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Album of the Month


The debut full-length from Greek band Automaton is weighty, sludgy, coffin-lid-slamming Doom perfection.
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Lockdown hasn't been too unkind to Clouds, in some senses, thanks to a series of re-releases, and a new album underway.Comrade Aleks talks here to founder Daniel Neagoe (sadly, just before the announcement that he will be resurrecting Eye Of Solitude to finance urgent back surgery) about Clouds and more...

Interview with Clouds.
"Daniel Neagoe is the most prolific Doom-monger amongst those who walk this Earth nowadays. However, his most famous bands for years were Clouds and Eye Of Solitude. He moves from Funeral Doom to Atmospheric Death/Doom and back from band to band, from project to project and you have to be really focused to keep an eye on his progress. The main reason for this interview (if one actually needs a reason) was the reissue of Clouds' album 'Durere' by Cold Art Industry on February 2021…or the reissue of 'Dor' by Personal Records in April...or the re-release of 'Dor II' by GS Productions in March...? Okay, as I said, you don't need a reason to support a band you love and respect! But when we started this interview, Eye Of Solitude had been disbanded for a while, and then I discovered that Daniel made an official statement revealing his motivation to bring it back to life. After a few years with a serious health problem - in the form of three fractured, herniated and perforated discs in the lumbar section of his spine - he's reached the point where surgery is the only way to solve the situation. It was a hard decision, and you can read the whole text in Eye of Solitude's Facebook profile to understand why, but Daniel has set up a number of "crowdfunded" packages for the forthcoming new album in order to raise funds for his further necessary operations. You can support Daniel by pre-ordering 'Godless' from the Eye Of Solitude Bandcamp page."


Talking to Comrade Aleks today, Clouds founder Daniel Neagoe. (Photo: Adrian Coleașă).


Hello Daniel! How are you? Did quarantine lock you in place without any chances to leave?

Hello comrade, quarantine did have its ridiculous moments, however I kept myself busy with family and music so it wasn't bad at all. More time to myself, more time for my son and more time for music.

How have you held up through this period? Have local restrictions changed a lot during this time?

There was this time frame when we couldn't go out at all, however things became a tad easier as the situation regressed, then progressed and regressed again. But keeping a positive attitude was the main point in keeping a sane mind. As I said, my concentration went towards family and catching up with music I wanted to make and never had the time to finalise.

Daniel, first of all, you closed Eye Of Solitude a year ago - considering your involvement with other bands and projects that didn't seem extraordinary - there were other channels for your Doom. But, the same year you joined Aeonian Sorrow. Then there were your new bands Ustkara Ghost and Mourners, and if that's not enough you joined Aphonic Threnody as the vocalist. Does participating in all these bands and projects replace an element you lost with Eye Of Solitude disbanding?

Not at all. Eye of Solitude was my brainchild and it grew over a decade, there were many good things all together happening with this band over ten years.

However, luckily for me, I sense when it's time to stop, if I have nothing more to say with one project, then I lay it to rest. Such is the way, I believe, with how things should progress in music. In regards with the other bands, more time on my hands means more music. Thus, I have had the time to get involved in Aeonian Sorrow, to make the debut album for Mourners and to help with the Aphonic Threnody vocals.

Clouds - 'Durere' (Full album, 2020):


It's said that Mourners serve as an Eye of Solitude"continuation": do you feel that your collaboration with Mihai and Siebe produces a similar vibe to the one you achieved with Eye?

Mourners is indeed as presented. I wanted to continue the funeral doom legacy in a more modern, heavier and darker way than with EoS. It just felt natural. Siebe, however, was present only in name in this band, he never got the chance to do any actual physical work.

Speaking about Aeonian Sorrow's EP, 'A Life Without', which was released a year ago: you recorded drums separately from the band in London, are you used to this way of work nowadays?

Yes, that was the case. Drums were recorded in London, Gogo recorded in Greece and the rest of the band recorded in Finland. It's easier and more cost effective, even though we wished to be all together in one place. But where there's a will, there's a way.

Even though Clouds turned out to be a kind of "national doom treasure", it seems that after the 2016 album release of 'Departe' you stepped down into the underground. Previously you had more guest musicians, from quite famous doom bands, then Clouds seemed to get an almost anonymous status, and now it seems you have returned to "full band" state. Was that something spontaneous?

I wouldn't call it stepping in the underground. Clouds was always in the underground. Regarding the members, it just so happened that one of the lineups was formed of members who play in better known bands and they helped with live shows, thus, somehow, consolidating a better known line-up . However, a band needs to find identity and gather members who would want to dedicate entirely to the band instead of being tied up with other works.

This idea of Clouds being a super group arose from a few elitists who had nothing better to do than to spread a false idea. Clouds was always about the music, not about the image. Proof stands that even after 5 years of existence, barely a few people knew who was actually part of Clouds.

Clouds - 'Dor' (Full album, 2018):


Personal Records re-released Clouds' third album 'Dor', though it was originally released DIY on CD and then on double vinyls back in 2018. What's the story behind this album? Does it stand apart from others work in your discography?

We are talking about a reissue, as will be the case with our back catalogue. I'm afraid there isn't a story per se about this subject. Personal Records wanted to reissue our albums and we've agreed on terms and conditions.

I read somewhere that you see 'Dor' as a "bonus album", why is that? How does it differ conceptually from 'Dor II' released in 2019?

Actually Dor II is the bonus album. The story behind it all is that the set of songs written for the new album consisted of quite a few extra songs, hence we've decided to release them all, as we all considered them worthy of being on disc.

Correct me if I'm wrong but "Dor" means "pain" in Portuguese, while "Durere" means the same in Romanian. Is that title still enough for you to show what Clouds is about?

We're talking about two opposite languages. So, I'm afraid the answer will be a short one. All the titles are in Romanian, Dor means "to yearn, to long for, to miss ". While Durere means pain. And yes, all these titles reflect what Clouds is all about

As I understand it, you recorded 'Durere' with an absolutely new line-up that includes a few musicians from Romania, and only Indee played with you in Eye Of Solitude. How was the current line-up gathered?

Since Durere, the line-up has changed completely. There were far too many discrepancies, some of the members initially thought to be the right ones were revealed to be the exact opposite. Some abandoned ship when the pandemic hit and their expenses could not be paid by the band, as it used to, others were simply dismissed on grounds of un-professionalism.

As I said, a new line-up has been gathered, choices based on background, experience and dedication.


Clouds 2021 line-up.


Clouds released the digital single 'The Path Of Sorrow' on March 26th, and you aimed to use all earnings from donations to hospitals and research in order to help in any way with combating and preventing viruses and diseases such as the coronavirus. Was this decision justified?

Of course. The song had a deep impact, the vocalists who worked together on this song did such an amazing job, friendships were created and we reached our goal.

How did you support the release of 'Durere' when all venues are closed and the metal industry's prospects are still uncertain for an unknown period? Does this situation make you switch your focus more to other subjects, like family?

The pandemic made us postpone a tour twice, had countless shows cancelled and it was a bad thing for all of us. We never got the chance to do anything in promoting Durere as we would have wanted, but we just hope things will calm down and things will return to normal at some point: until then, we wait.

Once you said that "Clouds became the people's band too", and "it was amazing to know so many people resonate with its message and how much it can heal when one finds himself or herself in the image of what the music expresses". Do you still feel the same still?

1000000%

2020 has changed everyone and everything. Did it change your approach towards writing, recording and releasing your litanies in such epic scale?

Not at all. On the contrary, it gave me time to write, to reflect, to consider and reconsider, to gather my thoughts and put them in order, to recover from bad situations and to see things with a clearer understanding.

Clouds' fans got a chance to experience 'Clouds Acoustic', released in December 2020, and now the band is back in the studio working on new material. What and how soon we may expect from Clouds?

We are working on a new album as we speak. I would say that the end of 2021 will definitely see it to life and honestly we can't wait. This has to be the album I am most proud of and I can't wait to present it to the people.

Clouds - 'You Went So Silent' (Acoustic, 2020):



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Interviewed on 2021-05-10 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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