Cloud Cult

Cloud Cult
Background information
Origin Minneapolis, Minnesota
Genres Art rock
Indie pop
Baroque pop
Years active 1995—present
Labels Earthology Records
Craig Minowa
Arlen Peiffer
Shawn Neary
Shannon Frid
Sarah Elhardt
Connie Minowa
Scott West
Dan Zamzow
Past members
Martin Begue
Eduardo Vaz
Mara Stemm
Matthew Freed
Dan Greenwood
Sarah Young

Cloud Cult is an experimental indie rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota led by singer/songwriter Craig Minowa. The name originated from the ancient prophecies of indigenous North Americans.[1]



Cloud Cult developed in 1995 as Craig Minowa recruited several other artists to contribute to his solo recordings. The band's early work earned Cloud Cult several offers from record labels, but all were rejected in favor of self-publishing.[2] As they began to play live, one of their show's most distinctive features was the live painting by Connie Minowa and Scott West: over the course of a show they each completed a painting to be auctioned off at the end.[3]

In 1997, lead singer Craig Minowa formed Earthology Records on his organic farm, powered by geothermal energy and built partially from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. This nonprofit label uses only recycled materials and donates all profits to environmental charities.[4] The band also tours in a biodiesel van.[5]

In the year 2002, shortly after the unexpected death of his two year old son Kaidin, Minowa wrote songs to deal with the loss.[2] Another Cloud Cult album came in the summer of 2002, titled Lost Songs from the Lost Years, a ten-year anthology of previously unreleased work from Minowa. They Live on the Sun was finished in 2003 and went to #1 on college radio station charts across the country. In January 2004, Cloud Cult added Mara Stemm on bass and released Aurora Borealis just six months later. The album was nominated by the Minnesota Music Awards as “Album of the Year” along with Prince and Paul Westerberg. With a van covered in solar panels, the band began touring nationally. In 2006 Cloud Cult released Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus, which Pitchfork Media called “insane genius” and rated the album with an 8.3. The Denver Post ranked the 2007 release The Meaning of 8 as one of the top ten albums of the past decade, along with bands like Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and Radiohead.

Sarah Young performing during the 10,000 Lakes Festival.

Cloud Cult released a new album entitled Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) on April 8, 2008. The album was recorded and produced at Minowa’s small organic farm in Northern Minnesota. "The place is so far out in the boonies, you can barely find it, because it’s not on the maps," said Dan Montalto, an MTV Producer who brought a camera crew to the farm to film a short MTV feature on the band.

Craig said that this might be the final Cloud Cult album: "I don't think there's going to be another Cloud Cult album for a while. It could be never, I don't know."[6] The band's website said that "the band plans to take a short respite to focus on family in the latter part of 2008 and into 2009."[7]

In October 2008, Cloud Cult was featured in an animated Esurance commercial. The band is shown playing the song "Lucky Today" while floating on clouds. This and other songs are available for free downloads on the Esurance website.

In the spring of 2009, Cloud Cult released "No One Said It Would Be Easy" a full length documentary about the band.

At Coachella 2009, Craig revealed that Connie would not be performing because she was "not feeling well.... she's pregnant."[8] They continued to tour and appeared for the second year straight at the "St Johns Block Party" outdoors in front of over 7,000 fans in Rochester, Minnesota.[citation needed]

The band announced a break beginning August 23, 2009 for Connie and Craig's baby. They resumed playing regionally in late spring 2010 and nationally in fall 2010.

In the spring of 2010, Cloud Cult became a contributing artist to Think Out Loud, a compilation album serving the homeless in the Twin Cities.[9]

In early 2010, the band announced that it would release a new album entitled Light Chasers, due out September 14, 2010. Despite these plans, the album in its entirety leaked to the internet in early July 2010. The lead single for the album, "Running With The Wolves" was released in April 2010 and received local and national radio play. The band toured nationally in support of the album.

In spring 2011, Cloud Cult music was featured in a commercial on BBC America for Petrobras, a Brazilian energy company.

In summer 2011, Cloud Cult played at the St. John's Block Party in Rochester, MN; the first band to be three times to play at the St. John's Block Party. Craig announced he and Connie were expecting at the 2011 St. John's Block Party.


Minnesota Music Awards 2004: "Artist of the year" for the studio album Aurora Borealis.

Band members

Former members

  • Sarah Young - cello
  • Dan Greenwood - drums
  • Mara Stemm - bass guitar
  • Matthew Freed - bass guitar
  • Martin Begue
  • Eduardo Vaz
  • Adrian Grote/Young


Studio Albums


Best Of, Live, Remixes

A studio cut is available on Spinout Record's Duluth Does Dylan Revisited, a compilation of Bob Dylan covers that reflects how the local music culture has been influenced by being the birthplace of the music icon.

The studio cut is also available on the new Lost Songs from the Lost Year album released in 2009, and is a track on the EP Running with the Wolves.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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