The Cult Sounds is a band I dscovered somewhat recently and immediatly fell in love with. They make the most wonderfully dark yet dreamy rock music which leaves no question abou their influences and yet manage to carve out their own sound in the process.
Having one self-titled EP along with a string of singles and covers of some classic songs they`ve been off to a great start and is currently working on a full-lenght album taking their sound a few steps further.
I got in touch with Jordan Hagerman, the bands rythm guitarist and inquired as to wether or no they`d be up for a quick chat. Needless to say they most definetly were so read on and learn about this gem of a band.
Who is The Cult Sounds and where did it all start?
The Cult Sounds is a Dark Rock band based out St. Louis, Missouri consisting of Bennett Huntley on Lead Vocals, Ryan McBride on Lead Guitar, Jordan Hageman on Rhythm Guitar/Synths & Programming, Wyatt Eagen on Bass, and Justin Riley on Drums & Percussion
Jordan, Bennett, and Ryan met in 2012 during their freshman year of college at Webster University. We had wanted to do music together before since we all actively listen to vinyl together and go to shows or discover new bands together. The right circumstances and the write demos created the opportunity for The Cult Sounds to exist past just our original inclination of a studio project.
You`ve released a few covers by Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and Bauhaus, why did you choose those artists in particular?
Our cover choices usually come from us being interested in seeing what we could do with that song either adding elements, stripping it down, or adopting our style entirely to it. With these 3 – Bela Lugosi’s Dead is usually considered the first Goth song so it seemed like a good place to start for our first release, Rhiannon cams from our love of Fleetwood Mac and the arrangement is a fun take on that classic, and I’m Afraid of Americans came originally as a tongue-in-cheek jab at Americans for the coronavirus handling but ultimately morphed into something else with the murder of George Floyd.
Is there any symbolism behind the artwork for your self-titled release? it goes really well with the music and adds to the atmosphere.
Not particularly, the cover is more of an art piece Bennett created using a skull Ryan found and gave to him. It inspired all of us when we saw it and it seemed to just make sense with the tone and atmosphere of the music.
My favourite of yours thus far as to be “Anatomy Of A Car Crash” How did this song come about?
Originally the song came from a car accident Jordan was in coming home from an Alkaline Trio show. There was a desire to capture that anxiety and fear in a song. The main riff fell into place with the structure and the ghostly vocal inflections with the guitar solo section was just too perfect of a way to end it. What really makes that song feel so powerful is Ryan’s solo just cutting through and hanging over like the grim reaper. Ironically enough, not long after the song was finished, our old keyboardist and Bennett were also in a pretty awful crash on their way to rehearsal just before our second show. Lyrically it’s of course a bit of a double-entendre; a literal car crash and a wreck of a human being. The “white lines the dashboard” lyric was inspired by a time Bennett watched a friend snort coke off the dashboard of his car- THAT is the anatomy of a car crash.
What`s your take on current events? Do you think we will learn something from all this and perhaps be witness to the beginning of the end of the corrupted systems of the world or do you think we will simply forget and move on ending up treating this like just another trend?
That’s a pretty tough question. You hope things will change, and I think every time something like this comes around we all think “this is it, this is the moment.” And maybe it is. Hopefully it is. I think we’re heading in the right direction, and I think if we continue to fight we can bring change. But I think that all depends on how much we all commit ourselves to the cause and how long our country’s often incredibly short attention span can hold all this in view.
You`ve been working on a new album recently as well as music videos to accompany it, how far are we from getting to hear some new stuff and does it have a title yet?
The album is called “Death of a Star” and hopefully we can release it in the fall and actually play shows here and on the road to promote it. It’s very near and dear to us. As far as singles go, there should be one coming within the next month or two, hopefully. COVID has somewhat marred a lot of our plans. But we do have a music video in pre-production for one of the singles being handled by the creative/conceptual team behind the short film “Follow Me.”
How does the new album differ from your current discography?
The album contains 11 songs that each explore our sound. It’s our most dynamic material thus far – containing our heaviest music, our softest music, our fastest, and our slowest. We really let our Dark Rock sound permeate our outside influences of everything from Punk to old Country to Metal to Industrial to Space Rock to everything in between. We felt more comfortable as a band this time around and really explored ideas and ended up with around 35-40 different songs and ideas we optioned for the record. The songs you hear on the record are the ones that inspired us the most as well as fit the concept we were going with for “Death of a Star” and reflected the themes or ideas therewith-in.
“Death of a Star” represents a lot of different ideas on the record – some being celebrity worship, fame-chasing, literal death and how unprepared we are for it no matter what we do, death of relationships and connections, and the idea of the death of a dream that was never attainable to begin with. So, clearly it’s a happy record.
I caught a few of those classic Davey Havok “Oh`”`s in some of your songs so I take it AFI is an influence but who else would you say influences your sound and style?
AFI is absolutely a massive influence on us as a band, particularly Bennett and Jordan but as far as our biggest influences and inspirations musically (that are mutual across the board) we’d have to say David Bowie is in the fabric of everything we do, The Cure, Type O Negative, Bauhaus, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Joy Division, Tribulation, My Chemical Romance, King Diamond, Sisters of Mercy, Ghost, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Danzig/Samhain, Nine Inch Nails, The Beatles, The Doors, and Depeche Mode. We listen to so much different music all the time, that we really pull from every decade of music from the 50’s to now.
Style comes a lot of from the idea of the “rock show” of the 70’s which doesn’t really exist as much anymore. People love music with substance and people love a spectacle and a show – why not give them both? It’s fun for us to dress up, wear makeup, have fog onstage, candles, lights, incense, etc. It gives the audience something to remember and tell others about. This idea is nothing new, obviously, we’re pulling from the masters – Alice Cooper, Ghost, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, David Bowie, and KISS. Regionally, no one in St. Louis does that live show aspect with outfits and makeup so naturally we wanted to do that in a way that would compliment our Gothic aesthetic.
Why did you name yourself The Cult Sounds?
We’re actually named after a record released by a very small previously-defunct-now-active Australian label called Aberrant. It’s a compilation of recordings from some, let’s say “spiritualists,” such as Anton La Vey, David Koresh, and Heaven’s Gate. You can’t really find the album anywhere and it’s banned from sale on some sites, so if you find an actual copy please let us know.
You`re based in St.Louis right? How`ve you been handling the protests there and how are things right now?
St. Louis is unfortunately fairly segregated and there are hard economic divides within the city, so to see people of all skin colors and walks of life coming together is beautiful. The world needs more love and unification, but, we cannot have any of that while people of color are not truly equal. It’s been 157 years since the Emancipation Proclamation and being white people, we have to be better. There’s no excuse. Racism, political corruption, and police brutality is a disease that must be dealt with.
As we all know by now live shows have become pretty much extinct for the time being so how are you guys dealing with that? I
Not well – we love seeing bands live and we love playing shows, without that group catharsis and outlet it feels like there’s a huge void in our lives. It’s a scary and sad time. We just hope we can play a show again soon.
I tend to leave space after each interview for the artists to use for whatever they would like, The Cult Sounds chose to leave the following music reccomendation:
Polterguts, Abraxas, Time and Pressure, Direct Measure, Bellhead, Gary Robert & Community, Reaver, Luxora, Summoning the Lich, and David Bowie.
Keep up with The Cult Sounds via the following links: