When a musical project that begins as one or two people becomes Internet famous, small groups are often forced to expand so that all of the sounds that very few people took part in recording can be fully realized for the live show. And just as often, the people who made up the core of the band just accept the touring musicians into the lineup for the second album. But Cults guitarist and singer Brian Oblivion says he and singer Madeline Follin felt no such temptation to bring any additional help into the creative process.
“I think I’m better with the complexities of putting together the keyboard part than the complexities of dealing with a keyboardist personality,” says Oblivion. “I think that’s the problem with me: I have a hard time dealing with other people.”
This uneasy edge casts a shadow over the poppy 1960s sound on Cults’ new album, “Static,” which picks up where the band’s 2011 self-titled debut left off. The sound is richer, but it doesn’t sacrifice the intimacy or weirdness of two people having fun making music, regardless of whether or not they find success.
“We make these records for ourselves and we do hope that people will take them in and enjoy them,” says the guitarist, “but we don’t really stress out if they don’t. It’s not like we have our hopes and dreams and life and everything tied up in being a rock star.”
That said, a guy who calls himself Brian Oblivion could probably come up with a moment or two where he engaged in traditional “rock star” dalliances after touring the world with Cults, right?
“I think doing bath salts in Japan,” he says, sounding almost embarrassed. “There was a moment where after being up for 16 hours, I was sitting in the middle of Shibuya Crossing and I didn’t know where I was and I started crying and laughing hysterically and then crying again, while these Japanese people were crowding around me. I was like, ‘Oh this is too much.’”