In a land where so many bands sound the same, where funk bands start to jam and jam bands start to funk, it’s a refreshing treat to discover a reactionary group that produces music to spite this trend of homogeny. This is one of the reasons the crew here at Sound Fix is drawn to groups like lespecial, Ross Jenssen, and The Disco Biscuits, and it’s a big factor to our newfound fascination with New York City’s Of Clocks and Clouds.
I first listened to OCAC’s music when they opened for Lord Electro a few months ago at Arlene’s Grocery in LES. Lead singer and vocalist Joe Salgo blew me away with his composed stage presence, heavy guitar dexterity, and confident vocals. The band welded together experimental metal elements, psychedelic electronic production, tight improvisation and tasteful covers. Upon leaving the venue every attendee including myself knew we were on to something, and that this band had the potential to accomplish great things with their unique brand of experimental psychedelic rock.
Founded by Joe and OCAC’s drummer Ross Procaccio in 2013, Of Clocks and Clouds have made huge strides since their inception in and around New York City. In addition to two full length albums, You (2014) and Better Off (2016), OCAC recently recalibrated and finalized their current stack with the addition of bassist Max Devlin. With ambitious but achievable goals outlined for the next two years, we’re confident Of Clocks and Clouds will quickly become a regularly featured band in popular venues and major festivals in the tri-state area and beyond. Ahead of OCAC’s big gig at Bowery Electric on July 6th with Western Mass’s Ross Jenssen (interview) and Long Island’s Zestrove (tickets), we caught up with Joe to discuss new music, the history of the band, and their new bassist, Max.
Sound Fix: Hey Joe – thanks for taking some time here to catch up with us. To kick things off, we’re just over half way through 2017, which has honestly been a crazy year for everyone. With regards to Of Clocks and Clouds, how’s 2017 treated the band?
Joe Salgo: Hey Sam- thanks for having me. So far, 2017 has been Of Clocks and Clouds’ (OCACs’) best year to date by far. We’ve been playing amazing venues with great bands, doing bigger and better shows reaching much broader audiences. We’ve shot a music video and have recorded some new songs. We’ve pivoted towards the jam band scene and so far the fans have been great. Our sound is changing, too, as we’ve recently brought in a new bass player, Max Devlin, another Brooklyn native. He wields a five-string custom Carl Thompson bass and adds a low-end thickness to our sound that really gives it a new, richer dimension.
SF: For someone new to Of Clocks and Clouds, tell us the story of the group’s formation. What inspired and under what circumstances did Of Clock and Clouds become a band?
JS: I started writing music for what would become OCAC a few years back. Not long after I met Ross – our drummer – at another band’s show. We discovered we were both born and raised in Brooklyn, we had similar taste in music and were both looking to start a band. We’ve been playing and making music together ever since.
SF: In a similar type of vein, for someone new to the band how would you describe the OCAC’s sound?
JS: We are a psychedelic electronic rock band. Sorta The Black Keys meets Radiohead, plus we jam. But that’s an oversimplification. Our musical influences run deep and you can hear those influences in the music. I’ve been told we sound like Tool meets The Flaming Lips. I like that. Actually, our name is meant to capture our vibe — Clocks suggest steady beats, tight and in tempo, while Clouds conjure the ambient psychedelic sounds that change every time we play live.
SF: Looking back at your personal musical background, when did you start playing the guitar? Have you been involved in any projects before Of Clocks and Clouds?
JS: I’ve been playing guitar for over 20 years. I began teaching myself guitar when I was 12. My daily ritual was coming home after school and playing in my room for hours. In High School I played in a punk band called “The Wastebaskets.” We were terrible. Our hits included songs with titles such as “Lazy and Fat” and “Roaches in my Coffee.” After college, I started playing in bands as a guitarist and vocalist with some success. But I was never completely satisfied playing other people’s songs. A few years in and I started messing around with electronic production. Almost accidentally I found myself writing songs for a new project which became Of Clocks and Clouds.
SF: The band’s from New York City, and so are we. If you had to name three up-and-coming bands from the city that you respect and would like to give a shout out here, who would they be?
JS: First off shoutout to my brother Nick’s band BEE. For those in the jam world, this three piece really knows how to rip it open. I’m very proud of my little bro and his musical abilities. You guys should also check out Kaptive. It’s our bass player’s other band. Very cool, dark tunes with prominent bass. Max really shows off his slapping skills in his band. Finally I’d say Johnny and the Bootlegs – our good friend and former collaborator John Santiago’s band. They are doing a June residency every Sunday in Manhattan at Otto’s Shrunken Head.
SF: We’re always interested to hear about new music in the works. What are you at liberty to share with us here about new tunes?
JS: We recently released a cover of “Subterranean Homesick Alien” by Radiohead (check it out below and on OCAC’s BandCamp page). We have a new music video and a single EP coming soon. We’ve also started to write material with our new bass player. Look for us to start introducing those new songs into our live shows.
SF: What are your goals and what’s your vision for Of Clocks and Clouds in 2018?
JS: Our new management has a very ambitious touring plan for us, which we are extremely excited about – traveling aggressively and hooking up with other like-minded bands and fans will definitely be a focus, especially in the jam world. Some new recordings with Max now on board and some juicy 2018 festival slots in the Spring/Summer are also central to the overall plan.
SF: Any upcoming shows or events you’re most excited about?
JS: July 6th at Bowery Electric with Ross Jenssen and Zestrove is gonna be off the hook (tickets). Then 8/2 at American Beauty we are opening for Mister F (tickets). We’re super pumped about both shows.
SF: Finally, I always end with an open forum. Anything else you’d like to share with us here that we haven’t already covered?
JS: Well, I’d just like to say thank you for including us in Sound Fix. We are independent artists that have poured our blood, sweat and tears into this – so it means a lot to be featured here. Check out our music. Come to our shows. Tell your friends.