Hailing from Memphis, Ex-Cult is a super rad band that has joined the famous Goner Records family. Their eerie guitar riffs combined with vocalist Chris Shaw’s coarse and malicious shouts make for the perfect garage-punk combination. Before their ridiculously fun show at the Blue Nile this past October, I got a chance to sit down with them in the WXJM studio and ask some questions.
MARISA (WXJM): Who is in Ex-Cult and what does everyone play?
EX-CULT: Alec McIntyre – Guitar
Natalie Hoffmann – Bass
Michael Peery – Drums
JB Horrell – Guitar
Chris Shaw - Vocals
MARISA: How was your experience with Ty Segall producing your first full length record? What was the most interesting thing about working with him and how did it affect your record?
EX-CULT: Ty eats a lot of candy and energy drinks so I think that affected our record more than anything else…he’s a candy freak haha.
EX-CULT: Quintron was pretty awesome. It was just overall really cool meeting bands and people from all over the world in your hometown.
MARISA: You guys are heading to CMJ after this, what are you most looking forward to in NY?
Ex-Cult: We don’t really know what to expect, I imagine it’s similar to SXSW, but I have no idea. We’re playing 4 shows – 3 on Saturday and 1 show on Thursday so we’ll be staying pretty busy.
What are some bands that you guys have played with in the past/going to play with on your current tour that have really inspired you?
EX-CULT: We played with Fuzz - they have a really good live show. But I think we’re more inspired by watching people work as hard doing what they’re doing as we do. Once you tour as much as we have and put as much time in on the road you get a whole different perspective on what it’s like to be in a band even if you don’t necessarily like the band - you know that they “struggle” so to speak.
MARISA: How much did you guys tour this year?
EX-CULT: This is our 4th tour of this year and we figured out that we’ve done between 20 and 25,000 miles since January. We’ve played more in New York this year than we played in Memphis.
MARISA: I was really stoked on the Mister Fantasy/Through the Blinds 7” when I first heard it, so it made me wonder - what else is next to come for you guys?
EX-CULT: We’re recording an album in January with Doug Easley, who recorded the Mister Fantasy single, so basically after this tour we’re just going to be writing a 2nd album. It’s about half done right now. So after we record in January the whole process starts over again.
MARISA: So are you planning on staying in Memphis and being a part of the music culture there?
EX-CULT: We’re very much a Memphis band, in the sense of Memphis bands. It’s a good place to hibernate and lay low. That’s one of our favorite parts about Memphis – it’s affordable enough where you can leave for months at a time. It’s a good home base.
MARISA: What are some other bands coming out of Memphis (present/past) that have either inspired you to play music, or were just really into?
EX-CULT: Current band-wise, we’re really into “True Sons of Thunder”. It’s a super-group of the sketchiest people in Memphis. They’ve been a band for a really long time and they’re just kind of starting to get the recognition they deserve. Richard Martin is in it and sings and plays a banjo-guitar, and Eric Friedl from the Oblivians also sings. There’s 2 guitar players – Joe T Simpson (who was in Rat Traps with Jeffery Novak from Cheap Time), Abe White from Manatees, and Sambeaux Sardonicus from Mangina (a band from New Orleans) is in the band too. Also, I think that everyone immediately wants to talk about the Reatards and the Oblivians when it comes to Memphis music, but I’d say that Final Solutions were my favorite Memphis band. It had Jay Reatard on drums. And Zach, the co-owner of Goner Records, was a pretty wild front man.
Check out Goner Records for Ex-Cult’s self-titled full length, recent “Mister Fantasy” 7” release, and a bunch of other really amazing bands.
Interviewed by: Marisa Cagnoli