– Hello and, first of all, thanks for taking your time. How’s everything going in the band’s lair?
Thanks for asking Tania. We’ve been well. Thanks for giving us this opportunity!
-CULTIC is a Death/Doom band with a lot of synths and a dark fantasy concept. How do you translate this kind of lyrics into Extreme Metal?
I’ve spent years creating a parallel world in my head. It has boundaries, characters, architecture, monsters and so on and so forth. This has branched out and expanded into other areas of my life. A lot of my lyrics are directly correlated to a video game that our son and I built over the last five years. For those of you that want a deep dive into CULTIC lore, check it out. It’s called VULGORD’s TOWER (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1457340/Vulgords_Tower/) and you can buy it on STEAM.
-What art or artists are you into?
I like a lot of fantasy and lowbrow art. Aside from my wife’s work… Frazetta, Whelan, Moebius, Vallejo, Ken Kelley, Sean Ahberg, Hildebrant Brothers, and Tom Barber (to name a few). Pushead is a big one. He’s a huge influence on my overall approach to creative work. I say this because he always had a very clear and consistent vision connecting his art and music.
– ‘Of Fire and Sorcery’ is your sophomore and most recent album. As your debut, it’s a concept record. What’s the story behind it and how does it connect to your first full length?
Of Fire and Sorcery is about a wizard’s quest to gain knowledge and power in order to summon a dragon for war. The summoning is depicted on the cover of Of Fire and Sorcery, and the dragon that is being summoned is the same dragon depicted on our first album, High Command. We’re telling a story in reverse. Each full-length album will tell a different piece of the story. If you line up the cover art side-by-side from left to right, the albums form a diptych. This will continue with our nex tfull-length album.
-Will the ‘Seducer’ EP continue with this story in any way? Will there -maybe- also be strong women characters taking the lead?
YES!!! The Seducer EP is about an archetypal sex witch who lives in the CULTIC universe. She’salso a character in Vulgord’s Tower. She can either exalt your cause or bring you to ruin. The EP will act as a bridge between OF FIRE AND SORCERY and our next album, which will tell tales of individual characters.
-You’ve been working on this EP for quite some time now. Is there any release date yet?
Yeah. We’ve had this in the works for a long time. It’s been a few years. Hahah. It was originally going to be a split single with FUNERAL BASTARD. They broke up when the pandemic started. So, we decided to write and record some more material and put it out as an EP. It’s a weird listen. It contains some of our most crazed and our most laid-back material. We’re still planning a video for SEDUCED and are recording and editing that ourselves, so we’ll set a release date as soon as the video is ready. My guess is that we’re looking at sometime this summer.
– If I’m not mistaken it’ll include two dungeon synth songs, how was this idea born?
The whole dungeon synth element of CULTIC came about after a review of our first album “High Command”. I forget the guy’s name right now, but in his review, he said something to the extent of, “This would be cool with dungeon-synth elements.” We agreed.
-You’re now a trio again with Andrew joining the band. Will this have any kind of effect in CULTIC -i.e the writing process or sound?
Oh for sure. Andrew’s songwriting is defter than mine. I feel like the riffs on the next album will be more nuanced. We currently have a bunch of material demoed for the next full-length. Things are starting to feel like they’re coming from the same place and coming together.
-In your music I can hear quite a lot of HELLHAMMER and a bit of WINTER and AMEBIX. What bands were you into when you started to dive into Metal and heavy music in the first place? Those teenage obsessions.
I was a latchkey kid in the early 1980’s. My parents were divorced and my mom worked long hours. One of my friend’s older brothers used to watch me at night. He was a huge metalhead who turned me onto metal when I was nine years old. I was really into Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Dio, Black Sabbath, and Def Leppard. I also listened to quite a bit of metal adjacent stuff like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Jimi Hendrix. I started getting into harder music when I was around eleven years old. 1985-86 I was really into Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, S.O.D, Cryptic Slaughter, and Celtic Frost. My tastes just spiraled from there. I spent a big part of my teen years listening to hardcore and punk.
-You’re hailing from York. There’s quite some conservatism there. Is there a reaction to that in the scene or in art in general in your hometown? How much of an influence your surroundings can be in your artistic expression? Or in the hunger to create?
You’ve done your research. Yeah, we live in a land that is heavily populated with evangelical churches and chain restaurants. Ever since I’ve lived here there’s always been a steady current of creative types operating in the underground. I view that as being a counterpoint to the banality of our local culture.
-Speaking of such, how is the underground/counterculture scene in York?
I’ve lived in York for over 20 years. So, I’ve seen a lot of stuff come and go. When I first moved here in the late 90’s there were a lot of DIY shows in rented spaces. Five hundred kids would be packed into a firehall. People from RELAPSE records would be in the parking lot peddling their wares (both RELAPSE and RED STREAM RECORDS originally formed in neighboring towns). It was a weird time. During the2000s and 2010s, we’d get a lot of touring bands. There was a little hole-in-the-wall bar in YORK called the DEPOT that would book tons of metal shows. It was common to be one of thirty people seeing CASTLE, EYEHATEGOD, or LORD MANTIS on a Thursday night. Some of that is starting to come back. Currently, we have the most metal bands I’ve seen in this general area since I’ve lived here. We also have a handful of established venues in the area for METAL, PUNK, and HARDCORE.
– Is Rock/Metal as free and rebellious as it preaches or is there still certain ideas and attitudes or behaviors that don’t match that supposed non-conformism and individualism?
Great question. Considering that most of us wear the black band shirt and denim and leather uniform, it would seem like we’re all really a bunch of conformists. I feel like younger people in the scene are more accepting of divergent ideas and are more open-minded in general when it comes to heavy metal music and culture. At the end of the day, I feel it depends on the individual and what they take away from their experience in this weird world.
– You seem to keep a DIY way of doing things. How important is this for CULTIC or how much do you value a DIY ethos in the underground?
Super important. When Rebecca and I started CULTIC we made a loose set of rules for the band. One.., We’ll never go into a recording studio, Two… Rebecca does all of the artwork, and Three… We should have at least one danceable song on every album. I may have made that last one up on the fly. DIY or DIE!
– And finally, what’s next for CULTIC?
One foot in front of the other.
– That’s all from our side, thanks again. If you’d like to add some final words, feel free to do it.
Thanks Tania! This was fun and a total honor. There’s a lot of metal bands out there. Any time we get a bit of attention, it means the world to us. You rule! Keep the flame alive!!!!