Cumulus indie cloud rockers Lance Umble, Alexandra Niedzialkowski, and Leah Julius. (courtesy of the band)
Seattle's Alexandra Niedzialkowski, Lance Umble, and Leah Julius make music for cloudy days and nights spent in the Pacific Northwest under their sky floating cotton moniker, Cumulus. Call it the sentimental sound of young-and-in-love Seattle; the Cumulus trio creates a sound motif that picks apart our most intimate details of life changing moments that have had a lasting affected on our daily behaviors and decisions. It is our privilege to present the following exclusive advance listen to their Trans-Records album; I Never Meant it To Be Like This.
Passages of time, heart constraints and the concerns of ages past play recurring roles in Cumulus. Lead off opening single "Do You Remember" breaks the ice with the heavy chorus refrain, "do you remember when young meant invincible" that jogs the mind to elicit recollections of experiences unique to the individual listener. "Hey Love" moves with the thrill of the chase while extending an understanding and loving arm, "I know these city lights can start to eat you up inside, don't be afraid to talk to me." Building further from this extension of grace, "Middle" invites with, "why don't you come along," with the kind of therapy between friends that reflects upon those pivotal moments that matter.
As the guitars gear toward their aim of emotional evocation, "Ocean" washes over with an ebb and tide rocking statement of waterside abode. "Wanderlust" swims out to those Northwestern seas that grasps on to the barren driftwood through the lyrical attitudes of isolated unison, "we are alone in this together." "End of the World" crashes down the apocalyptic fears through an amplified blizzard extolling the virtues of foresight. The sonic demitasse spoon stirring of "Morning Coffee" manifests the the morning solace of caffeinated desires and wishes. Novels imitate life through the noisy grind of "Fiction", leaving you with the acoustic string reflecting pool of "Night Swimming" that brings back those precious touches of the past that still mean so much to so many of us today.
Cumulus gave us a bit of personal insight into the stories behind titles and the beauty of the Northwest.
In the melancholy reflective vibe of It Never Meant To Be Like This, what were some of the various running inspirational motifs of expectations not met?
The line 'I never meant it to be like this' comes from the song 'Wanderlust'. 'Wanderlust' was kind of written in the vein of 'don't make the same mistakes I did.' I was worried and heart broken about a person and the choices they were making. I went through the phase where rather than taking the time to figure myself out, I just lived through my relationships with other people. It is always such a big struggle- learning how to be okay with being alone, or just being content with yourself when you are alone. I wanted to reach out and say something to my friend, but at the same time- I knew what they were going through because I had to do it myself. I had to watch my friend make choices that would eventually hurt, because you can only come to a conclusion from experience. Writing this song was my way of saying, I'll still be here for you waiting, even if it seems like you have no one for a while- I'm still right here.
Once we chose the title I Never Meant It To Be Like This, a lot of great things started happening to us that we had never expected. Lyric wise, it was a pretty melancholy statement, but since then it's become almost an inside joke when something really good happens- we just look at each other and crack up - 'I never meant it to be like this!'
For you is music the cathartic chord series that grounds Cumulus' flirtation with life's littered array of options for rational resentment?
Ha ha, no, but I would say that writing and playing music has always been cathartic for me. There are definitely moments where life feels really overwhelming, and when I can't pinpoint exactly what it is that is making me uneasy, it seems so dramatic to exclaim 'the world is ending!' Even though that is how it all can feel. 'End of the World', for example, is basically me having a conversation with myself, trying to tell myself that all of the problems on my mind are much smaller than they actually seem and it was calming to get that out. I was able to write from a rational, while very stressed out, perspective and put it into a song. Not to mention, playing in a rock band and drinking beers in a practice space with your friends is probably the best de-stresser there is.
What is Seattle like these days? Favorite things about Seattle, bands, culture, holes in the wall, etc?
Seattle is just a beautiful city. Its literally breathtaking. In that sense, that is why I love the Northwest so much. I can live in the city, but still enjoy the ocean and the trees, and beautiful sunsets. I grew up on Whidbey Island, so being around the water is crucial to my sanity. I also love that everyone in Seattle I come across is passionate about something. Even if we are working less than desirable day jobs, we still have dreams and day by day we are getting closer to making our passions and dreams a reality. In Seattle, never assume that your restaurant host or barista has nothing else going on in their life. As someone who worked in the food industry for a few years, that was always the hardest part- people assuming that I was there because I had no goals or I hadn't 'grown up.' Get to know people, ask them what the love to do- not just what they 'do' - everyone in Seattle will probably surprise you.
Least favorite things about Seattle these days?
My least favorite thing about Seattle has nothing to do with Seattle, but just being in a city. Being in a city can be exhausting. There is something to do every single night. When I want to be alone or just lounge out to my favorite sitcoms with my boyfriend, I get this crazy guilt complex for not being out in the adventure, and then it makes me want to move to some remote country town and curl up in a ball. We all have those moments, right?
Seattle then-versus-now thoughts?
I can't really speak to Seattle 'now and then.' I've lived in the Northwest all my life, Oak Harbor, Anacortes, Bellingham, Seattle, but in Seattle only since 2010. In high school, Seattle was always my escape from small town life because of all the music and culture. Living here, it is still the same. I walk out my door and there is inspiration and ideas that open my mind up on a daily basis. Seattle has always been a beautiful city that nurtures and supports the creative spirit, and it is still going strong in my book!