Of Clocks and Clouds: Origins & New Music

Photo: Mats Bakken

Of Clocks and Clouds is made up of two guys from Brooklyn – Joe Salgo and Ross Procaccio. The duo has managed to create a sound that is similar to some of my favourites, The Black Keys and TV on the Radio, but has its own unique twist.

Proving that they’re not a one-trick pony, OCAC expects their upcoming album to be a mixture of lots of different genres and sounds. I got to chat with Ross about exactly what types of sounds we can expect from the upcoming album, where the name “Of Clocks and Clouds” came from and some other interesting details about the guys that you may not know.

Creative Control: Where did the name “Of Clocks and Clouds” come from?

Of Clocks and Clouds: When Joe and I first started playing music together I asked him where he got the band name from. He told me about how he had read about this guy Karl Popper, a German scientific philosopher from the early 1900s. Popper 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.

I found this to be a good way to describe our band. Our music has very linear and static moments, meanwhile there are moments where we travel into outer space and get strange. There are times when Joe can be the Clocks and I can be the Clouds and then there’s times where we alternate. I’ve found the name Joe chose for our band to be a great way to describe our music.

CC: Were you guys friends before bandmates? How did you meet?

OCAC: A long, long time ago in a far, far away place called Williamsburg after playing a show with this other band, I met this interesting and kinda weird dude by the name of Joe. Turns out that we were both born and raised in Brooklyn, which is a rare thing to find in NYC these days.  We got into a night long discussion about music and his new project Of Clocks and Clouds. After a long night of drinking, partying, and I think people hurling eggs over a fence while we were in the backyard of this speakeasy, I somehow got home.

I woke up hungover, picked up my phone and saw a message from this guy Joe Salgo. And thought, “Who the fuck is this guy?” The night before was a complete blur. He was talking about what a good time we had and asked me If I knew any drummers that would be interested in working with him. We got to talking. I knew a drummer. I’m a drummer.

History was made.

CC: I’ve read that the upcoming album is a break up album. What was it like writing song after song about something about that?

OCAC: In the writing process Joe is the poet and main lyricist. I occasionally toss in a few words here and there so I can’t exactly tell you what it’s like to write all the lyrics. I’ve always had the inspiration and ideas but have never had the gift of putting pen to paper.  

What I will say is this, Joe and I simultaneously went through bad breakups a while back. He covers the parallel experiences in his lyrics so well that when I sing the backup vocals at rehearsals and shows, many times, they relate to me in such a way they almost feel like my own.

CC: The single from your upcoming album Another Life doesn’t seem quite as heavy as some of your previous tunes. Is that a direction we can expect for the rest of your album?

OCAC: Similar to our last album, this is a pretty diverse record. We went heavy to soft, electronic to O’ Natural, sexy R&B (ish) to Latin. On this album, there’s something for the whole family… even that uncle you’re not actually blood related to that’s your parents best friend they used to smoke pot with in high school. I’m talking to you, Uncle Barry!

CC: Duos seem to be a trend in the music industry over the last few years – The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Matt & Kim are all hugely successful duos. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a two-person band?

OCAC: Advantage: Much easier to to schedule rehearsal. Less schedules to coordinate.

Disadvantage: If Joe has one idea and mine is different we have to flip a coin. The problem is our special coin rolled away last time we flipped it and since we couldn’t find it… we decided to get a bassist instead of a new coin.

CC: You’re pretty active on social media; are those platforms important to you? Why or why not?

OCAC: In today’s day and age, it’s all about the social media. From what you had for breakfast to which bar you blacked out at the end of the night, it’s been posted. Everyone needs it. It’s the opiate of the masses. It’s not whether we like it or not. We just have to use it if want to get our music out to the people.

CC: What is your favourite song to perform and why?

OCAC: Personally, I enjoy playing the untitled song off our new album. I put a lot of work into writing the drum part and it’s an exciting part to play. I also like to perform it because we made a game out of it too. When we play it live, we ask the crowd to come up with a name for it and write it down on a bar napkin and give it to us after a show. My favorite name so far is “the Michael Jordan whip cream experience.” Definitely a possibility.

CC: You’re both listed as playing “electronics” in the band. What electro instruments do you each use?

OCAC: Joe uses the software Reason to create a lot of the synth sounds and backing tracks. We also use it to map out songs before we take them into the studio. He does a lot of looping and delays live- two line6 DL4s chained together. He also uses the Arturia micro synth.

I’ve started to use [a] Rolland SPDS running through my old bass rig. In my bass pedalboard I use an old Yamaha compressor, Rat Distortion Clone, Boss Octave, QTron and a Boss DD6. I figured out how to make some strange spacey sounds with it. It’s fun.

CC:  If you could collaborate with any musician, who would it be?

OCAC: Probably Kip Malone from TV on the Radio.  I got to talk to him after I saw his solo show a while back. Over all he seemed like a pretty cool dude. His falsettos are amazing, his ideas are great, and hey… Brooklyn in the house.

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