Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!
Beloved New York duo Cults, aka multi-instrumentalist/singer Madeline Follin and multi-instrumentalist Brian Oblivion, were at the forefront of the bedroom pop craze with their 2010 breakout single, “Go Outside.” Dubbed one of the indie rock highlights of the year, they have now released their fourth full-length LP titled Host, out via Sinderlyn.
While the duo’s signature earworm melodies have been a staple in the indie music world, Madeline confesses before making this record that she “never brought her own music to the table because she was too shy.” This dramatic revelation is what triggered the reimagining of their sound. Written more collaboratively than ever before and recorded primarily with live instruments for the first time, the collection marks the start of a bold new chapter for the band — one fueled by an ever-deepening trust and a boundless appetite for growth and experimentation.
The songs here are deceptively charming, with lush, airy arrangements that belie their dark, weighty lyrics. The production is rich and multifaceted to match, blending retro and futuristic palettes into a spellbinding swirl of high-def indie rock and lo-fi bedroom pop. With hard hitting melodies on “Spit You Out,” comparable to Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine to the cinematic album closer “Monolithic,” Host shows that the duo is still discovering fresh layers and possibilities within their creative relationship.
Host was co-produced by Cults and Shane Stoneback, mixed by John Congleton, mastered by Heba Kadry, and features Loren Shane Humphrey (Last Shadow Puppets, Florence and the Machine, Guards) on drums.
Flaunt caught up with Cults to discuss the new project, and why fans will love it.
How would you describe yourselves to someone who’s never heard your music?
We get described as “retro future pop” a lot, that makes sense to us I guess. We try and write songs that feel like little time capsules outside of time, throwing all our influences together without curation.
Being from New York, what was the household like growing up?
My stepdad had a recording setup in the living room so there were always a lot of people coming in and out of the house making records. It’s a really cool place to be a kid. You’re only a short train away from some of the best museums and artwork in the world!
When did you realize music could be a career?
We made a few songs and put them on the internet thinking that nobody would ever hear them. A friend sent them to a music site called Gorilla vs. Bear and after that, we started getting offers to do tours. We decided to drop out of school and go on tour, it’s been our career ever since.
What’s the meaning behind the title?
The record is a lot about realizing that there’s something toxic in your life and gaining the strength to remove it from your life. In a host/parasite relationship, the parasite leeches on and you don’t even realize it’s there until it completely drains you. Host is about… no longer being a host. If that makes sense?
There are themes of rebirth and escaping parasite relationships on this record. How does Madeline’s fem perspective on these types of relationships influence the growth of Cults as whole?
Everyone can have these feelings, people can experience this with relationships, friendships, addictions etc. We both can relate and that elevates our collaboration.
What can we expect from your new album, Host?
A wide range of emotions. Anger, despair, and in the end… contentment.