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Columbus’ Cloudkicker speaks language of music

February 12, 2014

nguyen.1070@osu.edu
Instrumentalist Ben Sharp, who performs under the moniker Cloudkicker.  His next show is set for March 29 at Kobo. Credit: Courtesy of Cloudkicker

Instrumentalist Ben Sharp, who performs under the moniker Cloudkicker. His next show is set for March 29 at Kobo.
Credit: Courtesy of Cloudkicker

In an attempt to shine light on local music, The Lantern“Columbus’ Own” is a weekly series that will profile a new Columbus band every week. 

For Ben Sharp, music can often be thought of as the universal language of mankind.

“Music is almost sort of a language that I have been able to tune into,” said Sharp, a musician who goes under the banner of Cloudkicker.

The Los Angeles-born songwriter and recording artist said music allows him to “express himself in a way” he could not do with any other form of communication.

Sharp said he started writing music for Cloudkicker in 2007. He also said he did not record his first album until he moved from Los Angeles to Ohio. He released his first album in July 2008, called “The Discovery.”

In his new home of Columbus, Sharp writes, records and mixes music for Cloudkicker.

Cloudkicker focuses on an array of styles from metal, instrumental to acoustic. Sharp said he does not use vocals in most of his music, instead, it is mainly focused on instrumentation. He prefers to express things “nonverbally,” he said. The only song that does have vocals is called “Let yourself be huge” in the album called “Let Yourself Be Huge.” Sharp described Cloudkicker as music that uses a lot of repetition in its melodies.

“If you’ve ever heard of a song from a band that you like and you wish you could repeat that one part of the song over and over again just because it’s so catchy, I try to make entire albums like that. It’s just very repetitive layered songs,” Sharp said.

Sharp uses bass guitar and guitar in Cloudkicker’s music. He also creates drum sounds with the help of a computer program.

Sharp’s process for writing music is to go into his office and play a guitar for a while until he “stumbles on to something” that might become the beginning part of a song, he said. After he finishes writing the song, he records it until the song is finished.

“Basically I start writing out a song in the beginning and I stop when I feel like it’s done,” Sharp said.

The songs he writes also tend to revolve around intense mixed emotions. Sharp said his songs depict “the bittersweet feelings you get the day after Christmas,” or the “feelings you get when you look forward to something” or “the last day of school.”

During the month of April, Sharp said he plans to go on a tour across the country. Intronaut, a Los Angeles-based metal band, is set to act as a backing band for Cloudkicker while Sharp is onstage. Some of the states he is planning to tour include New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania.

He said he does not set expectations for how crowds will react to him.

“I’m not hoping for anything. I know that we’ll be interacting with quite a few people. I’m going to try to have as little expectations as possible and just enjoy the moment,” Sharp said.

Some people outside of Ohio said they like the music of Cloudkicker, such as 24-year-old Jason Bandalos, a fan since 2010 who lives in Wyoming. Bandalos said he likes listening to Cloudkicker’s music because it helps him focus on his work.

“If I know that I need to be in a specific mood to do something, whether it would be (to) write a paper or focus on getting something done I can put on a specific Cloudkicker album and for whatever reason it really acts as a catalyst to get me into that mood. I’ll be able to accomplish what I need to accomplish,” Bandalos said.

Another fan said he enjoys the music so much, he even decided to use two of his favorite songs, “Let yourself be huge” and “It’s inside me, and I’m inside it,” for his wedding.

“(“It’s Inside me, and I’m inside it”) was actually used at my wedding. My wife walked down the aisle to it. So, it holds a lot of sentimental value with me,” said 26-year-old Patrick O’Brien, a fan since 2007, living in Michigan.

Alyssa Sharp, Ben Sharp’s wife, said Cloudkicker’s music is like a “journey” because it has a lot of movement in it, much like a well-read story has emotions to it. She said it is “one that you can listen to and focus on nothing else.”

Bandalos said he hopes Sharp keeps making music.

“He’s one of those artists for me that I hope never stops making music,” Bandalos said.

Cloudkicker’s next performance is set to be March 29 at Kobo, located at 2590 N. High St.


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