The band has been around for 7 years now, but for those out there that don’t know you, can you tell us a bit about the Cult of Dom Keller? I’ve seen the band evolve over that time, so from point A to point B…how did you get here?
Ryan: “I could use up a thousand words describing our days rehearsing in a church cellar in the dark, amongst electric shocks and supernatural happenings, jamming till the sun rose, followed by a long cycle of playing gigs, working and existing on no sleep, with no money & disillusioned by a world around us, but instead I’ll summarise:
We were born. We were lost. And then the pull of the universe brought us together to make music and The Cult of Dom Keller has existed ever since. There’s never been any agendas, egos or mission statement: just creating and evolving our own thing and pushing ourselves as musicians/songwriters.”
You have released 2 albums, 4 EPs and various singles, and very soon you’ll be a part of the Fuzz Club split single series. Very exciting…how did the band and Fuzz Club come together?
Ryan: “We have known Casper for years and we contributed a track for the second Reverb Conspiracy Compilation album that Fuzz Club Records put out a few years ago so naturally through our friendship with him and him liking the band, he approached us about the split single idea.”
What can you tell us about the song that will be on the single?
Ryan: “The track is called ‘Behind All Evil is a Black Hole’. I came up with the title after I had been messing around with some mixes of a track we had been working on. We fucked around with the arrangement and then Neil began to write a melody on top, and the song came together. It’s a maelstrom of sound, and a really powerful track, that perfectly captures our transitional period in songwriting at the moment and acts as a perfect precursor to the new material that we have written for the album.”
Neil: “To me, the black hole represents life without music or creativity. The evil is all the obstacles that get in the way. I guess it’s about not giving up – not slipping into that void.”
On a similar note, do you have a new album in the near future?
Jason: “We’re going into the studio to record for 7 days straight after we play Eindhoven Psych Lab on June 6th. We whittled down about 30 song ideas to 12, and I’m quite confident it’s going to be the best thing we’ve ever done. We’re hoping for a release date sometime in Autumn, but that really depends on just how fast we can finish the mixes. We’ve been kind of joking that this is our ‘Smile’ (the Beach Boys one, not the Boris one; although if I’m being totally honest it’s probably a bit of both). For a while it was looking like it would be our White Album, but I’d say we’ve got a couple more records, at least, before we have the audacity to attempt that…”
Ryan: “I’ve been listening to the demos of the album and it’s a real experience. Definitely our most creative, dynamic and evolved work to date. I cannot wait to get into the studio and fulfil the potential of these tracks. We have sculptured a great collection of tracks that take you on a journey. Radically different from our first two albums.”
You mentioned playing Eindhoven Psych Lab on June 6th. Some amazing bands coming together to play this 2 day event. Sure wish I had one of those teleporter things to catch it. You must be thrilled to play there. Which of the bands are you most excited to meet up with there?
Ryan: “For me it’s all about meeting up with like minded people and checking out the music of bands I haven’t heard before. With such a variety of bands playing it’s difficult to pick out one or two bands I’m excited to see. To me, it’s more about meeting up with like minded people & bands and immersing myself in the music.”
Jason: “I really want to check out Kikagaku Moyo, they’re on just before us, then I’ll most likely just wander around aimlessly after we play and see what happens. The Telescopes will be great as always, so I’ll definitely be down watching them.”
Neil:”Black Bombaim. We met some of the guys at Milhoes De Festa last year when Paolo sat in for us on drums. Be great to finally see them play.”
Speaking of live shows, do you have any plans for others this year?
Ryan: “After Eindhoven we’re going to be concentrating on recording album number 3 and then we have a few shows in July in Leeds, Manchester and Kozfest ( in Devon). We’ll be having a short break while I’m away in South America for most of August, but when I return we’ll be back in business to get ready for Liverpool Psych Fest and in October we play the Rockaway Beach festival in Bognor Regis alongside The Fall, Pinkshinyultrablast and Spiritualized. Lots of exciting shows to look forward to and even more so now we have so much new material to play live and hopefully we’ll have the new album out as well.”
I know this is a tough question to probably answer, but do you have a few favorite songs you’ve recorded that really stand out from the rest of your songs.
Neil: “The new single is probably one of the best things we’ve recorded, in terms of studio quality. It’s less low-fi than some of our previous work.”
Ryan: “I’m proud of our whole body of work. We still play ‘Swamp Heron’ from the first album live. I have a special place for the odd little tracks like ‘Killed in my Sleep’ from Second Bardo and ‘Ghost Bones’. To simply choose a favourite track though is much too difficult. We have some tracks I prefer live than on record and vice versa. But to be honest the new material we are writing/written is just another level now, as we are pushing ourselves, both as songwriters and musicians, with no musical boundaries, evolving and twisting and turning all the time.”
What’s been playing on your turntable lately? Old or new, what’s been filling your ear space lately?
Neil: “This week… Grinderman, some Super Furry’s, The Velvet Underground and Joy Division are always on my playlist. I’ve also had MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular & The Flaming Lips Sgt Pepper’s album on repeat for some time now.”
Ryan: “Liars, Flaming Lips, Butthole Surfers and John Lee Hooker have been getting a good blast over the last few weeks.”
Jason: “West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Faine Jade, the new BJM record ‘musique de film imagine’ is really cool. There was this radio show that Dangerous Minds posted recently from the early 80’s, celebrating 40 years of women in electronic music, which was incredible. Oh yeah, I went to see GNOD play in Rugby a couple of weeks ago for the last night of the tour, and they were mind-blowing. They’ve got a new record out called ‘Infinity Machines’ and it hasn’t left my car stereo since, other than to switch between the two CD’s. Brilliant.”
This is a question I like to ask every band I interview, because I’ve always been interested in the stories people have about their first major music encounter, and what set them on that path to musical love and discovery. What started the journey for you?
Ryan: “Ever since I can remember I’ve been in love with music. I used to ‘play’ a two stringed electric guitar that my dad had ‘retired’ to the cupboard and became fanatical over T-Rex, The Beatles, The Stones etc and as a teenager I was always looking for the next record to blow my mind. Over the years bands like 13th Floor Elevators, Red Krayola, Butthole Surfers, Chrome, Birthday Party, The Fall became bands that I became obsessed with. Outsiders doing their own thing at the time and creating unique music.”
Jason: “I’ve always been immersed in music of some sort, though none of my family were ever really musicians as such. My dad borrowed a guitar off a friend and learnt a few songs. He played me ‘Scarborough Fair’ and told me he wrote it, I was so impressed I took a chord chart away with me and taught myself ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ on a broken, out of tune guitar I’d bashed away on in frustration since I was 8. That was pretty much what kicked me off. I was about 14.”
Neil: “I have fond memories of listening to T-Rex and Hendrix as a teenager in an abandoned railway shed. The shed was next to an old Cold War nuclear fallout shelter. We’d skip school, have a smoke and sing along to a tape player while the world went about its business.”
Interviewed by Nathan Barrett