The Clouds Celebrating The 30th Anniversary Of ‘Penny Century’

THE CLOUDS were one of the brightest shining lights of the early 90s golden era of Australian Indie Music releasing some fine indie nuggets… at times dream pop, sometimes shoe gaze-y, every now and then guitar crunch, but always with a pop sensibility. Their 1991 debut Penny Century was brimming with pure indie guitar pop goodness including Hieronymus, Soul Eater, Anthem and more. The album reached #14 on the Australian Charts and was Certified Gold! To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Penny Century the classic line-up of Jodi Phillis (Guitar/Vocals), Trish Young (Bass/Vocals), Dave Easton (Guitar) and Raphael Whittingham (Drums) will play Penny Century in full plus a special encore of Hits including Say It, Cloud Factory, Red Serenade, Bower of Bliss, Sweetest Thing and more. Jodi Phillis talks to Hi Fi Way about the tour.

With the build up to this tour you must be really looking forward to it?
Yeah, it’s going to be fun. We’ve been in preparation mode.

How’s that going so far? Does it feel like it’s like re reliving good times? Younger times?
It is actually. It’s really nice, knowing we’ve got this short period together and celebrating a part of our legacy that came from a very exciting time in Australian music.

It really does seem like that the album Penny Century quantified our teenage year. Are you amazed by its ongoing legacy?
I know it’s one of those records. I think that’s why it’s so special to people because it was released at a time when it was a pretty good time, really. It seemed like there was a whole bunch of people who had just started Uni or was a really formative period and those people kind of stuck with us. Even just looking back it’s weird. I don’t know how to explain it, but I do listen to the record and go, wow, it’s pretty nice. It’s pretty sweet! It was a beautiful recording as well.

At the time of making the album did you have that feeling that you had a special group of songs?
Oh, no you can’t tell that, you don’t know. I didn’t know that at the time, but I mean, we were chasing goosebumps, that’s what we did it for. If we had a song, Trish and I worked up a song, then took it to the band and when we got in there everyone started making up their parts and then you got goosebumps. That’s what it was all about for me. So, I guess goosebumps stand the test of time, music that goosebumps.

Even rehearsing do you still get those goosebumps playing these songs?
We don’t see each other because Raph lives in Perth, I’m in Wollongong, Dave and Trish are in Sydney. So, it’s not like we regularly play or hang out or have jams, it’s rare. We just basically get together and get ourselves organised for a tour. When get in the room, it will be fun, it will be great.

What sort of moments stand out for you when the album came out at the time?
Oh gosh. I think just in general overall it was just a feeling of excitement and high creativity. There was a buzz, record labels, publishers and everyone, all these people were out searching for bands, new bands and we were right in there. There were so many good bands. It was totally different time. I don’t know what it’s like for a young band now.

Looking back would you do anything different or change anything?
I think we would have organised later flights in general and we would have organised more days off between shows, things like that for mental and physical health. All that stuff I think we would be more adamant about, at the time we just kind of went with it. I think practicing more wisdom with the tour schedule and everything probably would have made things a bit easier and a bit smoother. I think we just did the best we could.

On this tour are you playing Penny Century start to end or a different order completely?
We did contemplate playing it backwards and when we got in the rehearsal room if we played it backwards and it felt really great, we may just do that, but not sure. I think it’s important because as a band and as an artist who makes albums, I’ve made lots of albums now, the track order is really important. You spend a long time trying to figure out the right running order. That’s an important thing to stay true to. However, the running order for an album and then the set list order is a very different kind of beast. It’s different, you want a climax at the end of a live show and with an album you want to go out with your strongest song and go bang. It is a little bit like, which way do we go here? You know what I mean?

Did some songs take more rehearsing than others?
Absolutely. There are a couple of very tricky little numbers in there that we basically didn’t play live because they were too hard to play. So, now we have to play them, that will be challenging and interesting.

How do you think you might approach that? Do you think you might strip it right back or try and play it as it was intended?
We want to play it as if it’s like it listening to the album basically. We think that’s important because we’re celebrating the album and we want to stay pretty true to that.

Beyond the tour is the magi still there to want to work on new songs?
The magic will always be there if we chose to do it. Trish and I already have a swag of songs hanging around, but we’re not really in the place to do that right now. I won’t say never, but it’s not something we’re talking about now.

Do you have plenty of great memories playing in Adelaide?
Oh yeah, always. We always feel totally at home in Adelaide and we love playing there. The Gov is great, nice family hangout joint. It’s going to be great.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch The Clouds on the following dates, tickets from Metropolis Touring

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