Legendary rock band The Cult will play the Fillmore in Detroit on Friday, November 19th. They are also preparing to release new music entitledCapsule 2: New Blood Deep Cuts on November 16th via their innovative capsule concept. Frontman Ian Astbury explains, “We are stepping away from the conventional system. By including new music, live music and film, we are giving our fans the opportunity to own other creative visions. The Capsule is a way of delivering music in bites, quicker and fresher than in the context of an album format.”
I got the chance to speak with Astbury and learn a bit about him and the new musical concept.
When you were growing up did you always want to be a musician?
No, actually when I was growing up I was more interested in film and clothes. I loved David Bowie, but my interest when I was a kid was film. I loved going to the movies, it was kind of a huge departure from what I grew up in, which was in a post war environment. In the early 70s there were still bombed out buildings from World War II. When you’d go to the movies you would be transported into another world and I used to love the opportunity to go and experience that.
What inspired you to become a musician?
I think punk rock was really a vehicle for that. I loved punk rock, it was pretty much; get a guitar, learn three chords, start a band and make a record. The fact that the audience could do it themselves and DIY was really being pushed at this time. It wasn’t about having some trained musical ear, it was about if you could get noise out of the guitar and screech into the microphone and then you were in business. That is what it was kind of like for me when we started. We really didn't have a clue of what we were doing, couldn’t even plug in a PA, nothing. At first we were mimicking other artists and then eventually I found my own style. We were in the basement of an old house in Bradford, England and I was rocking out smoking cigarettes and drinking tea and occasionally if we could afford a can of beer we’d have that and we’d have at it.
What do you think is the most difficult part of a career as a musician?
I think the hardest part is dealing with when you’re not out and playing. Coming off the road is difficult, re-entering into a normal circle. You know, normal life, paying the bills, washing the dog. When you’ve been on the road there’s a very intense period when you come back to a normal domestic environment, it can be crippling. Hmm… they say idle hands makes the devils work. You sit around on tour buses and backstage environments for a long period of time you tend to get into trouble sometimes. Make bad lifestyle choices, let your imagination run with that. Sometimes you just sit and read a book. (laughs) You can get fed up with it, one of the hardest things is touring.
You'll be releasing a musical capsule soon entitled Capsule 2: New Blood Deep Cuts. What exactly is the concept of a capsule?
Well, first of all the tag album has kind of become a little bit worn out. It’s a very ambiguous term for what once was a vinyl format. It’s no longer a vinyl format, I mean obviously there still are albums that come out in vinyl for the connoisseur. But for the most part a body of work comes out cannibalized as soon as it’s put up on the internet. We’re kind of in this strange situation right now where we haven’t settled into the new format. It seems we’re going the way of applications or musical apps. You’ll be able to buy a CD as long as they keep making them, vinyl possibly for the afficianados but you’re very limited. You’re dealing with an industry that’s more interested in collecting your email address than really engaging you with what the intention of the artist was. For us it’s like a quick strike, write music, release music. The capsule comes in lieu of the fashion industry, where you see designers do a small collection or another outlet provides the main line and they call it a capsule collection. A capsule is like a small taste, you know we usually associate it with pharmaceuticals, like a pill and that’s what it is I guess, a musical pill. With the entire format it gives us the opportunity to be more flexible, release as we go and give the audience something that’s more exciting, you can actually listen to a couple songs without distraction.