Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Cultfever

UPDATED CF SX SCHEDBrooklyn duo Cultfever have just released one of the coolest songs of the year. Their new 7″ single Animals is amazingly infectious and ridiculously hooky. Comprised of Tamara Jafar and Joe Durniak, there is a freshness and viability to the sound they have carved out. As the band prepare to play multiple showcases at the prestigious SXSW Festival, AMBY spoke to Cultfever about their upcoming album, R. Kelly, and backwards pants day!

AMBY: How would you describe Cultfever’s sound to those unfamiliar with your music?

T: It’s like children’s laughter…but in a cave, alone?

J: Like a spastic child robot, bleeping and blooping, emitting colorful paintings on a cave wall….alone.

T: Ok, like a robot in a rowboat in the caves of Jeita.  Rowing in dizzying circles to the sound of childish, frenzied screaming.

J: Alone.

AMBY: You have recently released your debut 7”, Animals. Is there an album in the works?

J: There is.  We’ve been writing material for a second full length for about a year now and are very much looking forward to recording this spring in hopes for a late summer/early fall 2013 release.  “Animals” itself though was it’s own project and won’t be included on the next album.

AMBY: Animals is such an infectious song, what is the story behind it?

T: We wanted to write a self-aware pop song that had some of the sensuality of a Prince tune while maintaining our quirky sensational rudiments.  With Chicken, we took a song we had been playing live and nudged the experimentation a bit further to accompany the shimmer of Animals with something a bit more aggressive — a brinier B side.  Both tracks have some dramatic and fitful moments which we really enjoy performing.  They were also both ideas we wanted to pursue knowing that they wouldn’t ultimately end up on our next full length due, somewhat, to a difference in their feel.

AMBY: What is your guilty pleasure song?

T:  Hands down everything R. Kelly has ever made.  But the guilty feelings are due mostly to ambivalence around celebrating his music in light of his personal indiscretions and have nothing at all to do with any sort of judgments placed upon quality.

J:  Though not really guilty, not everyone loves Brian Adams…or they think you are talking about Ryan Adams. Summer of ’69 people…come on.

AMBY: Does hailing from Brooklyn, New York influence your music and if so, how?

J: Being musicians here influences us more on a personal level than on a creative one.   Of course, New York’s ultra stimulating art scene has an impact. But more than that, we have community here in our peers– other musicians and artists.  The music industry can be difficult to navigate at times so having support of friends at varying levels of success and experience has been the most important thing for us. We are very proud to be considered part of this scene; our band formed here and we are conscious that it’s somewhat impossible to escape being a product of one’s environment, but neither of us is actually a Brooklyn native or looks only to local art or local phenomena for inspiration.

AMBY: What would a movie based on the band be called?

J: Mars Attacks is taken right?

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

T: In chronological order. Age 5: Mariah Carey, Music Box. Age 13: Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville.  Thereafter, I’d be lying to you if I picked just one. I’d give equal weight to some of the rock/pop/folk cannon (Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, Prince, Hendrix, Joplin, Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, etc as I would to the fuzzier-genred or more lyrically opaque indie music I loved growing up.  Neutral Milk, Sufjan, Architecture in Helsinki, Decemberists, Shins, Camera Obscura, Knife, Modest Mouse, Of Montreal.  I also grew up listening to a ton of rap, Mo-town, R&B, and Arabic music but you’ve asked for just 3 and I’m clearly failing at this question.

J: Unfairly tough question…far too many to narrow down to three. My 12 year old self responds with: Led Zepplin IV, Miles Davis – Kind of Blue, Pink Floyd – Dark Side.

AMBY: What is the funniest thing to happen to you at one of your gigs?

Cultfever: Nothing funny ever happens at shows. We’re way too serious for joy.

AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?

J: The release of our first piece of vinyl, the upcoming new full length, and our first time at SXSW.

AMBY: If you could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?

J: You know, we’d probably say something about gun control here but our manager just proposed backwards pants day every Thursday and that seems more immediately actionable.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Cultfever that nobody knows yet?

T: We’re actively working together on a graphic novel.


You can purchase Cultfever’s new single Animals off of their website, and also be sure to catch them at SXSW! Lastly, thank you Cultfever, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia & Yaz Atout

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