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the insider: cults

on their new album, halloween, and how they keep their hair so shiny.

by: liza darwin

photo by olivia malone

October 17 2013

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Not like Cults' debut album could ever get old or anything, but when the New York band drops new music, you have no other choice than to stop everything and listen. That's exactly what we've been doing ever since Static, the excellent follow-up to their 2011 self-titled disc, landed on our desks several weeks ago. Now that it's officially dropped, you can too. Prior to hitting the studio last summer Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion spent several months writing and crafting their brand of dark, moody pop. The record has been more than a year in the making--and the effort clearly shows, especially in singles like "I Can Hardly Make You Mine" that prove that polished and hazy aren't necessarily oxymorons. Especially when you're talking about really good music.

The pair is prepping to jump back on tour this fall--and if they're in your city near Halloween, GO!-- but before that happens, read our interview with Follin and Oblivion here. Turns out, these guys like free clothes and long hair as much as we do...

What's the story behind the album's title Static?
Brian Oblivion:
We had the idea for the name and the artwork sketched out before we even went into the studio. Just how like how our last album was called Cults, this was based on a fascination that had developed for us over time. Madeline and I don't really jam with a band, so the process is mostly about narrowing down a bunch of ideas.

You're about to head back on tour. Which song are you most excited to play live?
B: I'm excited to play "I Can Hardly Make You Mine." It's the first track where I have a guitar solo and just shred. 

Will your onstage style change with this tour? Your outfits have stayed pretty consistent over the years...
Madeline Follin: 
I think we'll probably stick with a similar style. I'm actually getting some dresses made for me; it's the first time this has happened! Somebody emailed me out of the blue and asked to make dresses for the tour, and I was like, "Sure!" Who's going to turn down free dresses?
B: I'm going to go a little more rockabiliy...
M: With a pompadour?
B: No way! No pompadours in this band. [Laughing] It's funny, I've never even considered the possibility of having a really good tailor who can transform something totally ugly and gigantic into something cool. This might be the time. 

You both have amazing hair. Tell us your secrets?
M: My secret is having a hairdresser who doesn't make me cut it a lot. I've only cut it a tiny bit over the years.
B: I remember when I was 13 years old, I had long hair and my dad was bugging me to get a haircut. I agreed to, but I told him that if they fucked up my hair, I would never cut it again. The Supercuts I went to cut off an entire chunk of my hair, so I've kept it long ever since! I was so angry.
M: We're not really into washing our hair a lot--I mostly just use Oribe texturizing spray, which is my favorite thing ever. Also, dry shampoo.

Since it's been about two years since your debut album, are you excited for everyone to hear your new material?
B: We are. It's a challenge, because a couple of years was just about the perfect amount of time between records. You're damned if you do and you're damned it you don't. If you release onerecord immediatelyy after another, people are like, "too soon!" but if you wait a bit, then they're like "what took so long?"

Tell us about your new video for "High Road."
B: Whenever we do a video, we put together a list of inspirational things or constructs that we're looking for. We told people we wanted this one to be really graphic; black and white, lots of abstract vibes. The other ones were super-narrative and had a lot of direction, so we wanted to do something different. 

Last question: what are you going to be for Halloween?
B: We're so excited for Halloween! We're going to be performing in North Carolina the night of Halloween, but we're going to be celebrating for the two days before and the two days after. We're having pumpkins at the venues and are going to do costumes. I want to do a theme, like, everyone else is a bad guy and Madeline is the good guy. [Laughing]
M: I've been telling everyone that I'm going to be Howard Stern, so I don't know how that's going to fit in to your plan! We'll see. 

Buy Static on iTunes and listen to more Cults here

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