Cults, the celebrated indie-pop duo of Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, have just released their fourth record, the enchanting Host. In case you didn't know this, Madeline and Brian both live in the East Village. Madeline answered a few questions for EVG the other day about Host and her East Village home since age 8.
You both live in the East Village. You spent time in Arizona while working on Host. So how do your surroundings influence the songwriting-creative process? Does it make a difference where you are?
I think there are pros and cons for both recording at home and leaving town. When we're at home it's a bit harder to tune out the distractions and we get a little looser with our working schedule, which can be a good thing because we have the time to sit with what we've worked on.
We went to Arizona because we don't know anyone there and we just wanted to fully immerse ourselves in the record and be able to work round the clock which we can't really do in our East Village apartments.
You've spent a lot of time on the road supporting your previous records. Given how much time you can be away, does the East Village feel like home to you?
It does feel like home! My mom and stepdad moved to the East Village when I was around 8 so it has always been home. Brian has lived here for about 12 years.
With the COVID-19 crisis, what have you had to differently leading up to the release of Host?
Everything has been different! We had to find different ways to make videos and do our photos. We did a lot of things creatively that I'm not sure we would have done pre-pandemic. We probably wouldn't have done a "mukbang" video [see "Spit You Out" below] or agreed to having someone direct a video from our respective homes but our friends have helped us make some really cool stuff. Also, not touring the record is very different.
Four records in now, starting with 2011's self-titled release, do you feel as if you have a good assessment of the band's evolution?
I guess our evolution has been about slowly broadening the influences we allow into our songwriting. In the beginning it was very kind of early 60s and that was it!
Each album it feels like we’ve moved up a decade or so, letting the light in a little. This next album I guess we'll have finally caught up with ourselves. What a scary thought.
Speaking of a new record: You've said that you usually start on one after a tour wraps up. Without touring on the horizon, how might this impact record No. 5?
We are hopefully going to start writing the next record the day after Host is released!You can catch a livestream of Cults on Oct. 1 from (Le) Poisson Rouge. Find the details here.