his music.
I upload all my music to Soundcloud and then onto my Facebook Page since I want to make it easier for people to access my music. At the moment you have to sign up to Soundcloud and a lot of people don’t want to do that. I’m working on other ways that people can access my music, but if you have a chance search the Element of Cloud on Facebook.”
How did you first get into music?
“I’ve always been into music. I used to play piano and bass. I also used to be in a band called the Legumes. We made a track called Black and White Rainbow and put it on YouTube.
When I was younger, I’d rap. People would put me down and tell me to give up, even around the house. But as I got older, I began to understand the world a lot more. I started talking about stuff that I felt was important to me. The only way I could express myself was with music.
Music has always been drilled into me by my Mum. She pushed me but regrettably I didn’t listen. However, I learnt a lot about different genres of music. As a result when I apply that to rap I can rap on any beat. I know how music works, and I’m quite practiced, I have probably played the piano for over a 1000 hours!”
How did things change when you moved to Aberystwyth?
“When I went to Aberystwyth I didn’t have any instruments, I didn’t have any equipment, I only had my voice. But soon I had a group of people who supported me that helped me grow. Before, I was afraid to perform in front of anyone, but they helped boost my confidence. I was condensing my feelings and speaking them. Listening back to my raps, I hear my voice, the voice of sense, the voice of reason. So when I’m in a dark place I go back and listen to my lyrics and tell myself its fine. I’ve already been there before.“
You seem to have a vast musical history that spans many genres, what attracted you to Grime?
“The vibe I was getting. I could say anything and I liked that. I liked that it’s the “unpolished craft”, nothing has to be perfect – I hate things being perfect. For three years I listened to Rinse FM and it made me wanna do it. When I first started I learnt 32 bars of one of AJ Tracey’s Raps. I recited his Rap as if it was my own, and because I had learnt it, I realised I could do it myself.”
Who are some of your inspirations?
“Craig Nicolson – he gave me my first gig at Buzz. He mixed with me everyday, kept drilling it into me, kept giving me opportunities to develop and he never once put me down. He gave me the ability. If I was ever in a tough place, he gave me a place to clam down and do some mixing. Much respect, he’s a brother I never had.”
What about influences?
“My influences: Timothy Pineiro, Luke Doran and Adam Matthews.
[Talking about his first performance] Loads of my friends said they would come, but no one showed, but these guys did. Thats why I did the whole “Jake and Tim” thing in one of my bars. When I was exposed they were there for me and, musically, Adam, Luke and Timothy have taught me so much.
I could have named famous people but I’ve never met them. I am influenced by the people around me. They are the ones that have helped me on my journey and continue to do so.”
You mentioned something called Buzz, what is it?
“Buzz is a multi-genre music events company based in Aberystwyth, Wales that plays all sorts of music. Drum ‘n’ Bass, Garage, House, Techno etc. You name it and they’ve probably played it! It’s a chance for people to be given a different experience of music.
Since Buzz started, I’ve seen DJs like Ettienne, Johnny and Luke develop. Everyone is at different levels of learning, but we are all there for our shared love of music and to have fun. There is a performance in the Angel Inn, Aberystwyth on the 14th of July 2017 called the Warped Up Party. If you’re in the area check it out!”
Currently you have released two tracks, but tell me about “Ark One – Superbia”.
“Each track off the album is named after one of the seven deadly sins and Ark One – Superbia is the first chapter. I was trying to get out there. It’s a brief introduction of who I am. The second track (Acedia) is more about my views. I was speaking about what was on my mind.
This is where the album takes place. I’m explaining myself using the seven deadly sins and every track builds on the last. If you acknowledge that you sin, you learn a lot more about yourself. People will get to know the real me. Perhaps I can play it to my children one day when they’re angry. I can play it to my kid and say you were never as angry as me!”
Does anyone help you with the creative process or is it just you?
“I write the lyrics myself and my producer Bay Blanco handles the creative process. He knows what sounds right and he helps me with my flow. In terms of inspiration my friends help me. They are the people that influence me since I write about my day to day experiences and the people around me. The lyrics are all my own feelings. Sometimes I’m in a dark place depressed in my room and sometimes I’m in a happy place just chilling with mates around me. Whatever the mood, I just needed to write it and get it out there, so I can see it and visualise it.”
Do you have any parting words?
“Only to say thank you to you (Jake Doran) for giving me the opportunity to expand through this interview. People should make sure to follow for future posts!”
You can keep up to date with all things Cloud by following him on SoundCloud or liking his Facebook page: The Element of Cloud.
Big thanks to Cloud for giving me the time to do this piece. It’s something different that I’ve been wanting to get into for a while now and hopefully you’ll see more of these posts in the near future. Who knows, maybe even another catchup with Cloud 6 months down the line?
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