Once upon a time, two star-crossed lovers meet and make beautiful music together. They share these 60’s-tinged melodies with their friends and before they know it, fame and popularity is birthed. They’re on NPR, Nylon Magazine and even Vogue talking about their trippy music that was just a haphazard, little project to get away from the boredom from film school. Now they live as 21st Century’s John Lennon and Yoko Ono, without those pesky other insects, side-by-side with label-mates like Lily Allen, Ke$ha and Beyoncé.
Yes, the emergence of indie-rock/pop band, Cults, is something right out of a Nicholas Sparks novel turned film, but it is their reality which probably makes the duo more fascinating. “We met in San Diego on tour with my brother’s band.” says front-woman Madeline Follin. The other half of Cults, Brian Oblivion adds, “We’ve been dating for a lot longer than [we had] the band. After that night in San Diego, we hit it up.” Their self-titled first album is a romantic Shangri-La-esque piece of pop with indie sensibilities riddled with cinematic qualities that combine to create a great sonic experience that is as visual as it is pleasurable to listen to. “We try to make our songs into close approximation into little movies. Having characters, settings, a lot of bands try to do that with albums.”
I’m no Roger Ebert to judge films and at the risk of sounding rather pessimistic, this story does sound familiar. Lovers meet; lovers make art, lovers break-up, and fans cry. Cue Celine Dion sap music and credits roll. Cults’ fate seems almost pre-determined just in theory of the band. “It’s a valid concern. We’re probably better at it than people would assume we would be […] it’s nice; it’s a really beautiful thing to travel around the world and play music with someone you care about”, says Brian Oblivion. Cults have a calming, laid-back energy with all of the success and obstacles that such instant success might bring, really. “In the beginning it was pretty crazy, but we had a lot of people around us giving really good advice […] Madeline’s step dad was like the Splinter to our Ninja Turtles.” Oblivion chuckles. He shares how Madeline’s stepfather explained that it’s okay to take their time and not to worry about people forgetting about them or their music.
Luckily, Cults have a huge, strong grasp on their music and in this film, there’s no evil villain bent on their domination. Cults even exclusively reveal that they are already in the studio, recording their sophomore effort when discussing their preference of recording over live performances. “Recording, definitely. That’s the best thing ever. Nobody bothers you and you drink whiskey and try every weird thing you can think of.” Their darker lyrics and atmospheric aesthetic will probably still be notable in the next effort. “[…] I always wanted the songs to be cinematic. Sometimes the world feels like a terrible place filled with drama and pain. But ultimately that pain and drama, it’s just life. It’s always preferable to being boring or being satisfied […] put yourself out there and have a fucked up experience for the sake of having a fucked up experience.” Spoken like true protagonists on the edge of blockbuster glory.
Cults pressed pause on their lives to talk which will become increasingly rarer as their popularity sky rockets. Yes, their lives are something like a 1960’s cult, romantic film and their music would appropriately be the perfect soundtrack. And as long as they’re making music this goddamn good, I’ll be eating popcorn, ears wide-open, hanging on to every last plot twist. La fin.
You can read this full interview and more in the 5th issue of Art Nouveau on sale now at MagCloud.