Interview: John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud)

Half-handed Cloud

Half-handed Cloud is the musical project of John Ringhofer. John currently resides in California and has played as one of the Illinoisemakers (who have also included the wonderfully talented Annie Clark and Liz Janes, among others) and also played trombone for Why?.

He has put out a few EPs and full lengths on Asthmatic Kitty Records and has played shows far and wide, including our very own London.  Asthmatic Kitty describes John as an “interesting phenomenon”. He makes wonderful heartwarming, intricate pop songs and I highly recommend giving him a listen. John answered ten questions while waiting for his laundry to dry, here they are. The photo is by Yoni Wolf.

What was your first musical instrument and where did you get it?

A hand-me down trombone from second-cousin Donny.  I was in 4th grade and he had just returned from playing in the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra.

Do you download music or buy hard copies? Or both?

I almost always buy records and CD’s at the local record store, but sometimes there’s a free download online and I sure don’t mind free!

Favourite music venue to play and why?

The Ramp (Berkeley, CA) a now-defunct award-winning all-ages venue in a church basement with reasonable sound and a great homemade feel.  It was shut-down by the city, unfortunately.  Here’s an article:

Last book read:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Last movie watched:

To Kill a Mockingbird (read the novel first, then borrowed the DVD from my mother).

Current favourite thing on TV:


Best moment on tour?

One of my favorite times happened after the final Illinoisemakers show in Amsterdam when we rented bicycles and rode for hours around the city in the middle of the night.

Worst moment on tour?

While Half-handed Cloud was on tour with Mt.Gigantic our van was broken into in Knoxville Tennessee as we were playing inside the venue. That was the pits.

Favourite band/singer/album you discovered recently?

The Welcome Wagon, who’ve just now released their first album, although we’ve known each other since 2002.  It still feels like it counts as a new discovery, though.

If you could get any two musicians to collaborate with each other, who would they be and why?

Raymond Scott and Gary Wilson, it goes without saying.

Lots of thanks to John for answering the questions. You can hear songs on the Half-handed Cloud LastFm and Myspace. I especially recommend listening to ‘I Got A Letter’ on his Myspace; it’s one of my favourites.

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