Cults' pounding drums, strong melodies and sense of uplifting spangle captured our attention back in 2010 when they offered a three song EP on bandcamp that went properly viral. Their debut album Cults lead to a tsunami of hype and a mammoth year and a half world tour. Two years later their next LP Static sees a much anticipated welcome back for the duo that is Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin.

The term 'static variable' in computer programming refers to a lifetime or extent that spans the entire run of a program. This album sees Cults return to their main focus of creating and playing music that captures audiences; an integral thread that remains unbroken throughout this bands journey, a thread that wont be cut. We caught up with Ryan to find out what it was like being back in the studio, touring and just generally being part of Cults.

So, where did the name Static come from?

It was really just a kind of an obsession that developed over the last few years. Static has so many different associations you can really go down the rabbit hole with it. There's the element of fuzz and white noise, of disconnection, of an overwhelming amount of information. It appealed to us viscerally but also ideologically because it's a tough thing to pin down.

What was behind the two-year gap between this album and your debut?

Is that such a strange thing? I feel like two years is a pretty logical amount of time to spend between albums. Especially with your first record when you're trying to make sure that you're playing for as many curious people as you can. We've gotten a few questions like this but I never really understand them, almost all the records I've liked in recent memory have occurred after a two year or more gap.

What prompted getting back into the studio?

We took a bit of a sabbatical after finishing touring in April of last year. By a bit I mean about two months, and the first month was fun and rewarding. We both travelled and spent some time alone. The second month was kind of excruciating, we don't do very well without something to work on. We'll get too in our heads and start having anxiety. So going into the studio was something that we tried to put off but couldn't really live without.

How long did it take to write and record and what was the process like?

It took around five months of on and off work. Probably around three months solid work in the studio. It was much more challenging than the last record because we were committed to recording it with real instruments wherever possible. The last record was done almost completely on a laptop, so there was definitely a learning curve.

Things got crazy with the last album, with lots of labels interested. What was that like?

We chose our label the same way I imagine most bands do. You want to work the people you get along with the best and that you believe will be the most supportive to you for the longest time. It's hard to answer questions about where things are "going", for us this all about the experience, not the payoff. To get to express yourself and travel while you're young is a beautiful thing, I think we're just taking it as it comes.

How did you approach this album after the hype surrounding your first?

I don't think it bothered us too much. Making records is our favourite thing to do, we have so much fun in the studio it's hard to consider the outside world. You just try to make the record you want and then you deal with all the bullshit later.

What were you listening to, doing and experiencing whilst making this album?

Well the overarching concept of static was always on the brain. We had TVs all over the studio running static at all times, and when we'd listen back to a mix, or play certain organ or piano parts we'd turn the lights off and just watch them glow. If the song felt the soundtrack to that scene we knew we were on the right track. We also thought a lot about film genre music. We would make songs and think to ourselves "this is the sci-fi song!" or "this is the western!" We wanted the album to musically feel like you're surfing channels on some haunted old television.

How would you describe your sound?

I always just tell people we're a rock and roll band. The definition of that has certainly changed over the years, but that's how I feel about our music.

What was it like working with Ben Allen in Atlanta?

Ben is a really amazing producer. It was a pretty drastic change from our way of working in New York, where we'll pop in when we have an idea and work for 14 to 20 hours and then sleep the whole day away. We had a proper apartment, a car and worked something not too far off from banker's hours. He really excelled at getting us into the headspace of finality, every day we worked with him we finished a song and those are the cuts you hear on the record.

You toured for a year and half after the last album. How was that?

We love playing live. We just played our first concert of the tour and finally performing these songs that we worked on for a year in front of an audience was one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. It's a moment where you can really wrap your head around it. You think to yourself, "this is why we did it" and it feels really good.

Must have been strange heading back to Manhattan. Does your home inspire your writing or more so your travels?

Honestly I don't think our music would be much different if we lived anywhere else. We live pretty insular lives anyway; we hang out with our band, our families and a few other people. I think we're just comforted by the possibilities of New York, even though we don't always follow through on them.

Do you have a favourite place in Manhattan?

Most of the band lives around Chinatown now, we had to leave the East Village because it felt a little like hanging around your old college town after graduation. There are a lot of cool bars and restaurants around here that haven't been blown up yet. We like the kinds of places where you don't have to wait around to get a drink, and I'm hesitant to give up our spots! 169 Bar is probably the most obvious one, it's a kitschy place but not at all ironic, which is a rare thing to find these days.


Cults' latest album, Static, is out now.