You can listen to samples of The Cloves’ music here.
After 10 long years, the Sumner band, The Cloves, is closing in on the goal to record its first full-length album.
Using the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, band leaders Kevin Poleskie and Michael Hochstatter have raised more than $5,500 for the band. However, Kickstarter is an all or nothing gig, and if the band doesn’t reach its goal of $8,000 by Dec. 15, they’ll be right back where they started.
“Honestly, I thought we would get it, so there is no backup plan,” Hochstatter said. “We are just looking for help from our fans, family and friends.”
Although The Cloves formed in 2004, Hochstatter and Poleskie have been best friends since they were 6 years old. They started playing guitar and bass respectively within weeks of each other, and graduated from Sumner High School in 1998.
While Hochstatter and Poleskie are from Sumner, the rest of the band is from Seattle.
“We put out an ad through The Stranger,” said Hochstatter. “And they responded to that.”
The only reason the Seattle members of the band responded to the ad was because Hochstatter used a 206 area code number in the ad, the same area code used in Seattle.
“They were like, ‘if we had known you were in Sumner we would have never responded,’” Hochstatter said, imitating the other bandmates’ reaction. “They had no idea where Sumner was.”
With the band fully formed in 2004, The Cloves produced its first extended play (EP) in 2005 titled, “Waiting For The World To Be”. The band played at the Showbox Theater in Seattle and at The Triple Door the same year, and in 2006, the band started talking about recording its first full-length album.
But as Poleskie and Hochstatter said, life got in the way. Health problems, marriages and children filled the last 10 years for the band, and only recently have they found the time to come back together.
“We just never got to finish a full length album,” Hochstatter said. “But now we have regrouped and we are in a space where we can do it.”
The original four-piece lineup with Chris Walbridge on the lead guitar and Jason Maybell on the drums have come back together with Hochstatter and Poleski, with the addition of cellist Alec Duggan and multi-instrumentalist James Coates.
“When we started we rehearsed at my grandma’s house in Sumner,” Hochstatter said. “My grandma had an old box of cloves. It said 1930 on the back or something. It was a ridiculously old box of cloves.”
Hoschatter and Poleskie agreed the name The Cloves fit with their dreamy, nostalgic style.
“I don’t know if it is because the word ‘love’ is written in the middle, if you take the ‘c’ and the ‘s’ out, but it just looked right,” Hochstatter added.
While Poleskie and Hochstatter don’t stick to a specific genre of music, much of their inspiration comes from the Beatles.
“If you listen to the Beatle’s “White Album”, you got all sorts of different genres and influences that come out,” Hochstatter said. “We are folky, but we have a country tune and a little rock, but we are grounded in that traditional guitar, bass, drum, keyboard, and then the cello adds a little polish to it.”
Indie Band Business
As an independent band, Hochstatter and Poleskie manage both the artistic side and the business side of The Cloves.
“Nowadays it seems more that bands are doing it on their own,” Poleskie said. Both of them feel the most difficult thing about managing a band on their own is having to separate their music from their business.
“You want to just go up on stage and play,” Poleskie explained. “You want to just go to a studio and record and have someone else promote every show, because it gets exhausting.”
Hoschatter managed most of the business aspects for their debut EP, organizing and promoting the large shows The Cloves played.
“You want to be an artist but you have to be a businessman, too,” Hochstatter said. “In the old days, with bigger bands, the artists wrote the songs and the businessman focused on the money.”
But Poleskie pointed out how the businessmen would also take all the money, and it is a plus for indie bands to be able to control their image and control where their money is going.
And right now, Poleskie and Hochstatter want the control to stay small and intimate.
“The older I get, the more it means to have a smaller group of friends that are more connected than a bigger group that don’t know who you are,” Hochstatter said. “So doing things like Blueberry Fest, which was a party in my backyard, we had over a hundred people in my backyard all friends and family. That is where I am at, and that is where the band is at. That where a lot of indie bands are at now.”
Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website where people ask the public to fund their projects in the form of a short video.
If a project meets its monetary goal, the project receives the money. However, if the goal is not met, the money is returned to the donors.
Often, there are incentives to encourage people to back these projects, and The Cloves made no exceptions. The band has offered signed copies of the album, donors names included in the album liner notes, and a private listening party after the album is finished.
If The Cloves get its funding, their goal to have everything finished by May 2016.
“What we found is, the longer you stay in a studio, the more you tinker over things and start second guessing yourself,” said Hochstatter. “It’s like an artist that is painting. When is the stopping point? When do you put the brush down? It is like that with music.”