Jugem's Cloud: Infidel Interview #69

First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?

Thank you for having us, and we appreciate your killer review of our debut album, Nature Vs Humans! Here’s the essentials: We are an electro-industrial three-piece band based out of Chicago’s northwest suburbs. The band was formed by Mark Lewandowski in the summer of 2010 as a side-project, with Rob Ludwin and Michael Lewandowski contributing and later joining as official members. We’ve always had a goal to produce solid, classic-style industrial with a modern edge and a focus on great songwriting. Since you are involved a musical collective, I wanna ask, how do you all manage to get together musically, and then continue to stay together on the same page? Has it been a journey of compromise or do you find that you work together fluidly? Would you say there has been any major obstacles working together?

We make sure to get together at least once a week, usually Thursday nights. It’s great to have an opportunity to get together after a long week and have a little fun, rehearse, record, and put together some incredible industrial music. During the rest of the week we are also constantly working on Jugem’s Cloud stuff whenever we can find time. Usually that involves songwriting, mixing, sampling and more. It can be tough, we all have full-time jobs and personal lives, but to me, it’s totally worth the sacrifice. We’re also really lucky because we grew-up together! Michael and I (Mark) are brothers, and our dad was best friends with Rob’s dad growing up. It’s weird how that worked out! We’ve known each other forever and have a really good friendship. We grew up listening to industrial and were inspired by the same music, sci-fi, and other media. We’ve had some rough patches along the way, but things have balanced out at this point and are looking up.

You had a debut album recently come out. You have obviously put a lot of time and effort into it. Is there anything in particular you want to say about your record? Was there any funny or unique stories you wish to share about it's inception?

Nature Vs Humans was a strange beast, but I think it turned out really well. As mentioned earlier, Jugem’s Cloud was originally just a side-project idea that I had formulated when I was fourteen. In my mid-twenties, I was playing bass in an alternative rock band in Chicago. Michael had been playing drums and percussion in various groups since he was 12. I always had a huge interest in industrial music, and had been writing stuff on my Korg Electribes and Alesis Micron on the side. In mid 2010, Rob and I purchased a Native Instruments Maschine, which became the backbone of Jugem’s Cloud music production. We decided to put together an official industrial music project, and I began spending all my free time working on it. I had a ton of music experience already, so segueing into electronic music fit like an old glove for me. A few months into the project, my alternative rock band had to break-up, so I decided to turn Jugem’s Cloud into my main focus. That’s when the real Jugem’s Cloud was born. While writing the songs for NvH, the studio was primitive but the songs felt right. It felt like these songs needed to be created; like it was meant to be. This feeling kept me chugging along night after night. The equipment improved and so did the production value. Rob and Mike starting showing up more and more, and began to collaborate. Eventually the idea for Nature Vs Humans manifested: the eternal struggle between mankind and the environment we live in. Nature always wins! Most of the songs follow in the motif of man’s struggles, especially key tracks like The Craftenstock Corporation. The song paints the bleak picture of a man working endlessly for a dark, heartless corporation, and how there is no way out. Sadly, many people in this world actually do live that reality. The album took about three years to complete, and another year before release because we got burned by a record label. We launched in on our own in 2014. What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?

We’re really excited about the future! First off, we’re a solid, functioning band now. After Rob and Mike joined, we spent a tremendous amount of time honing our sound and our brand. Each member now has a designated position. Mark is the frontman/singer/guitarist/programmer, Rob sings on every song now, and is in charge of manipulating synths, and Mike runs the NI Maschine and records/plays samples. We’ve been working on our sophomore album The Factory Bloc for several years now, and the sound and songs will blow people away. Seriously. We’ve engineered this album from the ground up to have professional-level songwriting, better production value and equipment, and a more confident, in-your-face sound. We learned a lot from from the first album and now know what works and what doesn’t. It will be more mainstream, but still be completely kick-you-in-the-face industrial. Rob and I will be doing back-and-forth vocal duties, and there will be significantly more crushing guitar to back it up. The sound totally works, and is a huge step up for us in every way. We are hoping to release by the end of 2017 on vinyl and digital. What do you feel separates your music from the rest of the music in the Industrial music scene?

To us, it’s all in the songwriting, consistency, and putting together a great industrial groove. I want every song to be catchy, well-written, and unique. The punchiness is really important too, because I want the music to really hit hard with the kick, snare and bass synth. That’s what it’s all about for me. We all come from rock backgrounds, so I tend to write in a traditional rock form with distinctive verses, choruses, etc. We draw inspiration from many different genres of music, not just industrial. Every song should have a set purpose and goal, and I make sure each song is distinctive yet still fits the Jugem’s Cloud mold. Since we all have different preferences for “flavors” of industrial it works to create a good balance. If we’ve got a killer riff or melody, we want to let it breathe, but not hang the whole song on it. Then we switch it up a bit, which makes awesome variety. We want our voices to sound as aggressive as possible, but since we’ve got something to say we don’t drown out the vocals with distortion.

Your musics aggression, and your strong lyrical themes independence and activism, leads me to believe you guys have some pretty strong philosophical and political views. If you had to sum up your general belief structure into a few concise statements, how would you summarize your stance in politics and spirituality?