Cultures – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
C: We are cultures, a 3-piece indie/alternative band from Manchester
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
C:I (Josh) and Tom met at college through a mutual friend and have been making music together since day 1. We were in a couple of older bands together and when the second one broke up, we started writing songs as ‘Cultures’. Over the last few years we’ve developed our sound and picked up our amazing drummer, James.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
C: Musically, we come from a wide range of influences, Tom listens to loads of indie music from the 80s through to modern day, with bands such as Depeche Mode, The Cure and more recently, Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club. I listen to a big range of genres, from Bob Dylan to Fleetwood Mac and from Kings of Leon or The Killers to Ludovico Einaudi, which I think gives us a sound that’s always been hard to directly compare to other artists, we certainly don’t take all our influences from one place.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
C: My personal dream for the band is for us to make an album and tour it around the world. I’ve always dreamed of playing at the Apollo in Manchester as I grew up watching so many of my favourite artists play there. I’ve always thought that out music lends itself to smaller venues rather than arenas, and I much prefer intimate gigs to arena shows. So, for me, I’d take 3 nights at the Apollo over 1 at the arena any day.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
C: I write the lyrics, but we all work together to build the tunes. Sometimes Tom will play a bass riff that just sounds right and I’ll start writing over the top or James might play a drum beat that we jam around until it starts feeling like a song. Usually the lyrics are about the things I’m going through at various stages of life, some are about love, some about friendships and others (like our new single Shake) are about growing up and the places we come from. I’ve written songs that reflect other people’s stories, but I always find I connect with the songs and the audience better when I sing about things that make me really feel something.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
C: We have a small group of close friends who help us by sharing our social media posts to get the ball rolling, I think that social media is an amazing tool for helping us reach new fans, so we always share our newest releases and live dates on there. Other than that, we put the word out to radio stations and bloggers that we like to listen to and read and try to connect with new audiences like that.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
C: The internet could be called the best invention in the history of music, or one of the worst, depending on who you ask. I think when everyone plays fair and pays for the music they consume; the internet is amazing for bands like us to reach new fans. However, when you get piracy, it leaves the artist working for nothing and bands like us stop being able to make music at all. The other side of things is streaming music, which is fantastic in theory, but we get such a tiny slice of the pie that even songs with tens of thousands of listens don’t really earn the artist anything. This has to become better balanced in favour of the content creators in my opinion.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
C: I’ve always wished I’d written Bohemian Rhapsody, purely because I can’t think of another song which has drawn from so many different vocal and lyrical skills and musical genres whilst still reaching the mass market. Some parts of the tune are so weird that you can’t believe that it’s a song that almost everyone on earth has heard at one point and I love that weirdness. If it wasn’t that, it would be Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, it’s such a stunning song but seems to come from a place of real pain that I can only imagine how cathartic the process of writing it would have been.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
C: I have always hated people asking us the question “Who do you sound like?” in interviews. I understand it, as it makes it really easy to connect a new band with fans of existing bands, but I can’t imagine being able to proudly say that the music we make sounds overwhelmingly like another artist. We take so many different inspirations that we see the band as a melting pot for all the sounds we love, rather than trying to copy anyone else.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
C: Before the coronavirus lockdown we headlined Deaf Institute in Manchester, which I’ve wanted to do since I first watched a gig there about 10 years ago. I felt we’d really earned the right to play on that stage and the rush when we walked out to a packed show there was genuinely breath taking.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
C: Our new single, Shake is out now, so we’ve spent a fair bit of time through the lockdown recording that. We’ve also been working with a great videographer to bring out a video for the newest single, Shake, as well as for a song we put out a few years ago called Ghost. I can’t wait to get them released as we had so much fun acting and travelling around to film them.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
C: We have a bunch of songs out online, Shake, Flags and Away From Us are the newest releases, all from the last year. But we’ve got tonnes of content up there from previous recording sessions, such as Book of God and If I Could. All our songs are out everywhere you find your music, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, YouTube and Amazon Music.