With their third album MONSTER, The Garland Cult say goodbye to their audience with ten new tracks which span from their distinctive dance style to acoustic ballads passing through covers of Scott Walker’s “30th Century man” and Holly Johnson’s “Feel good”. There’s a light melancholy that permeates the track listing, as we approach to the end of the CD as they were aware that “The raven” (an atmospheric tune with synth pads, piano and vocals) was their last song, so they wanted to make the listener remember them as one would remember a solar eclipse and for that reason, that song is touching and dreamy at the same time. Anyway… Let’s check with Aidan what the album is about and what he and Lar are heading for in the near future…
Chain D.L.K.: “Monster” is your third The Garland Cult album. How would you describe it to someone who listened only to your main band Empire State Human?
The Garland Cult: I would imagine that it is vocally similar obviously, but musically wider and lyrically more glamorous or sensual sounding. Organic at times but with a strong dance/electro backing. It’s warmer then ESH in that we deliberately went for lots of pad sounds and string layers. “Monster” has a touch of every decade we’re influenced from… 40s/50s/60s/70s/80/s90s/00s.
Chain D.L.K.: “Beautiful Girls” and “Perfect Beat (take me to LA)” are dance songs but the whole album sounds like a solid blend of all the various musical genres you’ve completed so far (with ESH, The Garland Cult and your solo album). Is that something you wanted to achieve?
The Garland Cult: It developed a sense of wideness as the recordings went on. It was our goal to mix organics and electronic music is a very special and commercial sounding way. That was certainly a decision made early on. I let Dave at Ninthwave know about that and to be honest, he was sceptical and didn’t think we’d deliver an album that would fit with the established club sound of the first two TGC albums. Both Dave, Lar and I were really happy to achieve the balance. Dave’s only regret now
is that we won’t be making a fourth. But we’ve left three strong albums for people to listen back on.
Chain D.L.K.: Why is this album is going to be your last one under this moniker? Is because of the fact that ESH and The Garland Cult now have the same line up?
The Garland Cult: That has a lot to do with confirming we were right to stop now. We always planned three albums and said this to Ninthwave early on. When Seán decided to leave ESH it really made the decision more valid, as I guess we would have stopped recording as The Garland Cult when Seán left ESH as it would be pointless being two groups with the same line up. Dynamics would dictate one had to go. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that about the wall paper in his dingy rented Paris flat and himself … “One of us has to go”.
Chain D.L.K.: On this album you covered Scott Walker (“30th Century man”) and Holly Johnson (“Feel good”). What do you appreciate about these artists?
The Garland Cult: One word regarding both artists … integrity. I love the romance and energy in both Scott and Holly .. I think Holly would actually make some excellent covers of Scott… I contacted Holly with our version of “Feel Good” and he was both surprised and happy with the finished version. It’s sounds something like The Velvet Undergound meets Kraftwerk to my ears. We recorded “30th Century Man” with Robert Kiraly (UK based DJ). Robert completed some excellent remixes of the track we recorded with ex-Kraftwerk Wolfgang Flur (with ESH), so we hit it off and made plans for a collaboration.
Chain D.L.K.: What can you say about the fact that it’s gonna be released only as digital download? Isn’t that a disappointment?
The Garland Cult: Yea I can see that it appears like a disappoint at not every album making it onto CD also. But Dave is planning a short CD run with a manufacturing company for “Monster”. It’s not an Amazon CD but limited edition run. That will be pleasing as we all feel “Monster” deserves some sort CD pressing. Even a limited edition one.
Chain D.L.K.: The album starts with a number of upbeat tunes and then ends with a bit of melancholy and the synth dramatics of “The Raven”. Is there a sort of underlying theme that you followed to create these tracks?
The Garland Cult: As recording came to a close I think there was a sense of sadness too. I mean TGC may have only be around as a band for a short period of time (5 years) but I think our output was of a band around for about 8. Also it was always meant to be a fun project and something we could work on when ESH weren’t recording. But funnily enough recording as TGC became too much fun and it began to hinder our enthuasism for ESH. Taking all that into account, the sadness on the final track of the album is quite real. Music is a real looking glass into how we work. I can listen to each of the various CDs I’ve been involved in and hear moods and heartaches or happiness and joy.
Chain D.L.K.: Have you completed a balance or viewpoint on The Garland Cult as personal experience? Can you share it with us?
The Garland Cult: To obtain such an opinion we emailed all our friends, myspace members etc to ask for questions. We did this to really nail the heart of the project by the questions of others. Our answers make very interesting reading and when we’ve completed all the promo for “Monster” we’re going to add the answers onto our myspace as a final goodbye of sorts. I say of sorts, as we are in talks about a digital best of for TGC in 2011. We’ve a few unreleased tracks to include too.
Chain D.L.K.: What are you working at? I know that you are writing new songs for Empire State Human…
The Garland Cult: Yes, myself and Lar have begun work of a new ESH studio album called “The Art”. It’s coming along very nicely and we plan to have a new digital single out this year with “The Art” landing on CD in 2011. We’re working towards including a bonus mini album with it. It’s to be a space themed short album. It’s quite an undertaking but we view each new album now as potentially our last, so it’s basically give as much new and diverse music as we can each time around.
Chain D.L.K.: What about the other projects? Any collaboration in the pipeline?
The Garland Cult: I’ve completed an under the name Sebastian and the Dream. The album is called “The naming of Blue” and I’m not sure when it will be released though. I’ve a myspace set up for it www.myspace.com/sebastianandthedream I co-wrote and supplied vocals for a song with Impostor called “Five Minutes”… not sure when that will be released. I did a remix of it as Sebastian and the Dream which was great fun. It’s an Italo Disco flavoured, so might appeal to the synthpop crowd maybe.
Chain D.L.K.: Anything else you’d like to add?
The Garland Cult: Just to thank everyone who’s shown interest in TGC and people like yourself who actually got TGC’s music from the first release! It’s always been a pleasure being interviewed by you and I hope that enthuasism comes across. Enjoy “Monster” and keep supporting all the synth bands out there… it’s hard getting albums out these days and would be impossible without sites such as Chaindlk.com. Thanks again!
Artist website: www.myspace.com/thegarlandcultofficial
Interview: Maurizio Pustianaz Proofread: Aidan Casserly