TheMusic.com.au recently conducted an interview with THE CULT singer Ian Astbury. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On recording the “Electric” album with legendary producer Rick Rubin:
Astbury: “We sat down with Rick in a New York dorm room and he played us a BLUE CHEER video, then asked, ‘This is how I can see you guys sounding, more stripped back and direct. Do you want to do this?’ Billy [Duffy, guitarist] and I looked at each other and said, ‘Hell, yes! Definitely’.
“Working with Rubin in 1986 in New York, we were hanging around at Def Jam with Rick and the studio was a meeting place for everybody on the label. LL Cool J, RUN DMC, BEASTIE BOYS — they all seemed to turn up, particularly around dinner time. It’s tough trying to convey what New York was like at the time — ‘lawless’ is a good word. People got killed, or shot, just around the corner from where I lived, Washington Square, which was really close, had drug deals going on all the time — muggings.”
On how he felt no nervousness about the band’s new direction:
Astbury: “If you approach music with that philosophy, constantly rationalising what you do, it makes things very difficult; if you’re thinking about what you’re doing and why rather than being present and just doing it.
“The opinions of other people are none of my business. My business is to be in touch with my own truth and to be courageously honest with myself. ‘Electric’, at the time, was a courageously honest record. What we had established with the ‘Love’ album — everyone got used to that band. It didn’t feel right to repeat it, it felt like a cynical formula. When we were recording ‘Electric’, it felt like we were doing exactly what we were into.”
On performing the entire “Electric” album on the upcoming tour:
Astbury: “Many songs from ‘Electric’ are still a part of us, part of our DNA. We’ve never stopped playing ‘Wild Flower’, ‘Love Removal Machine’ or ‘Lil’ Devil’. If you want to make sense of it, a way to look at it is that ‘Electric’ is an album of live music — music of the instant — and that’s what’s so compelling about it. It’s the same with being onstage: seeing the music being performed fresh, created again in a fresh moment — it’s like making love. Each time you play you have a different set of emotions and you’re in a different moment.”
Read the entire interview at TheMusic.com.au.