Doseone was mostly worried about his ice cream melting. The cLOUDDEAD poet/rapper was taking a bus ride as usual, groceries in his lap, his mind on merging those purchases with the useful technology of refrigeration. Of course, one up/downside of public transportation is that anyone can hop on, and after the bus picked up two high school jocks and one flamboyant gay teen, a ruckus ensued. The track athletes started picking on the odd kid out, and soon many travelers were involved.

"All of a sudden, this quiet bus ride home becomes this explosion," Doseone recalls from a San Francisco studio, taking a break from mixing his side project, Themselves. And, almost as suddenly, the experience became lyrics to "This About the City," a tune on cLOUDDEAD's latest 10-inch record.

"The only thing that's worth it besides the sloppy journal stuff is being the silent observer," Doseone says. It seems, then, that the performer will always be able to find material.

Doseone is looking forward to an upcoming tour with fellow Mush Records artists Labtekwon, Radioinactive and Reaching Quiet. "It gets you eavesdropping on conversations," he says. "I'm banking on that for creative flow."

Watch for him and his cLOUDDEAD bandmates listening over your shoulder May 21 at the Mush Records showcase at Club Congress.

Writing that a band is difficult to describe in these days of genre slicing and dicing has become almost cliché, but it's also a pleasure to encounter an act that operates without a common template. This is cLOUDDEAD, with words delivered by poets Doseone and why? over ambient, abstract and sampled sounds assembled by odd nosdam. The mood-heavy results are alternatingly unsettling, funny and ethereal. It's space rock hip-hop held to Earth by cultural references from the late people's painter Bob Ross ("the sun is peeking through a 'happy little tree'/Bob Ross? Yes.) to Circle K coffee, the occasional Moody Blues sample and found noises such as the vacuum cleaner (or is it a blender?) in "Apt. A (2)."

"We like to be really collagey about it, and loose," Doseone says. "The writing, we never force it. Why? and I are pretty soulmate-ish."

The trio met while Doseone was pursuing a degree in marketing in Cincinnati (" I was just paranoid about doing art for a living") and has since relocated to Oakland, Calif., drawn west by non-commercial hip-hop label Mush Records. Pursuing music both for creative reasons and to be able to buy those groceries has resulted in career dictating lifestyle for now, Doseone says and a road full of business-related hurdles.

"First there was recording music, then it was turning it into records, then getting stored in your pockets, then getting a handle on the press, and then you skip back and forth compiling a database. And then you have to try to go back home and write a poem." But, he says, "I think it's working."

"Now there's no secret. When I go and do concerts, I used to think I was seeing rock stars. And we go and we're all unshaven. It's a very real world."


Mush Records