Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Name: Cloudkicker
Latest release: The Map is Not the Territory [2009]
File under: Technical instrumental metal

How ironic that after my opening salvo stating that I wouldn't be linking to full albums, the first artist I feature sees me doing just that. It's alright though, because Cloudkicker just loves music, not money. Freely available on Cloudkicker's website are 2 releases of hard, loud and melodic instrumentation akin to a vocalless Meshuggah. Highlights include The Discovery's eponymous epic and The Map is Not the Territory's opener "Hold On", something you'll need to do for the entire experience. Cloudkicker could easily package this formula up and sell it (I'd buy it), but that's not the aim of Cloudkicker's game...


Who are you, where are you from and what is your role in Cloudkicker?
Ben: "My name is Ben Sharp, I grew up in Los Angeles where I lived for 22 years before moving to Columbus, Ohio where I now live and work. My role in Cloudkicker is to write and record the music."

What was the reasoning behind making your releases free? You say they cost nothing to make - surely there were recording costs?
Ben: "It costs me absolutely nothing to create the music. Zero dollars. I record all the guitars and bass straight into my laptop and program the drums using this one sequencing program, then I mix and master everything myself. The only thing that costs money are guitar strings, but I have a full-time job so it's no big deal."

You are often likened to an instrumental Meshuggah - what are Cloudkicker's main inspirations?
Ben: "I guess Meshuggah is the only real "main inspiration"--you know, the whole odd time signature and polyrhythm thing. Other than that, the kind of music I listen to is really a revolving door of genres and styles. I actually try to keep whoever I'm listening to at the moment in my stupid little "top friends" thing. If you check it right now, there's not really that many "heavy" bands listed. I don't even think I've listened to Meshuggah for a few months, but I guess they're still the only band I can really point to and say "this is what gave me the idea for that"."

Did you ever consider adding vocals?
Ben: "No."

Finally, apart from the fact that the music is freely available, why should people listen to Cloudkicker?
Ben: "No reason. If people like what they hear, then that's awesome, if not, that's also awesome. I wouldn't expect anyone to listen to anything for any reason other than liking how it sounds."

Thanks to Ben for his time. A refreshing view on making music. Give Cloudkicker a digital spin.


  1. Cloudkicker is amazing. Period...and for free?! It doesn't get any better.

  2. This is one of the best experimental metal artists I've ever heard.

  3. yeah this guy is the best

  4. I've been listening to cloudkicker while I've been working today, definitely worth a listen

  5. the great music! very original and easy to listen!

  6. i wasn't introduced to Cloudkicker until i was on a road trip with my buddies and that's all they played. But the coolest thing i noticed about the songs is that it seems like they kind of lead into one another for an even more epic sound.

  7. I Am Glad I came Across Cloudkicker. Amazing Music.

    Kaushik Sinha. (India)

  8. Ben thanks for bring the world your music greetings from Mexico

  9. Ben has a name for himself now? Cloudkicker, not bad. I'm glad he distributes his music for free, and he's really good.

  10. Great! Exactly what I was looking for...

  11. I fucking love your music.