images courtesy of Wanda Prior

Q&A With Kevin Prior of Cloak

Q. Hi Kevin. Thanks for taking time out of your recording sessions to take part in this Q&A for Revival Synth.

Firstly, Could you give us a brief insight into CLOAK?

A. We are a two piece act working on electro/synth style tracks. Dean on keyboards and myself on vocal duties. Our main influences are taken from the early synth pop era but we try to keep our feet firmly in the 21st century. We hope to be announcing very soon , two new members to the line up especially for live work, to create a bigger and better sound

Q. You and Dean Baker have been life long friends, Whose idea was it to form CLOAK?
A. It was really just a development of our relationship when we decided to form Cloak rather than any one of us coming up with the idea. We've worked on and off with each other for over 30 years now.

Q. I have been a fan of Cloak for a few years now and your album 'Solitude' seems to have been around forever, Why has it took so long to finally get it noticed?
A. After we initially recorded the album we then had to try and get it heard. The process took a long time to start to show positive results. Also, Dean was off working with Galahad whilst I was working on Defiance material. It's taken about 2 years from recording the album to gaining a bit of momentum in the synth music community.

Q. Looking at the lyrics on 'Solitude', It comes across to me that you have wrote an autobiography and put it into music. Is that a fair comment?
A. To a fair extent, yes. Some of the lyrics were written by Dean and the rest by myself. There were stories we wanted to tell which were autobiographical and some which stemmed from an idea of a situation that we would try to imagine what it would be like if we put ourselves in that persons shoes. But to be honest there are plenty more autobiographical songs which we have written together and I hope that one day we get the chance to share them.

Q. Set Me Free is a track based on depression. Have you suffered with it and if so, how would you describe the stigma attached to men who suffer from it?
A. Yes Set Me Free is about depression and how so many people suffer in silence and do not realise how ill they are. They don't realise how ill they have been  until they seek help and try to get better. I would say I have the T-shirt , read the book and got the experience from it. Awful place to be. I wouldn't give it to my worst enemy. The sad thing is today I still don't know how I got into the dark place but I remember it well. Hidden away in my own world in my own space and all around me not knowing how I felt. Another really sad thing is unless the person realises that they have the problem they find it hard to get better. I have had the counselling and the many talks and I can honestly say I am a better person now,  yes things still make me feel stressed and depressed but I have been taught through counselling how to cope with things now and I now know there are several paths I can go down instead of just the one. What I have learnt though now is that I am a great listener and I can often help others in need because I have been there I'd like to think the experiences I have had can help others get out of that black hole they have got themselves into. The second part of your question how would I describe the stigma attached to men who suffer with depression, well I don't think there is such a stigma any more, I feel that people are more accepting of the fact that depression and despair can effect anybody, no matter who they are or how they came to be in that place. We have to remember as well that depression is a medical illness. It's a chemical imbalance of the brain. If by listening to Set Me Free off our album can help one person, who thinks "that sounds like me", then this question and answer article would have been worth it.

Q. Your sound and vocal range to me, cries out influences of Erasure. Is that the sound you and Dean base CLOAK around?
A. We just see where each song takes us without any real preconceived ideas but yes, Erasure are definitely a big influence on my style. But vocal wise I'm a great Peter Cox (Go West) & Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) lover . They were my heroes in the 80s and my late mother was the one who got me interested in singing originally, as she was also a vocalist.

Q. You and Dean pursued your own solo ventures, You formed DEFIANCE and Dean is part of GALAHAD. Was that a mutual decision for you both to try something new?
A. We actually fitted Cloak around each of these other bands and as we weren't too sure of where Cloak would take us it was just work as normal. Now that we are starting to see encouraging results through Cloak then we have to start taking this project pretty seriously and look at the future of Cloak in a more serious light. But Defiance to me was always to see if I could do something without Dean. I needed to know if I could do something else and to be honest, the songs that Defiance wrote will one day be used for us as I feel they are better suited to the synth sound of cloak. But what Defiance  gave me was a bit of experience by working with different musicians and a different type of sound which can only help me in the future.

Q. Will you both return to those projects at some point or are you both committed to CLOAK?
A. We’ve have always been committed to Cloak but now we have to think about planning a strategy with Cloak in mind.

Q. You have a number of gigs lined up in the UK as CLOAK but you also pride yourself as a 80s tribute band. Which one works the best for CLOAK?
A. The 80s tribute act we do has been around since the early 1990's so it's just a nice way to try things out and to perform and play. The original Cloak material is our primary interest. Also by performing the 80s covers it gives us a captive audience and we are able to add a couple of original tracks to the set list and they have so far been greatly received.

Q. You are releasing a new album 'DANCE' Is this an 80s covers album?
A. The Dance EP is all original material. When we wrote the 'solitude' album we had around 30 tracks written and decided on the 11 for Solitude. The tracks for Dance are some of the experimental material we left off the album but to be honest we have loads of material just waiting to be released . As we have been writing music together for years, we will always have something to fall back on.

Q. I ask because I see that you have been in the Thin Ice Studio, New Album/Material?
A. Dean has been at Thin Ice with Galahad recently but it is a studio that we will want to be using. We both feel that we can benefit from Karl Groom's production and recording skills.

Q. I love the CLOAK artwork, (Great T-Shirts btw) Who is the mastermind behind it?
A. All of the artwork is conceived and designed by Wanda Prior. She uses the lyrics as her starting point and really helps to bring the stories of the songs to life.

Q. You are part of the 'Synthwest' event. Could you tell us more about it?
A. We’ll be playing a set from both the Solitude album and the Dance ep ,we're both really excited about it, especially playing along side Sinestar and Kira . It looks like synthwest have spent a lot of time preparing this event and I'm sure it will be a huge success with many more events to follow.

Q. Has Tracie Redding become a permanent member of CLOAK ?

A. Or Mama Cloak as I call her lol
Yes, Tracie is a permanent member of the band even though she doesn't think she is. We believe that Tracie adds another dimension to our music. Tracie likes to be kept out the limelight  though, which to me is such a shame as she helps me immensely, especially on those days when I lack that little bit of confidence, she gives me the belief.  I also think cloak have something that the other synth bands around don’t have and that's a Tracie Redding.

Q. You are a big pal of the orange man 'H' of Spacebuoy, Have you worked together before or do you plan to?

A. I would love to work with Spacebuoy and it would be amazing to do something with those guys one day. I have often asked H for guidance in the synth world as he knows the ins and outs of the business and I always listen to his valuable experience .
Also like me, he is a true Brummie boy from the midlands, a big villa fan like myself, so what's not to like :).

Q. What's the next big goal for CLOAK? (apart from Villa finding it) ;-)
A. We really want to push Solitude and spend a bit of time performing it live. We already have some song ideas for a next album but we don't want to make Solitude part of the Cloak back catalogue too soon.

Q. Finally Kevin, Thanks for taking part in this Q&A. I wish you and Dean the very best of luck for the future and hope to meet you both at some point. Is there anything else you would like to add that I may have left out?
A. Just a huge thank you to everyone who has been so supportive towards us and the lovely comments we receive don't go unnoticed. Hopefully we'll get to meet plenty of people when we're out on the road with Cloak. Every time we get some feedback about our music it is always very much appreciated and means such a lot.

Cheers Kev
You are welcome :)

Cloak Will Be On on 9th May 2014 8pm GMT

& They Will Be Interviewed on Phoenix Fm by Rob Harvey on May 10th 2014 between 8am-10am GMT

Cloak are pleased to announce we are on the wired programme on friday 2nd May between 8pm and 9pm on forest fm