Fun Fest Interviews: Ex-Cult

unnamedIt’s really hard to believe, but Fun Fest is just a short two weeks away now and it’s time to start doing some prep work.  As usual, we’ll be offering up some interviews, band previews, tips, photos, and anything else we stir up on our crazy minds.  Today we shall begin our coverage with a quick interview spotlighting Memphis punk band Ex-Cult.  We’ve been fans of this band for awhile so naturally we’re excited for this one.  Follow the jump for interview.

All questions answered by front man Chris Shaw.

ATH: So your album “Midnight Passenger” came out earlier this year.  Are you happy with the product, or would you go back and change anything?

Yeah I am definitely happy with the way it came out. It’s only been out for 5 months, but we’ve been writing so much new material that it seems much longer than that. I saw Midnight Passenger as a step forward from the S/T record we recorded with Ty Segall, and I think the EP we just finished for Castle Face is a step forward from Midnight Passenger.

The songs still sound like Ex-Cult wrote them, but each time we go into the studio I feel like we get better at messing with different sounds and trying new things when it comes to the mixing process. That being said, of course I still like Midnight Passenger, some of my favorite songs we’ve ever written are on that record.

ATH: You’re known as a pretty hard working band.  Are you already at work on more new material?

We just finished recording Cigarette Machine for Castle Face Records, it’s a six song 12″ EP that will be out sometime early next year. I think we are getting Cigarette Machine test presses sometime very soon.

While we are waiting for that to be released we have started working on our third record, in between going on tour and our bass player being gone for 7 weeks touring Europe with Jack Oblivian. We don’t have much planned for the beginning of 2015, so we will probably spend a lot of that time writing the third album.

ATH: Many folks would call you a punk rock band.  Is that fair or would you call yourselves something else?  What does it mean to be punk rock these days?

Yeah I would definitely consider us a punk band. Because we use elements of Kraut Rock and Psychedelic Rock, i think sometimes people get a little confused when they try to pigeon hole us, which is fine with me. Sometimes labeling bands gets a little rediculous in my opinion. Ex-Cult is a high energy punk band, one that should probably be seen live to really understand what’s going on.

As far as what it means to be punk these days, I think if you asked 100 people that you’d probably get 100 different answers. The word is so over used and commercialized that I think people just slap it on whatever they feel like. Then there is the term garage-punk, which is pretty hilarious to me. What the fuck is garage punk?

Some people would tell you that because we have a booking agent we aren’t punk, because we repress our LP’s we aren’t punk, or because we play corporate sponsored festivals we aren’t punk. That way of thinking is all well and good, but if you were in a band and you were proud of the music you made, wouldn’t you want as many people as possible to hear it? That’s how I’ve always looked at it. I’m not interested in Ex-Cult ever being played on a fucking Disney World commercial or us being on the cover of Rolling Stone or some shit and it’s not like that would happen anyway, but if we have opportunities to play in front of hundreds of people, I’ll take them every time because I’m proud of what we’ve created after doing this together for four years.

ATH: The Memphis scene seems be on the rise.  What’s it like over there?  Any bands we should really be paying attention to?

It’s cool that a lot of bands from Memphis have been touring lately, and it’s been exciting to see bands that we are friends with finally get some attention. Band’s seem to be popping up all over the place in Memphis, but I’m not sure the attendance at local concerts has risen. The lack of local support at shows can make Memphis a discouraging place to create music sometimes, so it’s awesome that local bands are getting out of the city and putting their art in front of new people. People interested in Memphis punk should check out True Sons of Thunder, they are pretty much a super group of people who have been representing Memphis punk in it’s true form for a very long time.

ATH: Have you guys had time to check out the fun fest bill?  Do you get to attend the festival as a Nites only band? Anyone you’re excited about seeing or hanging with?

Just looking at the schedule now, I’d like to see Iceage, Breakout, Nas, Cities Aviv and our good friends OBN IIIs. We’ve got a lot of friends in Austin I’m hoping to hang out with, especially the dudes in Total Abuse and Captive. I’m not sure how much time we will have to check out other bands, but we will definitely hit up End of an Ear and Trailor Space, and hopefully LA BBQ.

ATH: What’s currently on the band’s tour playlist in the van or bus?

Lately it’s been a lot of Iggy Pop, Sally Can’t Dance era Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Blitz, Red Krayola, The Fall and White Fence. We also really like this John Wesley Coleman song called “Miranda” but he hasnt released it yet so normally someone just sings it in the van.

ATH: Bands drink of choice on the road

Budweiser, Pilsner Urquell, Lone Star (when we are in Texas), Bushmills Black, Bulleit Bourbon, Jameson, El Jimador Tequila, lots of EmergenC and Bitters & Soda when I am hungover.

Ex Cult play on Thursday, November 6th on the inside stage of Red 7 @ 11:30pm.