The Student Playlist

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In Conversation With: Forever Cult, Live At Leeds 2015

We caught up with Leeds three-piece Forever Cult after their early set at Live At Leeds 2015, played at the cosy confines of The Key Club. Their heavy sonic mixture contains elements of grunge, British and American indie and traces of classic rock, making it familiar but distinctively theirs. With their current single ‘Winter’s Glow’ released at the end of March and a forthcoming single ‘Antonio Banderas’ later in the summer, Forever Cult are beginning to pick up steam.

TSP: The band formed properly in late 2013 – has your sound evolved in those 18 months or have you always had your late Nirvana / Steve Albini sort of sound?

Kieran Clarke (vocals, guitar): It was a lot indier when it started. We writing that sort of stuff for the first few months and then it just changed.

Alex Greaves (drums): I don’t think that the change was intentional, it just happened. Stuff like ‘Beach Fuxx’ from the first ever EP was a lot indier.

Aaron Snowdon (bass, vocals): I think it was when I joined.

KC: Yeah, the sound was on its way, it went more fuzzy and grungey after that.

TSP: Which bands or artists have been your main influences?

KC: I think Wavves, Nirvana, Sonic Youth… a lot really! The Strokes are another… I’d say the main influences have all been indie, grunge and noise music.

TSP: So you’re very much fans of ‘90s music then?

All: Yeah.

AS: We’re ‘90s kids really. Our influences are mainly bands that rely on noise, but we enjoy poppier side of that kind of music too. We’re always going to be a noisy band, but the important thing is that we’re going to be quite melodic too.

KC: Doom pop; stoner pop!

TSP: Who’s your favourite band at the moment, and what do you make of the British music scene?

KC: Drenge are one of our favourites. We’re also going to try to see Slaves later on tonight, and we also really love the Menace Beach album.

AG: Some of our reviews compare us to Eagulls, but I think that’s just because we’re loud and we’re from Leeds. We get a lot of Hookworms comparisons too, but we’re nothing like them! But I guess to be mentioned in the same sentence as them, two really great bands, can only be a good thing.

TSP: What’s the worst thing about British music?

KC: Hype!

AG: The inevitability that Britpop’s going to come back. It’s back, in a way, but it’s going to get huge again.

AS: This is going to be Britpop 2.0.

KC: Which will be good for a little bit, but there’s also going to be a lot of shit!

TSP: ‘Antonio Banderas’ is going to be your next single in June, as a free download. Did you have a particular Banderas character in mind when you wrote it?

KC: All of them!

AG: Especially those Wrigley’s adverts, they’re probably the best thing he’s done for a while!

KC: But there was also a Spanish language film that he did recently [The Skin I Live In] that was really excellent.

TSP: What’s your take on streaming, and in particular Tidal [Jay-Z’s controversial subscription-only platform]?

AG: My opinion on it is that streaming doesn’t help anyone make any money out of making music. Even for huge artists like Ed Sheeran, the money only comes because big labels make deals with Spotify. So it’s all well and good for people like us to complain about, but if we weren’t on Spotify then people can’t find us, then we’re fucked.

AS: But – if everybody above us decides that it’s wrong, people like Thom Yorke saying it’s not right, then that change can only come from the top. Because people are still going to use it otherwise, to listen to Rihanna.

AG: We’re just not in a position to say ‘no’ to it.

KC: I don’t mind Spotify. I always kind of liked Grooveshark, but that went under yesterday [May 1st].

AG: But if Spotify make loads of money, then I don’t mind. But in principle, streaming is shit, because if you’ve got a premium account, you listen to it on your laptop, when you’re running, then you don’t need to buy music anymore.

TSP: So, in principle, you’re in favour of Tidal?

AG: But it’s still never going to pay an artist the same as what buying a £10 CD will.

AS: But there are so many people that will simply pirate something, and if they really love it, will go and buy it on vinyl.

AG: It’s a Catch-22 situation for us, for a band of our level: you need to be on it, because people need to be able to hear you. It’s never going to allow us to make any money directly, but then again, none of us started this band with the intention of making money.

AS: The only way to really make money is people buying tickets.

KC: And merch! But gradually, for most people, the idea of buying music is going to be obsolete.

TSP: Last question – if you had a time machine, and you could go back in time and write any song for yourself, what would it be?

KC [immediately]: ‘Freebird’ [rest of band laugh]

AG: I knew you were going to say something like that!

KC: I think anything by the Ramones would be something you’d want, but definitely ‘Freebird’.

TSP: You can answer this question as an artist or an accountant, by the way.

AS: What’s the highest grossing song of all time? Anything by The Beatles I’d guess, would be a nice earner.

TSP: Are you playing any festivals this summer, where can people can catch you?

AS: We’re playing Long Division [in Wakefield, June 12-14th]; Tramlines [in Sheffield, July 24th-26th]. We’re also planning a summer tour, details of which we’re confirming later this month. And we’ve got a new single out in June [‘Antonio Banderas’].

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