Cloud Cult plays at 9 p.m. Friday at the Kirby Ballroom at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Tickets are $10 and available at here.
There is a lot that is new in the Cloud Cult family: Craig and Connie Minowa packed up the farm near Sandstone, Minn., and moved to 15 acres outside of Madison. Some of the experimental band’s hard-to-find music was re-mastered and re-released. An album slated for a summer release is in the works, there is a countdown to a national tour, and they added another multi-instrumentalist to the band’s already sensory-packed stage.
Much of this is directly related to Nova Minowa — the baby boy who was born in October.
When it comes to science, a nova is a new star that shines brighter pulling from the chaos around it. There is no mistaking the metaphor. In 2002, the Minowa’s 2-year-old son Kaidin died in his sleep. Nova is the couple’s second child.
“We waited a really long time to work through a lot of the loss that we had from before to rebuild our lives together, and we just count our blessings every day,” Craig Minowa said in a phone interview. “It’s wonderful to hold life in our arms today. It’s brought light to Connie’s paintings, and to the music we’re working on.”
Here are the outtakes from Thursday’s story on the band. Craig Minowa on …
SCORING MUSIC FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
“The producer of one of the documentaries, a special on the grizzly bear, was a Cloud Cult fan. He emailed and asked if it would be possible to score something for the documentary. It was the most amazing email I received in a long time. In high school, I wanted to study music composition and score for National Georgraphic.
My teacher told me to focus on instrument repair instead. I focused on playing in a band.
[National Geographic] liked the music and they offerend me six more. … I really enjoy doing it. It’s nice because they want it in the style that I typically write.”
THE GENESIS OF THE SLEEP MASK HE WEARS ON STAGE
“I’ve always had pretty significant performance anxiety – an intense amount of anxiety before shows. I have weeks of unhealthy anxiety, and it was enough so that, the reason Cloud Cult was a studio band strictly was I couldn’t imagine making a livelihood of going on stage. At times I couldn’t perform. My hands were locking up. The mask was something where I was getting in the habit of meditating or taking a nap before show time to put me in a state of dreaming, and remind me of what the music was about, why I was there, and putting my priorities straight. I was wearing the maks and forgot to take it off. When I realized it was still up there, it felt ritualistic – somewhere between sleeping and being conscious. For me, as a ritual before the show to put me in the mindset of where I need to be.
ON MY RESPONSE TO ‘WELL, IT LOOKS COOL’
“My mom would beg to differ.”
ON HAVING A CARTOON LIKENESS OF CLOUD CULT IN THE ESURANCE COMMERCIAL
“It was pretty neat. It felt like in some alternate universe out there, there was a form of ourselves. So I always wondered what the E-Surance Craig was doing out there. It didn’t feel like us. Once you see yourself acting out in cartoon form, you wonder what kind of life their having.”
ON HOW THE BAND WANTS TO HAVE A PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TOUR
“We’re still working on that for the fall national tour we’ll be on to promote the new album. Right now we’re working on the complexities of having our first national tour with a baby, and being in cities where you have to load onto Amtrak at 3 a.m. It might be something we do when we feel more stable traveling with the new baby. We’re super sensitive parents. We don’t like to be away long, or upset his schedule. It could be in the fall.”
ON MOVING TO NEAR MADISON
“There are multiple reasons. When we lived in Duluth, when we had Kaidin, we were four hours from the town we grew up in. We didn’t get back to see the grandparents as frequently as we liked. We wanted them to have a bigger role in our lives. Duluth is really the city both Connie and I feel most connected with. It feels most like home. WE needed to be closer to the family. We searched for quite awhile for a city with the same feel of sustainability and arts and music.”