With musical and stylistic collaboration comes The Cult

Published on March 25th, 2021

Long-standing bands often have a few big choices to make as the years go by. Part of that is the need to reform and continue to grow, even if that means the record labels won’t be falling all over themselves to push a product.

For The Cult, there was that pressure, but the band broke out in the later ‘80s with the single “She Sells Sanctuary,” followed by the album “Sonic Temple,” which featured “Fire Woman” and “Edie (Ciao Baby).”

“We’ve re-established ourselves over the last decade and are getting the best reviews and best audiences of any incarnation of the band ever,” said lead singer Ian Astbury of the band that will perform November 21 at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella.

It’s about bringing together visions.

“It’s all about the collaboration between Duffy and myself,” he said. “What I bring and what he brings is quite unique and usually different visions and that’s how we hit the room.”

And he thinks they are at their musical peak.

“The last two records we have been much better at the songs,” he said. “The song will dictate what we are feeling and hearing. It is really the mistress that we have to focus on not the market or trying to exceed expectations.”

There have been big expectations.

Their sounds have been compared to the Doors, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Goth rock, but Astbury has always seen them as authentic and influenced by everything around them.

“When people see us coming, the hackles come up because we are a different animal with different background and are authentic,” he said. “We didn’t contrive it. When we were younger, if anything, we were naïve and raw and maybe that music comes off as more sophomoric.”

And back then, they were with a major label.

“You know, all of the music and albums we are making are from their own time,” he said. “The only time we got stuck in the mud was in the early ‘90s. We had never been part of a major label so there was so much external pressure.”

The band’s experience, in Astbury’s mind, is key to the reformation of creativity.

“When we were with Warner Brothers, it’s a business and you are a horse in the stable and they want you to perform,” he said. “It’s very different now. I think certainly a band like us are veterans with plenty of experience. Someone comes in with an opinion and we consider it.”

For Astbury, his experiences in new places have always led to creativity.

“Travel is the greatest influence because you get to see a lot and experience a lot,” he said. “You get to see people’s lives as an outsider. What you see is normal for them, but when you are coming though, you document things differently.”

Even a dog story gets his attention.

“I was in Houston and it was raining and there was a guy chasing his dog, running into oncoming traffic and you could see the horror on his face,” he said. “We were just going by and that really stuck with me. I don’t know about the situation but I was wondering why are cops involved and why aren’t people stopping. The dog was booking and the guy was terrified. It just made me think about the experience and what it all means.”

The new record, “Hidden City,” will be released in February 2016.

For Astbury, “Hidden City” is a more spiritual album.

“People want to be seen and validated whether it’s because of a cultural thing, a neighborhood or even an event,” he said. “For me. I am more of an observer, taking in what I see around me. It’s my place to respond and participate through words and music. It has always been that way for me.”

And to him, his music is almost a visual presentation.

“It’s a metaphor for our spiritual lives,” he said. “It’s a vision we have. I have a clear vision of instrumentation and I love the cinema. There’s a cinematic vision. I think we live in a very visual society. I try to not react to things, but to observe and participate.”

And it’s a good time for him.

“I feel very good about where we are as a band,” he said.

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