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CULT WITH NO NAME - Adrenalin Trackworks

 

ImageDo you know many post-punk balladeers? I'm not sure there are many out there, but East London band Cult With No Name are ones you should really get to know. Championed by some great artists (Blaine Reininger from Tuxedomoon, Brett Anderson from Suede and omnitalented musican, director, punk legend Don Letts) they are sill waiting for their great songs and albums to get the attention they deserve. As is the way with the best post-punk bands down the years, Cult With No Name albums are both well measured and full of quality. As a bonus, CWNN songs create an intimate feel, making Erik Stein and Jon Boux good companions even if in reality they are not beside you. They make the world a more comforting place.

 

Plastelin: Adrenalin is the fourth album from CWNN. How do you view the album in the context of your career to date? What is your main feeling when you think of this album?

 

Erik Stein: To be honest, I think it's too early to say. Creating an album can be a bit of an all-consuming process, so when it gets released the first feeling that hits and stay with me is relief. As for "Adrenalin" itself, I certainly think it's our most cohesive work. It flows well. And I think it extends and expands our sound just that little be more.

 

Jon Boux: I would like to think that "Adrenalin" is our most refined album so far and we're certainly happy with the finished product and our own performances. I think each album is comparable with the last but hopefully brings something new - I hope that's the case, anyway.

 

Did you change anything about the way you composed and recorded the album following your mixture of songs and soundscapes on "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari?"

 

JB: The CWNN approach to composing and recording remains the same as it has done since our first songs. I think the "Caligari" album gave us new ways of producing though and that has stuck with us into "Adrenalin". We're far more willing now to play around with soundscapes and the production as a whole - I think writing a film score was very liberating in that way.

 

ES: Jon and I have a very well established way of working, which if nothing else keeps us pretty productive and prolific, and certainly avoids conflict. We used loops quite extensively for the first time, and there's more guitar on "Adrenalin" than on previous CWNN albums. It's the sound of Cult With No Name entering the 21st Century, deciding they don't really like it, and returning to the 20th pretty damn quickly. As Jon's hinted, I think we've also moved one step further away from the concept of playing specific instruments. There's a wonderful quote from Graham Lewis of Wire, who when speaking about their electronic album "Manscape" said how it doesn't bother him that he didn't really play bass on the album because he doesn't play bass, he plays Wire. Much in the same way, Jon and I are not precious about what we do, or do not, do.

 

Is there any special meaning behind the title "Adrenalin"? And come to mention it, are there any stories behind the other titles for CWNN albums?

 

ES: Any special meaning can only be attributed to the fact that adrenalin is not something usually associated with Cult With No Name. I thought it would be quite cute to name something sombre and melancholic after something that represents excitement. The thrill of misery. Some people probably look at the album cover and expect euphoric house music when they put it on. I like tricking people like that, not being quite sure what an album's going to sound like from the the artwork or song titles. In addition to tricking people, train-spotters will note that we've not had a title track on any of our albums before. So that was another reason. In terms of previous albums, the only album title that had multiple meanings was our debut, 'Paper Wraps Rock'. PWR was trying to imply that soft music (paper) will ultimately triumph over hard (rock). And let's not forget that the album came in a card sleeve, so paper literally did wrap "rock".

 

JB: I think the meanings are always open to suggestion - we hope the listener draws on their own interpretation.

 

It is clear that you grab people's attention. Do you have a hardcore following?

 

JB: It would be nice to think so. We find that when people like our music they're very loyal to us. Hopefully we can continue to grow the cult with the release of "Adrenalin".

 

ES: We only tend to grab the attention of people with attention deficit disorder. I don't think we have a hard core following. Or at least, I've not met them. People that follow what we do are pretty diverse. That's also one of the consequences of the digital revolution in music consumption. There's no loyalty to bands anymore because people can download individual tracks from albums. Thousands of people probably own some Cult With No Name, but only one song. It's a good song, though.

 

How important is it for to work with a label like Trakwerx who give you artistic freedom?

 

ES: Trakwerx are fantastic. I see them like a modern-day Factory: total artistic freedom; no binding written contracts; amazing packaging. Tony Wilson would be genuinely proud. I honestly can't imagine what it would be like to work with a label any other way. Trust is fundamental to any good relationship. Trakwerx trust us and we trust them.

 

JB: The freedom that Trakwerx give us is so important. We're very lucky to have a record company that gives us a licence to indulge! Writing music would be very dull without artistic freedom.

 

ImageIt is obvious that your main inspiration comes from 80's. Is there anyone who grabs your attention today? What is the place of CWNN in today's alternative/pop constallation?

 

JB: Well there are plenty of new acts there that I have a lot of time for (I know Erik may disagree with me on this one!). Some of the more downbeat, alternative stuff around at the moment (e.g. Iliketrains) really grabs me at the moment. I'm not quite sure where you would place us within this. In fact this is something we often struggle with - no one knows quite where to place us - although that's a blessing in disguise in many ways...

 

ES: Yes, I don't have the time or interest to listen to anything modern and I tend to prefer the originators of any given genre. I'm not trying to sound stubborn or arrogant, it's just that I feel I learn so much more from the people that started things off, however naive they may have been. As for where we sit in the alternative/ pop constellation, I think we fell from the sky and crash-landed a long time ago. I don't see many bands around that do we what do, but then I've tried hard not to look.

 

Are there any other influences outside of music, such as movies, books?

 

ES: Well, the lyrics come from a different place to the music, I guess. There are a wider set of influences and experiences you can condense down into a lyric. I like American independent cinema, but have fallen out of the loop somewhat in recent years. I constantly read books, but they're nearly always music books! Back to square one, then.

 

JB: There are many movies out there that are great influences, particularly those that combine the image and music so effectively. I love atmospheric sci-fi movies, and the best example here for me is 'Bladerunner'. The fact it has an amazing soundtrack also helps.

 

What are your plans with this album in terms of promotion and what are your plans in general?

 

ES: Just to get us heard, which is hard for a quiet band. But with each subsequent release we're reaching more people. We'd love to tour more, but outside of the UK really. I find it frustrating that we haven't played outside of the UK, we're so very easy to transport and are unlikely to smash up hotel rooms. Hopefully 2011 can provide us with that opportunity. Other than that, we have a minimal techno collaboration that's due to come out very soon and have co-written some songs with an amazing and well-known singer. All will be revealed. Oh, and we better start working on that 5th album, too.

 

JB: Yes, lots and lots of promotion and hopefully more exposure for CWNN.

 

http://www.cultwithnoname.com

 

Author: Mileta Okiljevic

 
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