Culted interview

"Inspiration comes from every corner of this rigid cosmos, and the people that run it"

14/02/2014 @ 11:03
Canada's Culted are one of the newly formed bands that know exactly what to do to stir the waters of doom. With haunting ambiance and noisy themes form crushingly heavy soundscapes that exude an extreme black coldness that gives you the chills. The band's members are scattered to Canada and Sweden but we made it and talked with the two main protagonists, Michael (guitar, bass, samples) and Daniel (vocals, ambiance), who talked about their latest record, "Oblique To All Paths", the recording procedure and their infuences.

CultedHello. I am Manolis from and congratulations for your newest installment, "Oblique To All Paths". To get things started, I absolutely love the title. I think it fits your music perfectly (as it supposed to but not many bands do that) and I am curious to know what does it mean and why did you choose it?
Daniel: The title comes from an Austin Osman Spare quote: "For I am I: ergo, the truth of myself; my own sphinx, conflict, chaos, vortex-asymmetric to all rhythms, oblique to all paths. I am the prism between black and white: mine own unison in duality." A friend of mine, Osman Arabi (20.SV, The Ritual Inclusion of Code), introduced me to AOS through this quote a couple of years back and it really had an impact on me. I thought it was surprisingly well written about the duality that makes up an individual, no right or wrong, just the chaos in between.

I know that you guys met each other via internet and that you recorded your first album without ever meeting each other. I don’t know what you expected before start writing stuff but the outcome was pretty damn good. Tell me a few more things about that. Also, what was the recording process that you followed now?
Michael: That right, we 'met' online and have recorded two albums and an EP. I was over at a friend’s house, back in 2006 or so, listening to a bunch of new albums he’d got in the mail and one of them was Daniel’s Deadwood project. It was his 8 19 CD that for whatever reason struck a chord.  My buddy ended up giving or selling it to me, right there, because it was something that I decided needed repeat listens. I ended up contacting Daniel through Myspace awhile later and asked if he’d be interested in adding some Industrial sounds for an Of Human Bondage intro Matt and I were working on. He agreed and sometime later that year he asked if we’d be interested in making some doom type music together. We agreed and Culted was the result. Matt or I come up with the riffs and the basic structure of the songs with Kev, record them and send them to Daniel. He’ll send them back and we’ll start adding and layering sounds until the song sounds fulfilled. Early on, when the basic structure of the album was becoming evident, I felt there was an element that the songs needed, but wasn’t being met. So, I asked a good friend Erik Larsen, who is one half of the modular synth duo Solar Coffin, to contribute his skills to add some droning oscillations to the mix, which it turns out, was the missing link.

Culted - Oblique To All Paths"Brooding Hex" is a bleak masterpiece of epic proportions but because of its length some listeners might find it a bit difficult to 'adapt'. Why did you choose the specific song to start the album with?
M: Well, thanks! Some people may find it difficult and that’s fine, it may not be something that resonates with everyone or even most. We didn’t set out to create long songs, but there was definitely a vibe when we were putting this together that we wanted to create sounds or a headspace where we could lose ourselves. "Brooding Hex" was the obvious choice for an opener, which because of its length may seem odd, but it sets the tone for what follows.

Who writes the lyrics and what are they about? Is there a concept behind the album?
D: I’m the vocalist, I write the lyrics and add ambient sounds and noise. There´s no straight concept that runs through the record. The lyrics are inspired by all sorts of things, from literature to revolution. It can be political or anti-religious, it can be about the choices one makes and the consequences that follow. Inspiration comes from every corner of this rigid cosmos, and the people that run it.

Culted"Oblique To All Paths" is crushingly heavy and dark but even more it is cold as ice. However there are some scattered moments that feel somehow warmer like the opening melody in "Transmittal". Was that deliberate or it just came out like that naturally?
M: The differences between deliberate and natural are completely subjective. The melody you’re referring to was something that complimented the other riffs and was created simultaneously, I can understand how that might be interpreted as a melody or a lead, but to me, it’s all about overall sound and to our ears it worked. So, to answer your question, it wasn’t forced, so to me that means it happened naturally, but it wasn’t put there without forethought, so therefore deliberately as well.

The ambiance and the noisy themes that you use are some of the most interesting things in your music. What did you use to achieve sounding like this? Sometimes I think I am listening to an organ or something like a Hammond...
M: There isn’t one thing that we used to achieve those sounds. Both Matt and I like heavily effected guitar and bass and the pedals that can be manipulated while performing, so there’s that aspect. But we also enjoy messing about with organ, one which I saved from the trash bin, as well as keyboard, Moog etc. Daniel’s a wizard with electronics, so he adds sound as needed from his studio. And like I mentioned earlier, we collaborated with my good friend Erik Larsen on modular synths and other sounds.

CultedI love the way you use drones and repetitive notes. Droning sometimes needs improvising into abstract themes but your music sounds very well structured. Is that a part of the general concept?
M: Thanks! Many times these drones were improvised. For example the end of "Brooding Hex" was going to just end on the final note, but when we hit that final note a feedback loop type thing happened. That feedback turned into a drone that we ended up manipulating with our pedal board to its illogical end.

Relapse took you under its wing since the very beginning. How did it happen to sign to such a well-known and acclaimed label?
M: Daniel released his Keplers Odd project through Desolation House a subsidiary of Relapse and it came up in conversation that he was working on some Doom stuff and they asked to hear it. Needless to say, they liked it and wanted to put it out.

Your music sounds like a mixture of Celtic Frost (the Monotheist era), Switchblade and Esoteric. Which bands influenced you the most and from where do you gather inspiration in general?
M: So many, from classic stuff like Sabbath and Floyd, '80s Thrash, '90s Death, Black and Doom, to Swans, Krautrock and Sunn 0))).

CultedWhat can we expect from you from now and on? Are there any plans for a tour?
M: We’re in the preliminary stages of piecing together songs for the next Culted album. No touring unless a situation presented itself that we could make work.

Now 2013 is over, give a top-5 of the best records you heard in '13.
M: Some notable things I heard, some of which I’ve just recently discovered form last year are: Grave Upheavel - "Grave Upheavel", Tim Hecker - "Virgins", Beastmilk - "Climax", Gnaw - "Horrible Chamber", Gorguts - "Colored Sands".

Thank you very much for your time. Cheers and beers.
M: Cheers!

Manolis Klironomos