Runner launch their debut album, Cloud Kingdom, this Friday, June 6, at the Astor Lounge, with Flower Drums and Rabbit Island. BOB GORDON gets the lowdown from vocalist/guitarist, Andrew Clarke, and drummer, Chris Watson.
Runner have been making quite the impression on the local music scene for a couple years now.
Given what they had already put out there, including an EP release and all manner of live shows, the band were clear on what they wanted their first full album, Cloud Kingdom, to evoke.
“Well the EP and the live shows for a long time were just a smattering of individual songs,” says vocalist/guitarist, Andrew Clarke, “and we wrote the EP while we were still figuring out what we wanted to sound like.
“Cloud Kingdom gave us the opportunity to really display the cohesive sound we’d settled on in a larger format.”
As such, Cloud Kingdom features songs both guided by the experience of playing them live and others that are very much ‘of the studio’.
“The studio experience at Blackbird was a bit of a mix’n’match,” explains drummer, Chris Watson. “Some songs were fully demoed and rehearsed – and even played live – before we entered the studio; some were almost completely written while we were there. It’s definitely the case that as the songs were taking shape, we got a lot of new ideas and wanted to try keep adding more instruments, but none of the tracks deviated too much from our initial jam room demos.”
Quite happily for the band, the creative fruition of some initial tracks in some ways became the template for the rest of the LP.
“In our first main recording sessions we tracked five or so songs, including Islands, Spooking and Cloud Kingdom, which we thought most obviously contained some of the themes and elements we were going for,” Clarke says. “It wasn’t completely intentional, but these tracks ended up framing and influencing the whole album.”
In only a few short years, there’s been a definite evolution for Runner, both personnel-wise and as a result, musically.
“The band started out as a three-piece,” Watson recalls, “playing solely instrumental post-rocky tunes. We added the gentle percussive hands of John Lekias, mainly because he was trending at the time. Jason Pang was initially a substitute, but we were pretty taken with his guitar licks and lack of facial hair, so he stuck around too.
“With these guys joining the band we really wanted to find a medium between our instrumental and vocal-driven influences. We’ve never really strayed too far from our post-rock beginnings, we’ve just always wanted to do more with every release.”
Completing an album is in itself an accomplishment, but more roads obviously lay ahead.
“For the immediate future we’re really just focussed on the local launches and getting the music out there online,” Clarke says. “I guess what happens after that is really dependent on how well it’s received, but we definitely have the desire and material to keep recording music.”