After Cults released Static in 2013, the duo of Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion had not only broken up as a couple; they were also creatively spent. Therefore, Cults took a break.
While Follin and Oblivion’s romantic relationship is over, Cults is now back with its third album, Offering; it has a much more upbeat feel and is some of the band’s best material to date.
Cults be stopping by Pappy and Harriet’s on Saturday, Nov. 4. During a recent phone interview with Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, they discussed how Offering got its name. The album starts with the title track.
“The song actually came before the title for the record,” Follin said. “We wrote the song, and when we were outside in the middle of recording one day, somehow we had all separately decided we’d name the album Offering after the song. We all just kind of decided it, which was strange.”
Follin said the time off after the release of Static inspired the album’s sound and energy.
“It was a natural thing,” she said. “We never sat down and decided that we wanted to write a more upbeat album, but we did have quite a bit of time off to recharge everything, and I feel like we were just happier at the time we were writing it. Writing the album before that, we had gotten off a 4-year-long tour, and we were feeling kind of lost and sad. Taking some time to ourselves recharged us.”
Brian Oblivion said they made a conscious decision to have less guitar on the new album.
“I think we’re usually trying to tame the rock,” Oblivion said with a laugh. “Over the process of this album, I learned that playing guitar is not something that I do for fun. In the process of recording this record, we had the whole record tracked without a single guitar on it. We recorded some parts, and I got frustrated because I forgot how to play, so I had to call our touring guitar player to come to the studio, and I said, ‘Just replay all this stuff.’ He added a bunch of cool things, but we ended up taking over half of them away, because the songs already sounded finished.
“Not a single song on this record was written on a guitar. Guitars sound great when they’re called for, but that’s not all the time.”
While there are numerous options for writing and recording music thanks to modern technology, Cults likes to keep it simple.
“When we write, it’s just the two of us and a laptop,” Oblivion said. “Anything can happen at any moment. We can play the song backward; we could change the sound; and we always try to make decisions along the way. We’ll work on it and just look at each other and say, ‘How does it sound?’ If it sounds good, we don’t touch it again. It’s the only way for us to actually finish something in this era of endless possibilities of recording an album.”
Follin and Oblivion said it’s actually easier to write, record and tour together now that they are no longer a couple.
“It’s such an experience to tour with the members of the band that we tour with,” Oblivion said. “You spend five weeks with each other—every moment of every single day. To go home and life apart from that now? It’s very enjoyable.”
Cults had the pleasure of opening for the Pixies several years ago.
“It was one of the best experiences of our life!” Follin said. “We actually talk about it all the time and say we wish we could tour only with the Pixies. They were so nice, and it’s just so cool being able to play and then get off the stage and watch a band that you grew up idolizing play every night.”
There is a special occasion tied in with Cults’ appearance at Pappy and Harriet’s.
“It’s always been a dream, because we’ve heard every show there is amazing,” Follin said. “Luckily, it happens to be on my birthday weekend, and we’re going to rent an Airbnb up there and enjoy ourselves. More of our Los Angeles friends are going to that show than they are the Los Angeles show.”
Cults will perform with Curls and The Willows at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $19 to $21. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.