Spring winds blow, flowers bloom, and Flat Cloud rolls Mar. 20 to the Flat Iron with Youth League, Limn, and Toothsome.
“Flat Cloud is just really into DIY oriented stuff and video game music,” they explained as a nebulous entity. The three-piece, “who just have to dance,” hangs over Greensboro, and has been in the works for “about seven moon cycles.”
“We were going to do a cover band, and then songs started coming out,” they explained of their origins. Like flower bulbs, “we started from the bottom up,” they said with a shift to the “pretty good gardens” they’re pumped to get started in the spring. The gaggle of green thumbs shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Flat Cloud comes from the fellas behind Cucumbers. “Flat Cloud is essentially Cucumbers without Kyle,” they noted of the Cucumbers guitarist who “had a baby person and moved to a triangle.”The last Cucumbers show was during GSOFest at the Crown in 2017. In the years since “Nick rode his bike to Seattle, David got chickens, and Stack transformed some robots,” they explained of the hiatus in their unit. “Stack and David have always wanted to keep playing; we just waited for Nick.”
Upon his return, Nick “kept spewing songs out of his bulbous heart,” and the three rejoined. Cucumbers fans will notice a switch, with Nick now on guitar and Stack on bass. “David will always be the drummer,” they insisted.
The new group needed a new name. For Flat Cloud, inspiration came on a whim. “One time, David exclaimed that he coughed up a ‘fat cloud’ of smoke, but everyone else heard ‘flat cloud,’” they explained, “and we all jumped up and down with excitement.” And thus, the name was born. Noting that Flat Cloud was “very, very easy to say,” it’s become a tagline: “easy to say, and fun to listen to.”
“Making catchy, fun songs is the goal,“ they noted with a nod to favorite clouds and Nintendo references (which they relayed to be the “Mario cloud” or, more specifically, the “Mario 3 cloud.”)
The video game connection remains relevant. Cucumbers were once described as “dream punk video game music,” and Flat Cloud follows the tradition in song and setup. Beyond straight guitar-playing, Nick has crafted his own light-up foot pedal synthesizer, operated by rainbow arcade-style buttons and functioning basically as an illuminated “foot piano.”
Flat Cloud isn’t afraid to toy-around and would fall in-line between post-punk bands like Blab School and the experimental Basalt, with whom Flat Cloud played their first show at Monstercade back in January. “They wanted Saucer [Stack’s other band], but they got Flat Cloud,” they explained, “we were nervous. It was fun.”
The material pulls from pets and surroundings. They love their animal friends, more than even they realize. Their T-shirt features a Flat Cloud family Dachshund, Big Boi, and song themes expound about little bugs and Stack’s cat, Svetlana.
So far, Flat Cloud has released two self-recorded singles, with more on the way. “Flat Cloud is always working on something,” they insisted. An official record will follow. “Legit Biz would be cool,” they said of potential studios, “and it’s in the neighborhood.”
As for their upcoming show, they’re pumped. “It’s what Greensboro needed,” they noted of the Flat Iron’s revival. “Everyone on that bill is sick,” they added of the line-up. It’ll be the first musical foray into the Flat Iron for the group. “Nick once did an open mic there,” they explained of their experience with the old version, “it was traumatic.”
Less traumatic, but no less intense, was the time the boys spent at the helm of Hellraiser Haus, a DIY house-show venue smuggled into a Fisher Park mansion, through the mid-2010s. “Hosting bands was fun,” they noted. “We just enjoy people-creating,” they said of shaping space and crafting experiences.
“Someone smashing through the front door window was pretty wild,” they recalled of a particular show with New Jersey punkers, Night Birds. “And the fact we raised enough money to repair it that night was endearing,” they added of the generous audience. “It was perfect for the time,” they continued. “And we miss it, like, a lot. But we’re always looking to the future.”
The forecast calls for Flat Cloud. They’ve got other shows in the works. “To the toppermost of the poppermost,” they said regarding their goals and plans. “We’d love to sell out and become one-hit wonders, fading into the ether,” they added.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report on WUAG 103.1FM.
Flat Cloud will float to the Flat Iron with Youth League, Limn, and Toothsome on Mar 20.