Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bonus Q&A with the band Cults

Here is more from my interview with the band's Brian Oblivion...

Q: I saw the band live last October when you opened for Foster the People. Was that a good tour?
We’d never played venues that size before. On our own tour this time, we’re doing some of the same places. Now it’s a lot less scary than it would’ve been. It’s crazy to watch those guys’ progress. Mark is now the most famous person I’ve ever met. 

Q: Since you’ve been headlining, have you expanded the setlist and visual presentation?
Yeah. That was the whole point of doing this tour; to do one more lap of the country the way we always wanted to do it.

Q: Are you still using the old black and white movie clips on a screen at the shows like I saw in Pomona?
It’s much more sophisticated now. Back then, we basically pressed play on a DVD player. This time, we have a guy who’s a band member performing with us in a different way every night. It makes it more fun for us to have that dialogue with the visuals.

Q: Do you choose the visuals in regards to the songs’ different moods?
Yeah. We’ve definitely expanded the ways we play the songs. We have moments that change throughout shows. If we didn’t change the songs up, we’d be really bored by now. Any time someone has an idea to do something different; we’re always receptive to that because the live experience is so much different than the studio record.

Q: How have things changed for the band since the album came out last summer?
It’s been a crazy, amazing year. We just got back from Australia; we played Switzerland. It’s been an insane world trek. We’re just excited that we’ve been able to keep up with the pace of it and that we can do this last tour and start it all over again.

Q: Has the working relationship with ITNO/Columbia and Lily Allen met your expectations?
We’re a record company’s dream and nightmare because we do everything ourselves. We coordinate our own videos; we do our own posters and album artwork. We do most of our songs at home without use for a studio. Our relationship with the record label is really just ‘give me money’ [laughs]. It’s easy for us to deal with people because we go it going on our own. The reason we signed with them is they’re happy to let us do what we want. We don’t really get restricted, so that’s great.

Q: When you first started to make this album, did you have any goals in mind?
We had no idea what we were doing. I’d never been on tour longer than San Diego to Portland. We had no idea how a band works as a business entity or on an international scale. We had no expectations about anything that was going to happen. But that’s a nice way to go about it because then you kind of make it up as you go along. And that’s what we we’re been doing. There’s no formula.

Q: You’ve already started writing for the follow up. How far along are you into it?
We’re like 15 songs in on that. Last time we wrote 23 songs for the 11 that got picked. This time, I think we’re going to write about 40. It’s a lot easier to write songs now that we’ve gone on tour so much and become better musicians ourselves. It’s liberating to be able to play more and show off on the new recordings.

Q: In one prediction of the new sound, you’d described it as ‘Nancy Sinatra meets Squarepusher.’ Do you still stick to that?
[laughs] I don’t know. It’s always a battle for us between the guitar and electronic beats. It sways back and forth all the time. For us, the album is just starting to come into focus. I think I’d say we’re trying to make a dance record without dance beats and a funk record without funk music. 

Q: Last December, you both guested on an episode of “You Gabba Gabba.” How was that experience?
I was a big fan of that show and saw performances, so I knew it well. They asked us two days before we had to be in LA. It was like, ‘how are we gonna make this happen?’ We just showed up and did the whole track in the morning and then shot it in the afternoon. By nighttime, we were on a plane back to New York. It was really special because Madeline’s little brother is 5 and that’s his favorite show. We got to watch it with him, which was really cool.

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