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Cults: This band’s not spooked by Halloween

By Courtney Devores
Correspondent
Cults
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Cults: Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin

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  • CULTS 'HIGH ROAD'


  • PREVIEW

    Cults

    WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

    WHERE: Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave.

    TICKETS: $18.

    DETAILS: 704-358-9200; www.visulite.com.



A couple of years ago, the band Cults spent its Halloween playing for a bunch of Parisians who don’t celebrate the spooktacular holiday.

“It was such a bummer,” says guitarist Brian Oblivion. “We were all in costume on stage and no one understood what we were doing.”

This year, Cults is doing Halloween right – with a show at Visulite Theatre Thursday that Oblivion promises will deliver fun.

“If you’re going to a concert on Halloween, you’re giving up the experience. (So) we’re having a costume contest. We’ve learned a bunch of Halloween covers. We (arranged for) a bunch of pumpkins at the venue. What a tremendous, sacred thing to give up your Halloween to a band.”

Hyping Halloween may seem like a small thing compared to the hype Cults has had to live up to since “Go Outside” garnered major buzz back a couple of years ago after being posted on online music store Bandcamp. The single landed on its 2011 self-titled debut album.

This month, the NYC-based group – led by Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin – released the follow-up CD, “Static.”

“The second record for us felt in a lot of ways like a third record feels for a lot of bands,” Oblivion says. “When our first songs came out, they got so much unexpected attention and hype. It was really nerve-racking making the first record. Everyone was like, ‘Can they follow it up?’ This time, we felt like some people knew who we were, but it was much chiller.”

The experience was almost derailed when the group’s gear and studio were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy last fall.

“We (had) moved into what seemed like a real dream situation – this warehouse in Greenpoint with a couple other bands,” he says. “We were trying to do this cool art compound. It was flooded with 6 feet of dirty Hudson River water. Every single piece of musical equipment, our whole recording setup for the new record was in there. Then we were just throwing it in dumpsters.”

But then “Go Outside,” a single off that first album, landed in a commercial for the Nokia Lumia 925 cellphone. The payday for the ad allowed them to buy new equipment.

Its overnight success led to other commercials, a music video starring actors Emma Roberts (“We’re the Millers”) and Dave Franco (“21 Jump Street”), and a pact to tour next year with heroes the Pixies.

And with new album “Static,” Oblivion and Follin are out to show some growth.

“It’s hard to quantify how you change as a person,” says Oblivion, 24. “I don’t think anybody really feels that they can relate that well to the person they were two years ago. I feel like whenever I meet musicians, I always assume they’re older than they are. The lifestyle takes a toll on their body, and there’s maturity that comes from the pressures of traveling.”

Maybe that’s part of the reason Cults surrounds itself with friends this time out. Oblivion says the whole band, the lighting guy, and opening act Socco, all went to the same San Diego high school together.

“You know that Drake song, ‘No New Friends?’” he deadpans. “That’s a joke.”

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