By Tyler Fox (@TylerFox585)
Portland has become a Mecca for young indie musicians. Cloud Ellyn’s Jonathan Ioviero happens to be one of those musicians that made the trip and never looked back. Ioviero has embraced Portland as the home for his numerous projects. From solo projects to playing as live support for bands, Ioviero is taking on it all.
On August 24th, Ioviero released the first album for his new project Cloud Ellyn, a spacey, ambient trip that will draw you in almost hypnotically. You can get the album, Stillness Reigns, via digital download on Cloud Ellyn’s page or order a limited run cassette from Follow Cloud Ellyn on for updates and be sure to keep tabs on Ioviero’s other project, .
You’ve been working on and releasing music with different projects for a while, but what was your first and how did it come together?
The first band I was in was just out of high school called Mutiny on the Belafonte (we watched Life Aquatic like a week before), it was basically a rotating cast of friends/acquaintances. We weren’t great. I remember trying to write a couple of songs for that but we “broke up” pretty quickly. I think I started writing what would eventually become the first Seismograph album about a year or so after that.
Almost a year and a half ago, you decided to take the plunge and move to Portland, OR. What made you decide to head there as opposed to another music-centric city? How has the move affected you and your music career?
Choosing Portland was really just a matter of practicality. My friend Kyle and I had wanted to move for a while and we had sort of narrowed it down to the Pacific NW, and then our friend Kate offered to let us stay with her in Portland until we found a place. It was basically decided about three weeks before we actually left. As far as its effect on me and my music, that’s a really hard thing to try to get a sense of, but it was definitely a change for the better. At the very least it offered the opportunity to meet more people and create a sort of little community/family. I’ve made some great friends who all happen to be musicians/writers/artists and we all kind of help each other out.
Over the past few years, you’ve become increasingly involved with a variety of different musical endeavors, ranging from being part of a band, to starting your own record label, and creating your own projects. Where do you find the time and energy to focus on all of this? Do you find it difficult to separate the different projects?
It’s not too hard really, I have a lot of free time outside my day job and I usually just work on one thing at time. I tend to get completely absorbed in a project while I’m working on it so my creative energy just kind of cycles through the stuff I’m working on. It helps that my label is small and the bands I’m in rarely play shows, so I can usually just focus on my own stuff.
You have two main projects, Seismograph and Cloud Ellyn, both of which have different and distinct sounds. What made you want to venture off from Seismograph and start the spacey, ambient Cloud Ellyn?
It was kind of a culmination of a bunch of different stuff. We’ve had a loop pedal sitting around for years that I’ve wanted to use in some way, and I really love music that’s very ambient and dreamy and hypnotic, which lends itself well to loops. I’ve tried working that into Seismograph songs here and there but it was nice to fully dive into that kind of sound. If anything it was sort of therapeutic for me. With Seismograph I’m always pushing myself to go bigger and more complicated and think outside the box and I stress myself out, while Cloud Ellyn is basically just me giving in to my most basic instincts.
Cloud Ellyn’s first release, Stillness Reigns, came out last week. What was the inspiration behind this album?
There wasn’t any real inspiration or concept or anything at first. I was basically trying to think as little as possible and just go with what felt right. I wrote the songs really quickly and finished the album about five weeks after I started (which is insanely fast for me) and most of the lyrics started as stream of consciousness nonsense that I turned into something slightly less vague. All the songs ended up having similar themes of disconnection and feeling distant though, which makes sense because that’s my go-to emotion. It’s basically a reflection of my general mental state.
Stillness Reigns was released by Snowbeast Records, a label you co-run with long time friend, Kyle Reigle. As with most releases on Snowbeast, the album is available via digital download with a limited run of cassettes. What made you decide to release on cassette?
We do cassette releases mostly because you can make a high quality package for way cheaper than CD or vinyl. On top of that we’re self-releasing mostly unknown music that isn’t exactly flying off the shelves, and with cassettes you can do super small pressings of 25 or 30 that aren’t possible with other formats. We did team up with Track & Field Records to release the new Cemeteries album on vinyl though, and it’d be really cool to do more of that in the future.
Now that the album is out, what is next for you? Will you be starting work on new Seismograph or Cloud Ellyn, or is there something else in the mix we should be looking for?
I actually started a new Seismograph album back in November, but it wasn’t really sounding the way I wanted it to, so I set it aside for a while. I’m going to jump back into that this week and hopefully I can get it figured out and finished in time for a release sometime early next year. That’s all I’ve got planned right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if another Cloud Ellyn album happens before the end of 2016.
We’d like to thank Jon for his time and encourage you to check him out!