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Interview: Cults

Cults band

In the span of a year, Cults have gone from putting a three-track demo on their bandcamp to releasing one of 2011's most anticipated albums. Cults members include Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin, who started the band during their time at school in New York. Cults is making the rounds this summer in a number of cities and countries to promote their debut self-titled LP, which was released on June 7th. Cults' sixties-inspired sound is both infectious and powerful and their album is one of the best of the year. After some technical difficulties, I was able to talk to Brian about their year on tour and the Vans house party they're playing tomorrow night in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.


ET: Who has your favorite band to play with been?

BO: Oh that's a brutal question...my favorite band to play with so far has probably been GWAR [the metal band]. It was pretty awesome, we played with them and sent Madeline's dad a picture of us playing with them and i think he almost started crying, he texted back that he had never been prouder of his daughter. That was probably the most exciting band we played with, they shred.


ET: That's so surprising, I would never put you guys together on a bill - how did that happen?

BO: It was cool, it was like a festival with a bunch of bands. I think the people that like GWAR, or people that like metal, don't actually go to see them in concert, it's just people that want to see dolls of Sarah Palin have their guts ripped out. 


ET: What has your favorite city been to play in? 

BO: I think our favorite city, which is actually pretty recent, but our favorite show, or city that we played in is definitely Barcelona. It was a pretty magical thing to be able to play such a beautiful and great city, and we played Primavera Sound so there were a lot of Spanish speaking people and it was just so cool. Primavera is one of the rare festivals that you can actually walk around. 


ET: What are the other festivals you're playing this summer? 

BO: We're playing Lollapalooza and actually the one I'm most excited for is in New Jersey - it's All Tomorrow's Parties. We're playing with Neutral Milk Hotel, the first show that Jeff's played in years. It's going to be in like, a church so everyone's going to be dead silent and so into it. And also playing that show, if you want to talk about weird mashups, is Shellac, I'm really hoping that backstage I get to meet Steve Albini, but I'm not getting my hopes too high on that one. 


ET: What did it feel like, I mean remember hearing Go Outside a year ago and not being able to find anything on you guys, to have such an escalation into fame? I feel like you're kind of an indie band success story. 

BO: Yeah, well the name came as an afterthought because when we were recording "Go Outside"...we were hanging out and watching the Jonestown documentary and the one quote that ended up in the song that stuck with me as a powerful statement of people and when we went back to put a sample in I was like, "Oh, I know exactly what to put in there!" and it was like, the exact opposite of the message of the song so it was perfect. So when we did that, we wrote "Most Wanted" as our next song, and we had the idea of getting...that songs about getting out in the world, and causing trouble, and being kind of happy about that, and I wanted to get the opposite perspective, of kids being really sheltered, so there was actually a cult in New Zealand with kids who had never seen the outside world and were convinced if they went there horrible things would happen to them. So I think with us, it gives the song more power when it has like a back and forth kind of perspective. I think a lot of our songs, most of them have one person saying one thing and another person saying another thing. 


ET: So what's the deal with the Vans house parties? Can you tell me anything about it? 

BO: I don't know anything about it actually! I've never been there, I've never seen a picture, I just know that we had some time off and we were asked to do a show with No Age and Health so I was like, "Yeah!". That's pretty much all we know about the show tomorrow - I'm sure it's going to be awesome because our friends Fucked Up are playing there, Smith Westerns just played there, so it seems to have good taste. 


ET: What's your favorite album to listen to on tour? 

I think the album that Madeleine and I listen to the most around the house is "The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore", it's an album we always put on and Madeline knows the words to every single song. 


Cults will be making appearances in New York City on August 7th at Central Park's Summerstage and in New Jersey on September 30th at All Tomorrow's Parties. 

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