Crack Cloud are not your traditional band. A mixed media collective formed in Calgary, Canada, the group have a fluid membership which sometimes includes up to 20 members. As a wider collective Crack Cloud incorporate music, film and visual art as a way of dealing with their past experiences with addiction, homelessness and other issues. Formed as a self-described rehabilitation programme, they have modelled their ethos around harm reduction, care and prevention.
We speak to the group ahead of a summer tour, where seven musicians from the collective will play dates across the UK and Europe throughout May, June and August. This musical output, recorded so far on two EPs, finds its roots in the post-punk tradition, but also borrows from everything from hip hop to afrobeat.
Coming from diverse cultures and different communities, the 'collective' is central to Crack Cloud. With numerous members from varying backgrounds and communities, they describe how their work is crucially 'informed and cultivated through the intersectionality' of the group's members, and touring gives the group the opportunity to experience yet more places and cultures.
This openness can be clearly heard in their music, with the group listening to everything and taking inspiration from artistic disciplines outside of music. Visuals are key, and the collective counts filmmakers and visual artists within its ranks. In press shots, in music videos and often onstage, the band have a striking look, with painted faces and cult-like demeanour, hinting towards anarcho-punk bands of yore.
Live, the band are a fast and frenetic force, with the seven touring members pounding out their angular rhythms on various drums, synths, guitars, other instruments. They seamlessly blend their disparate styles into a sound that is equal parts furious and rhythmic. Their shows have gained them as much attention as their recorded output, something the group sees as deliberate, regarding 'the live performance and the theatrical dynamics of the recorded music' as two sides of the same coin.
Always exciting, Crack Cloud exist in a unique space, offering insight into past ordeals in a way other artistic groups cannot. When asked about how their experiences feed into their music, the group state that they 'make art about destructive patterns so that we can reflect, contextualise, and correct them'. They will be on tour throughout the summer, previewing tracks from their upcoming debut album which they assure us will be out by the end of the year.
Crack Cloud play The Great Escape, Brighton, Thu 9 May; Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, Wed 15 May.
Vancouver multimedia collective to some, many-headed BEAST to others. This (at the moment) seven-person-strong collective produce punk dance anthems that they use as a means of therapy for addiction. Restless punk and and explosive hip-hop narrative that's gonna go off live. This is an 18+ event.