Overcasters’ Kurt Ottaway
- Michael Cera on the evolution of George Michael Bluth and working in Arrested Development’s writers’ room
- Sarah Polley on laying her family history bare in the new documentary Stories We Tell
- Noah Baumbach on how Frances Ha helped him see New York City with new eyes
- Amy Schumer had to be talked into making the show of her dreams
- Joe Hill on his new novel, Locke & Key’s end, and why ideas are just glue
In October 2010, Denver rockers Overcasters put together the first-ever Gathering Of The Clouds in guitarist Kurt Ottaway’s warehouse space called the Weather Center. Now, a little more than a year later, the quartet is putting on the second Gathering Of The Clouds as a three-day mini-festival with DJs; national acts Spindrift and Twin Guns; and a ton of local music from musicians including Land Lines, Wire Faces, and Jay Munly from Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, among others. Not only is this set to be one of the most exciting shows of the year, but it will also serve as Overcasters’ release party for their sophomore album, Curses/Prayers. Before the festival kicks off, The A.V. Club talked to Ottaway about Gathering Of The Clouds, recording the new album, and Denver’s music community.
The A.V. Club: The lineup for The Gathering Of The Clouds has a lot of bands with a similar dark, brooding vibe. Was that intentional?
KO: I think what it is, more than that, is it’s really about a neighborhood. The world is just one big, giant neighborhood. From that neighborhood, there’s people that we really love and we like spending time around. We really respect and care about what they do. So instead of any big story about any kind of scene, it’s just about a small neighborhood of people who really dig each other.
Really, all of my good friends and people that I really care about get to come together and be in a club for three nights nurturing and respecting what we do. It’s an escape from just the same old, same old. We’re trying to put a little bit more spark on top of everything.
AVC: How is this second Gathering Of The Clouds going to be different from the first?
KO: I think it’s a little bit more diverse. The last one was really, really DIY. I did it in my warehouse space. We have national acts on this one, and we didn’t on the last one. Hopefully we can just grow it a little bit each time we do it so that it still has the same kind of homespun feel, but there’s more people getting enlightened and turned on to it because it’s really a fun three nights.
AVC: How did you get national acts Twin Guns and Spindrift on the bill?
KO: Twin Guns put out a CD earlier this year, and I love it! Jim Chandler—he used to be a Colorado native—he lives in Brooklyn now. His first band, The Down And Outs, played with my old band all the time. So we’ve just been in the same tributary of music for a long time, and we have a lot of mutual respect for each other. So Twin Guns was really psyched to get on the bill.
We’ve been checking out Spindrift here and there. They tour relentlessly, and they’re such a cool group of people. We asked ’em if they wanted to do it, and they were like, “Yeah! Here’s what we need to do it,” and we made it happen. They seem like they’re really excited about doing it, so it turned out pretty well.
AVC: Is there anyone you’re particularly excited about seeing at the show?
KO: It’s kind of just a big, extended rock ’n’ roll family. There’s acquaintances and people that I’ve known for more than three decades that’ll be there. It’s exciting to me because they allow something like this to happen in America. I’m super excited to play with Twin Guns and Le Divorce and Wire Faces for the first time. Plus, there’s gonna be a few bands that I haven’t seen yet in their new incarnations. I’m planning on just showing up on Thursday, taking three days off of work, and really not doing much other than that.
AVC: How would you describe your sound?
KO: I don’t know. It’s just created in an idealistic manner by four people. I play the guitar sounds and try to make the guitar sound as much like a sea monster as I possibly can. It all gets blended together, and we play what we feel. It’s probably just a collection of all the things we really love about music.
AVC: Why did you decide to release the new album this way, as opposed to just one show?
KO: My community is not really about me. It’s about all the people that make up Denver. What makes it a great place to be is the people. Putting out a CD is wonderful; playing a club is probably the best thing a band does all year, so I figured why not bring all the people I really dig into one room and share that with them? Because it’s not really about me that much; it’s about everyone.
AVC: If you do a third one, would that also be a CD-release show?
KO: It probably will. It’s not so much that we want to repeat ourselves, but we want to let people know that it’s okay to dream a little bit and do something bigger than yourself. I think it focuses a little bit more on the dream, rather than throwing something into a club on a Friday or Saturday night. Hopefully this will inspire some people. That’s all we’re really trying to do.
AVC: What was the recording process like for the new album?
KO: We kinda just do what we want to do, because in a band, really, there’s no rules. We make the rules. We have a producer in Rick Parker, who we hold in high regard. He’s a really good friend of ours now, and it’s just a wonderful experience to go to the West Coast and record with him. We have fun while we’re there, we get to be creative, and it’s kind of like our yearly vacation to go and make a record.
It’s a little scary to go to a place you’re unfamiliar with, so we try to go to a different studio every time and grab a little bit of that desperation when we record. Hopefully it transfers.
This album’s a bit more sonic, a bit more straight-to-the-point. It comes right out blazing. Hopefully, if we’re lucky, some people will enjoy it.
AVC: Are you planning on touring behind the new album?
KO: Absolutely, man! We’ve got some pretty exciting things in the works for that, and I can’t really talk about it. I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers is all I can say right now.
AVC: That’s such a tease!
KO: It’s one of those things that, if you think about it or talk about it too much, you might jinx it.