Among fans, melodic punk band Cloud Nothings is known for fast tempos, noisy guitars and nearly constant touring.
So it comes as something of a surprise that the band has spent the last year dialing back all three of those things. The group’s latest album, “Life Without Sound,” was made during an extended break from the road and amps up the pop melodies that were always at the heart of even its loudest songs.
amNewYork spoke with singer-songwriter-guitarist Dylan Baldi.
You’ve talked about how your life was crazy when you wrote your last album. What was on your mind as you wrote this one?
I’m not sure what was on my mind, but I know it was a calmer, quieter period in my life. We weren’t touring really at all. For the most part, I was just hanging out at home and enjoying not feeling like a crazy person. … I guess that’s what was on my mind, just trying to decompress.
Was this an opportunity to go back to the pop-oriented songwriting of the band’s very early days?
Not necessarily. A lot of how it happened was that I decided to write this record on an acoustic guitar — just me playing and singing. I wanted the songs to be good when they were that stripped down. It’s fun to make noise, but sometimes you start thinking “Is this song a good song or is it just cool sounds?”
How have you changed as a songwriter from the last album to this one?
Every time we make a record, my only goal as a songwriter is to make it sound different and hopefully improved in some way — to have a little more going on or a little more to latch on to. The one big thing was that I had a ton of time. On the last record, we had maybe a month. … We went into the studio not really knowing how to play a couple of the songs, which is an insane thing to do.
You’ve said you tend to focus on music more than lyrics when you write.
The lyrics are more important to me on this record than on the previous record because I spent more time on them. Even still, the melody and tone of a song are what I feel are conveying what I’m trying to say. The words, they mean something, but sometimes when I write I don’t even know what they mean. It’s things that sound good together to me in the moment. … It takes me a little time to figure out what I was trying to say. There’s always a purpose to it. I’m just never quite sure what it is at the time.