Daily Discovery: Cut Worms Drops Intriguing Track, “Castle in the Clouds”

If Studio Ghibli ever chose to make an American Western film, Brooklyn’s Cut Worms should definitely be on the shortlist for composing its soundtrack.  

Videos by American Songwriter

The brainchild of Brooklyn singer/songwriter Max Clarke, returns with “Castle in the Clouds,” and its retro-future fantastic video, which American Songwriter is proud to highlight as a Daily Discovery. He wrote “Castle in the Clouds” in April 2019 following his time on the road in support of his prior two releases in 2017 EP Alien Sunset and 2018’s Hollow Ground. 

Songwriting is a funny thing in that it’s difficult to talk about where a song comes from,” Clarke tells American Songwriter about “Castles”. “It’s a little bit like when you get those colored spots in your eyes after looking at a really bright light …then when you try to look at the colored spots, they’re all moving around and when you try to focus on one it disappears and moves away, you can never really look right at it. I find this to be true when writing. Which is why I often end up with 5 or 6 different versions of a song or sets of lyrics for a song. If I don’t record it right away it’ll sometimes lose that first shine or whatever it is. This one i rewrote completely at least once. I had to finish it the day before I recorded it, on the plane ride to Memphis in order to get at that freshness which comes from recording a song before you fully know how to play it.”

Once Cut Worms landed in Memphis, he brought the song right over to the legendary  

Sam Phillips Studio with Matt Ross-Spang (John Prine, Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and cut the song right to tape with no demoing. And when you pair the heady cowboy bebop of the song’s melody with its homemade video created by the singer himself, that combination of spacey twang and a haze of mid-century stock footage truly delivers an otherworldly experience.

“‘Castle in the Clouds’ was the first one we did,” says Clarke. “I remember being in the studio, thinking the control room looked like the bridge on a spaceship. It reminded me of the old Carl Sagan Cosmos, where he’s kind of hovering above, transporting you across the universe. I always really liked the theme song. I think that spirit found its way onto the recording.”

Watch Cut Worms’ Video for “Castle in the Clouds” below.

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