Performance major and multi-instrumentalist David Cloyd, one of the exciting new artists on the Engine Company Records roster, steps onto the national stage with his debut album, Unhand Me, You Fiend!
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, David.
My parents were listening to my older sister practice piano one afternoon when they remembered that she was away at a birthday party. I was picking out her etudes by ear. I was about three years old, and I’ve been studying and playing music ever since.
How do you describe your music to people?
If you like Radiohead, Beck, Peter Gabriel, and John Lennon, then you’ll probably like my music.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I like listening to music, writing songs and making records, learning how to play a new instrument, drinking hefeweizen on my porch in the summertime, cooking, watching movies, and hanging out with my wife, though not particularly in that order. I also enjoy coming up with extremely unanswerable interview questions.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Making plans and then throwing them out the window. It’s important to have short-term goals and priorities. How else do you know what to do when you wake up in the morning? And long-term goals are just as important. If you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll find yourself walking in circles and you won’t even realize it. But very often, something happens (or doesn’t happen) that requires you to take a well-conceived plan, throw it out the window, and start again from zero. And you either embrace that Sisyphean process or you don’t. Anyone who has studied thermodynamics knows that entropy isn’t an abstract thought, it’s a very real and powerful force—it’s why we have to clean the house, do the dishes, and take out the trash. You can’t stop it, you just have to decide to either laugh or cry about it. So I laugh, and then I keep on laughing until I’m crying. The only way to beat entropy is to confuse it.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I don’t remember wanting to be anything but a musician. I don’t think I even went through a fireman phase or anything like that. What an oddly worded question—what did I think I was going to be? I probably thought I was going to be a jedi knight. I know I practiced piano with the blast shield down.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Living in NYC for so long had incredible influence on me—it pushed my art and my craft to a level that I didn’t know I had in me, and gave me access to everyone and everything that got me to where I am today. I think that living elsewhere before and after that has had just as important an influence on my work, though. It allows me the time and space to keep pushing my music forward while my "normal" family life can continue and flourish in a way that makes me feel, well, normal. I find a lot of beauty in normalcy. It’s the jedi influence again.
What other artists out there do you love?
I played bass and keyboards and sang backing vocals for a record called Rocktronic with my friends Americans UK. It’s such a fun record, and it accompanies an Americans UK comic book series written by the lead singer—rumor has it that I’m going to appear as Cloid the Droid in an upcoming issue, and I can’t wait to see my cartoon/android self. My friend Shara Worden has a project called My Brightest Diamond that I really love, as well as her Asthmatic Kitty label-mate DM Stith. Something happened to me in the last year or so, and I finally understand and embrace the singular greatness of AC/DC, though I haven’t listened to all of their records yet. Honestly, I’m more excited about the Beatles catalogue finally being properly re-mastered and released in mono than just about anything else.
What does your future hold?
I spent the winter and spring deconstructing my album into a solo show—just me, electric guitar, and piano. The new solo versions have such a different feel than the album versions. They really push my playing abilities to the edge and expose the songs in a way I’d never even heard before. My label president and producer Blake Morgan and I are so excited about the results that we’re going to record some of them for release. I have plans for a slightly bigger and more elaborate version of the solo show, plus I’ll be playing label shows with the ECR band from time to time. I’ve been writing songs for the next album since before I started recording Unhand Me, You Fiend! But those wheels never stop turning, touch wood.
In the short term, I will be playing more and more scattered solo shows throughout the northeast. (That sounds like a weather report, doesn’t it?) I also like to play unannounced shows at venues in and around Buffalo, so you never know when you might run into me. I aspire to be a thief in the night.
Check this artist out on iTunes, Amazon, and davidcloydmusic.com