We caught up with lead vocalist/guitarist Dylan Baldi from the awesomeness known as Cloud Nothings to talk about all things Cleveland, OH. In case you haven't heard the band's latest album 'Life Without Sound' (which even made it into my Top 20 albums of 2017), do yourself a favor and go listen to it now. I won't say anything as cheesy like how it will change your life. But it's really good. (photo credit: Jesse Lirola)
PRT: What made you first fall in love with the city?
Dylan: Well, I live here and always have. So I really had no choice but to find something to like about it. The first place I ever went regularly was this spot I used to book shows at, "Believeland," underneath a hair salon in a suburb. Only did a few gigs there before the cops came and the guys who ran the space kinda stopped letting me do shows. Still went there and hung out now and then though. A bunch of Cleveland bands used it as a practice spot, there was a makeshift studio and all sorts of old gear down there. Inhaled enough secondhand smoke to put wrinkles on my face at age 19.
PRT: If you had to come up with a marketing slogan for the city, what would it be?
Dylan: "Don't visit in the winter"
PRT: Best place to play?
Dylan: Tough call. I've never had a bad time playing at the Grog Shop or Now That's Class. Actually, I have had a bad time at Now That's Class. But it had nothing to do with the venue or the show. So...it's a tie between those two spots. We made a live record at the Grog Shop that doesn't sound very good but I've been told that people like it. Some guy at a record store in Charlottesville, Virginia was selling a copy of it as a "rare, unknown record" for a lot of money. I hope he sold it. I didn't buy it.
PRT: Best place to go for a late night drink after the show?
Dylan: Cleveland has lots of great bars. I like most of them. I think the B&G is a good spot that's fairly close to my house. Really any bar that looks like it's been around for awhile is a pretty safe bet. Nothing new or with like...nice chairs.
PRT: Best place to go for a late night snack after the drink after the show?
Dylan: I stick to a vegan diet more often than not, which means there's really not too many options for a late night snack in town. There's a decent Chinese place, Siam Cafe, that's open til midnight. Sometimes I get food there when I need to eat late-ish and don't want to get involved with my kitchen. The best place to go is my kitchen though. I will make a sandwich.
PRT: Best touristy thing to do in the city?
Dylan: The art museum is an undeniably good zone. It's free and pretty sprawling and beautiful. If I were a tourist, I would go there. There's a lot of good parks here too. The Metroparks are massive and great for aimless wandering. I love aimless wandering and haven't found many places better for it.
PRT: Best hidden spot in the city?
Dylan: Would I really give that away? There's a bike trail by my house that I ride every day in the summer. It's not really hidden, but it's right before the actual popular trail that takes you through dozens of miles of canals in Ohio. I like the little stretch that goes from my house to the popular bit. I really don't even know how to say where it is without invoking very Cleveland-specific terminology.
PRT: One thing you would like to see changed in the city?
Dylan: The roads in the winter are just insane. There's more holes than road. I would like for there to be more road. And for less rich people to be turning parts of the city into shitty restaurants, yoga studios and high rent housing.
PRT: What's your best memory about the city?
Dylan: I have lots of great memories here, I grew up here and still live here. It's hard to say what stands out as the best. Most days here can be pretty memorable for one reason or another.
PRT: Is there a historical fact about your city that makes you chuckle?
Dylan: Drew Carey
PRT: Favorite song about your city you;d like to share, either yours or someone else's?
Dylan: It'd be insane to say anything other than "Cleveland Is The City" by Bone Thugs.