Those of us who regularly write about music are constantly on the lookout for new artists so we can showcase the best of new releases.
One of my sources for new music inspiration comes via a new friend on Twitter, and mixcloud.
Mr. David Reilly hosts a most eclectic, very special music podcast from his Scotland studio.
I thought it might be fun to interview Reilly and share the wealth that is his podcast.
Q: What’s your full name?
A: I’m David Reilly, masquerading as Cloudland Blue Quartet for the last 25 years and, prior to that, known as both Sombre Reptile and The Heavenly Music Corporation.
How long have you have been a music fan?
A: To be honest, for as long as I can remember – the first record I can consciously recall hearing was “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.
After that I have vivid memories of “Good Vibrations”, “Hello Goodbye”, “Downtown” by Petula Clark plus some of my parents’ records. For example, the soundtrack to the Danny Kaye film “The Five Pennies,” and Joe Loss and his Orchestra’s “Wheels Cha Cha.”
My dad introduced me, in the sixties, to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and other classical music. He was a big influence on me.
Q: How long have you been pouring through massive amounts of music to find the best?
A: I started buying singles seriously around 1971, although my first purchase with my own money was “The Wonder of You” by Elvis Presley in 1970.
So, you could say I’ve been doing it for over 50 years – but it was “School’s Out” by the Alice Cooper Group in 1972 that changed everything for me, and put me solidly into the world of music.
Q: Favorite music genres?
A: There are very few genres which I actively don’t enjoy. In my youth, I loved the glam rock of Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Roy Wood and T. Rex. The 1971-1974 era was, for me, the best in pop music.
Then, as I started to buy LPs, I got into rock and progressive rock (although, in those days, it was just slightly more complicated rock), with faves being Yes, ELP, Hawkwind and the mighty Uriah Heep! I visited Germany a few times in my teens and started to enjoy German music such as Cluster, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Faust, Can and Tangerine Dream. This, in turn, led me to minimalist and ambient music.
Brian Eno has always been a touchstone. My own first recordings were influenced by his record “No Pussyfooting” with King Crimson’s Robert Fripp, as well as the debut by The Velvet Underground.
I’ve never really been one to follow fashions and of course, as you get older, there is less peer pressure to “like” particular types of music, so my tastes gradually widened even further. In the late 70’s I started to enjoy jazz, reggae, disco and funk and, of course, punk rock was a godsend for an Alice Cooper fan whose idol had gone “soft.”
Q: What do you look for in new music?
A: Music is a very subjective thing, so I guess there has to be something that kind of connects with me.
My podcast is called the “Cloudland Blue Eclectic Selection” and I chose that name so that I could play anything I wanted, right next to anything else I wanted! So, you might hear a piece of complex modern classical music followed by, say, “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies. As long as it’s “good”, I’ll play it.
I try to feature at least one track from everything I acquire. At present my waiting list to get into each weekly 3-hour show is around 20 hours of music by over 150 different artists and composers – and it’s being added to every day!
Q: How often do you record your brilliant podcasts?
A: I have been recording a weekly podcast since around 2014 – as of today I have over 500 shows available on Mixcloud .
I also do a monthly music only podcast of my top 10 acquisitions that month. And, I do occasional one-off specials on a particular year or the history of an artist.
If I had the time, I could easily do a podcast every day with new music every time!
I’ve also maintained an online diary for the last 16 years and, for around 15 of those, on it, I have listed the records I’ve listened to each day. I often use my diary to remind myself of what I’ve done “on this day” over the last 16 years, and I also listen back to my podcasts, as I can never recall what I’ve played or said! It’s like old me re-introducing current me to great music!
Q: You’re also in a band, can you tell us about that?
A: I’ve been making my own music since 1977, initially as DDHR then Sombre Reptiles and The Heavenly Music Corporation.
Indeed, in 2022 a German Record Company is set to issue 2 double LPs of my early music (1977-1986) as part of a vinyl box set of UK Cassette Culture in the late 70s and early 80s.
Meanwhile, I have issued almost 50 recordings as Cloudland Blue Quartet since 1996 – all of which are available on Bandcamp, 15 of which have been issued since lockdown started in March 2020. Lockdown has been very productive for me!
Unlike my last set of songs, “Sparklemusik” (issued May 7), which took 9 years to record, my latest set, “Fallingsky” (Issued 6 August), was written and recorded very quickly. Seven of the eight songs took shape over the course of a couple of weeks in July.
Since 2012 I’ve become better known for my ambient and soundscape based experimental music, which includes a series based on classical composers’ music (“Satie”, “Cage”, “Beethoven”, “Schoenberg Webern Berg” and, just last month, “Haydn”). There’s also my “Disquietmusik” series (guitarscapes based on Robert Fripp’s Frippertronics) and an LP of piano music, “Dissolution,” released in early April. I’m very happy to say that the songs on both “Sparklemusik” and “Fallingsky” have been very well received indeed.
In June, I celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first Cloudland Blue Quartet recordings with two 2CD sets “Silversongs 1996-2021 (Remakes)” and “Silversounds 1996-2021 (Remixes)” (both released June 4). The former, as the title suggests comprises recent re-recordings of songs from across my catalogue; the latter is a collection of specially created 2021 remixes of one track each from my soundscape LPs released over the last 25 years.
On top of all this, as lockdown eases here in the UK, rehearsals will shortly recommence with my 5 piece band Capital Models, which has been playing on and off, with various lineups, since 1980.
We concentrate on what I like to think are more “hip” covers, playing the likes of Bowie, The Velvets and Eno along with a smattering of other more “popular” songs.
In short, adds Reilly: “I am always busy with music in one way or another!”
Q: We’ve all been in lockdown for quite a while, so just for fun, give us a few of your favorite live albums.
A: Well, I love a few 70s classics such as Hawkwind’s “A Space Ritual”, “Genesis Live”, ELP’s “Welcome Back My Friends,” and Deep Purple’s “Made in Japan.”
The Velvet Underground’s “1969” is also classic.
The most recent, to come full circle, has to be Alice Cooper’s “A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper” which was released a couple of years back. The DVD of this set was part of his new LP “Detroit Stories,” and watching that was just like being there but in the comfort of your own home – something you appreciate as you get older!
That’s a wrap!
Reilly’s podcasts are a delightful blend of a variety of music genres, both old and new. His subtle humorous commentary is an added bonus.
Find music by his band – Cloudland Blue Quartet – on Bandcamp.
And, don’t miss his podcasts! You’re sure to learn something new, and have a lot of fun along the way.