Kult Country have been firmly on our radar ever since the release of their debut single 'Slowburn' back in 2013 - a track which set them apart as one of the brightest to rise from the current pool of Manchester talent. The band have established themselves at their own pace, but after numerous live dates spanning over the course of two years, it'd be unfair to consider them a fledgling unit. Having returned to the fore with the brilliant Trembling Moon, we caught up with ringleader Yousif Al Kharagouli to discuss a debut album that waits in the wings, and just how they managed to gain a reputation as one of the best new live bands in the UK.

"It all started out of a necessity for musicians. I was writing with lots of people and it wasn't working; people in different cities, people unwilling to break out of their 9-to-5 lives to chase their dreams. I met a bunch of dreamers, and the band was formed." After just 12 days of meeting one another for the very first time, the band began to play together, tied closely to the uprising in Manchester that was SWAYS Records. "It was a great time with Money and Great Waves back then… everything that happened was real and everything that happened was majestic."

The relationship between the two was an obvious one - Kult Country started out of a need for musical output, with SWAYS starting out of a need for change within the city. With the new single being released via London's No Self Records, I was caught wondering if that relationship had changed somewhat, something Yousif was quick to address. "SWAYS never ends, it's a movement. It doesn't matter what label you're signed to or anything like that, we're all family and we're definitely a part of that. If you leave home and move away, you're still part of that family, you know? it's deeper than just releasing records. They make everything develop."

"You're not in a psych band just because you wear a fucking paisley shirt. It doesn't work like that."

Whilst Yousif himself dabbles in a solo techno project, 1/3 of the band are also involved in BC Camplight, the Kult drummer playing in various other Manchester bands too. Whilst other commitments often detract from commitment itself, I'm assured this works in their favour. "If people play in different bands then they know what they don't want to do when they come back to this project, definitely. A few are session musicians in more pop based bands, so when they come back to something so close to their heart, there's a lot more passion for it. Besides, it's good to play as much as you can and better yourself as a musician. Step out of the territories of music that you think your safe in, push yourself." It's this variety of influence which adds to the overall scope of sound that they offer, yet one of their most enticing attributes is the ability to pull different genres under one, own-able umbrella. It seems that no matter where they take the music, it'd be quite easy to recognise it as their own. "I guess we just know how we want to dress the naked body. We know what clothing and flesh we want to put on the bones of what we start with each time, and there's probably a certain angst and energy that comes through along with that. No matter what the song is, even if it's piano led for a future album and people question whether its Kult, it'll still obviously come back to our signature over the top."

This clear desire to stay out of any pigeonholes presents a slight issue though. With our generation hellbent on listing categorisations of categorised lists, this has resulted in Kult Country being daubed with the oft waved 'Psych' brush, a idea given further weight by the revelation that it would be MJ of Hookworms producing the debut record. "Psychedelic is such a broad term now. For one person it is this, for another it's not. It's so subjective to the individual and how they're feeling at the time." He prefers the tracks to be seen as "distorted lullabies. That sums us up - nightmarish lullabies. It's all flung around too much at the minute. You're not in a psych band just because you wear a fucking paisley shirt. It doesn't work like that. Have you even been within yourself? Have you gone deep? You know, you didn't catch fucking Roky Erickson drinking herbal tea, did you?"

The change between the first two releases - notably at the point of MJ's involvement - is quite substantial though, 'Slowburn' being built upwards from dreamlike washes whereas 'Trembling Moon' relies on a construction of more industrious drone. With the latter being the first glimpse of an album recorded within the space of a week, I ask if this could be used as more of an indication as to where things will go sonically. "Not really. All of that is just based on who started the song within the band. I wrote the guitar parts for 'Slowburn' whereas Robbie wrote them for 'Trembling Moon', so there are different characters that come through in the band dependent on each track. We're not too worried about them all having a correlation though. I've always been more interested in writing songs - I don't want to sell a certain sound."

"If you sell this many million records then you'll get some shitty piece of metal from someone in the industry… I don't give a fuck about that, what does that matter?"

This theme of contrast goes somewhat further too. On record, the band sound polished and proper, perfectly rendered pop songs having been squeezed through a meat grinder then formed back together into identically shaped patties. Whilst invigorating, they appear much more delicate than they do in a live setting, with many more subtleties to be heard. When on stage they seem to care less about the final process of squashing everything back together. It's visceral and daunting, and whilst the music comes through fine, it always feels as if the performance is on the precipice of exploding into chaos of the best possible kind. "It comes from being in the setting of a live performance I think - it's still very new really. Some of the band are more experienced but me myself, I've only been playing live for about 2 years… so maybe it's a lot more intense live as I'm still learning how to walk. It might be a defence mechanism as it's all a bit alien. Who knows, maybe one day i'll be really calm?" I'd certainly hope not.

With the first album relatively close to completion, Yousif says they hope to have written the second before the years out. Couple that with an imminent mini-tour to promote the single, and it'd seem that the band are going to be busy enough for the foreseeable future. I'm interested to know if there are any more plans that take them further into that future, a breaking point perhaps in which they can sit back and say they've gotten where they wanted to be. "We're already there. I don't feel like there's anything more than being in a band and making records. All of this, all of it has been done to secure some sort of presence after death, that's it. If you sell this many million records then you'll get some shitty piece of metal from someone in the industry… I don't give a fuck about that, what does that matter? It's more that in three generations down the line, my family could say that this is your great great granddad on record."

In an age of manufactured bands, where many fabricate the very essence of their project to aim directly for the breakthrough, it's an admirable stance, and one which seems borne out of a genuine love for art. "If you can make a record or create a painting then you've already done it, that's enough. To be able to leave something that transcends through what someone claimed the barriers of life to be - it's like well, art has broken through them, it worked out how to live beyond death."

The new single 'Trembling Moon' is out now via No Self Records; get it here. The band play a single launch party tonight (July 1st) at Sebright Arms (tickets here). Jamie from Money plays a solo set as 'Kraken' in support, along with Shallow Sanction.