If you ask The Cult’s frontman Ian Astbury how he feels about the current music scene and what he’s been listening to lately, be prepared to hear a pretty long list.
“David Bowie, Nick Cave, Darkside, The Black Ryder, Chelsea Wolfe, Icarus Line, Boris, Black Bananas, Pusha T, Ice Age, Alt-J, Dev Hynes as Blood Orange, White Mangingos, Primal Scream,” Astbury ticked away.
And there’s more. Those, he says, are just off the top of his head.
Always inspired by powerful, ambitious sounds verging on the mystic (think Bowie, Joy Division, the album cuts of The Doors), The Cult were frontrunners for the goth rock scene in the mid-’80s.
Tracks like “She Sells Sanctuary” and “Fire Woman” were their ticket. But by the mid-’90s, the roller-coaster portion of their career began, as they would break up and reunite several times, with Astbury at one point announcing that they would never make another studio album.
Obviously, he changed his mind, perhaps skewed in part by all of the music he was hearing being churned out year after year by his many peers listed above.
The Cult’s latest (and ninth) studio set, “Choice of Weapon,” was released in 2012. And now, a tenth album is due for release in 2014, although according to Astbury, the new sounds are going to be trickled out as he sees fit.
“We are in the process of seeing what material we have and working on rough ideas,” he said. “When we have some good sketches, we shall refine the songs into a good working shape before we even enter a studio.”
He would like to, he continued, release at least one song by mid to late fall of this year.
But first, there’s a current tour to wind their way through, and a new music industry model to figure out.
“There is still an overwhelming demand for the album format, even with more focus on single songs,” he said. “But I feel both formats are valid. The world is constantly evolving on many levels, so we are always reacting to those changes.”
That means a Cult album – a full length, proper album, not merely a Cult single, or a Cult mobile ringtone – is still on the way, Cult fans.
For Astbury, it’s all about their fans being able to really connect with the members of The Cult, as he connects with that long list of the music he listens to.
“Technology has evolved and affected the recording process, and that’s a huge shift,” he said, “but the human element is essential.”
The Cult will be in concert at Streeters Center/ Ground Zero in Traverse City on Aug. 8. For tickets, visit groundzeroonline.com.