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Post Info TOPIC: The Cult Frontman Ian Astbury Talks About the End of the Album Era in Music

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Date: Dec 10 02:50:39 2010
The Cult Frontman Ian Astbury Talks About the End of the Album Era in Music

Legendary frontman for The Cult Ian Astbury sat down for an interview recently with the Detroit Rock Blog discussing the band's upcoming introduction of the Capsule format in music and its impact on traditional album releases of music.  A couple interesting excerpts from the chat can be read below.


Detroit Rock Blog: Does the advent of the capsule format mean an end to THE Cult albums? Going forward, will The Cult only release singles?

Astbury: I think those formats, those terms - single, album, EP - really belong in the 20th century. They describe a specific arcane format, and the industry is still holding on to some of that 20th-century pre-Internet communication, really traditional way of doing things. It's up for debate if there's still an audience who are quite happy to indulge in those formats. But having said that, the idea of capsule as a 21st-century format. . .essentially with the capsule you can make it whatever you wanna make it. You can make it 20 songs, we can make it one song or a film, we can make four songs and a book. . I mean, we're gonna see the capsule application as being the new format for release of a body of a work. Maybe the word album will go away and we'll just say, "Have you got a new app by so and so?" Applications are coming, no question, and artists will (eventually) release their music through an app format. Apple is pushing that app format heavily. And who knows where that's going to lead? A subscription module? Maybe you buy the band's app and then you update it with new material or new products. I think web sites will probably go away or probably go to applications again, whereby you have to sign up. You have to pay a fee just to be a member of the fan club. Or you at least have to give up your e-mail address. That's really what people are interested in, getting your e-mail, personal details. So then they can inundate you with requests to buy the wonderful things that we create.

Detroit Rock Blog: When you hear the back and forth banter between Keith [Richards] and Mick [Jagger of The Rolling Stones], after all those years together, does it give you a good feeling in regards to the kind of relationship you have with Billy [ Duffy, The Cult guitarist]?

Astbury: Well, ultimately, at the end of the day, we're very different people, but we have a mutual respect. There's a underlying respect and we're able to travel and work in the same environment. If we've got something to say to each other, we say it. Even though we may have completely different perspectives, under The Cult umbrella, we work it out. Sometimes that can be very uncomfortable, it can be very heated, but there's no lack of passion there. Over the past a few years we've been making the best possible music we can make and whether or not we're (achieving) that, it's definitely our intention. That's what we're going for, and sometimes, you end up doing your dirty laundry in public. But I'd like to think were both mature enough to have the balls to get in the room and have it out with each other. It's not high school. High school finished a long time ago for us. This is our life, I mean for life, and we're fully invested in it. I'm under no delusion that we're a brand like The Rolling Stones or even U2. We come from a completely different ethic, ethos, where at the end of the day it's blue-collar punk rock. There's a real grounding in that. We're under no delusions that anybody's gonna give us anything, we're gonna have to fight. We're not the kind of band to go looking for accolades either, and we're not great self-promoters. We usually call it like we see it and that's the generation we came out of. I think maybe when we were younger and we went through the "Sonic Temple" period, it was a very intensely commercial period, it grew into that. It was like, we keep making choices until we were in a cul-de-sac, and then we broke out of that again. We broke out on that with the self-titled album in '94. . . When you sign to a major record label and there's always a set of conditions that revolve around that. It was a high investment and high expectation and a high return. So we end up being in the studio with . . There's always the outside influence of the A&R guy who's monitoring your progress and really does affect ecosystem of a band. I guess we also kind of grew out of a different thing. We grew out of more of a single ethos as opposed to an album ethos. We grew up with the seven-inch single as the resident product in the market place. Because we didn't have any idea there's any longevity in this. It's about making one song at a time, but then you get in the business of making albums, getting that more commercial element. It becomes a very different animal to contend with on a daily basis, when going out and doing 200 dates a year and releasing an album. Coming off the road, then going right back in the studio. If you do that for 12 years and you've only buried about five or six people, you've done okay.

Detroit Rock Blog: The Cult had been lumped in with the hair metal movement [in the late '80s].

Astbury: I think everybody had long hair, but the thing was, I had the best long hair. Nobody had better hair than me. And they were all try to mimic it. I mean, Axl Rose was wearing MY bandana that my girlfriend at the time put on him. Straightened his hair out, put my bandana on him for a Queen photo shoot. That was MY look.

To read the entire interview go to

-- Edited by DPJ on Friday 10th of December 2010 10:23:29 AM


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