Interview: Cynic Cult
[gallery type="slideshow" link="none" size="full" ids="130998,130999,131000,131001"]
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Shay: Pretty much everyone in my family and extended family play music, it spreads over a few generations now and goes back to when my grandfather and his brothers had a showband in the 60's. We have a huge family, we all learn to play at a young age and I'm really grateful for it. If I was not playing music I would still be doing something creative, writing or tattooing.
Tommy: There was always music playing in my home when I was small. I have always loved singing. Sang solo in a school play when I was 10 - Queen's I want to break free. I just felt free and alive when I sang... Still do... Not being involved in music was never an option, It's my happy place.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Tommy: I am usually listening to music or watching movies when I am not actualy playing music. I get a lot of my ideas for songs from my kids, movies and people watching.
Shay: I like to write when I can. I am currently working on a series of dark and gritty stories that are set within a really fucked up and demented world. I think whether it's music or writing, I always approach them the same way, it has become a very natural approach and for sure all of these creative things have a big influence over one other because really, they're coming from the same place.
How long has your band been around?
Shay: The band has officially been around since the summer of 2020.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Shay: I grew up in Wexford, Ireland, and at the start of the nauties there were so many young lads who were either in a band or following all of the older guys in their bands, it was a great time. Seeing people perform their own music, it was inspiring.
Tommy: I'm based in Monaghan in a small town so being alternative back then made me stand out at first, it really moulded me. I might look normal now, but not 28 years ago haha.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
Shay: It was the title of an older song, and some healthy Irish sarcasm led to it becoming the name of the band instead.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Shay: One of the best shows I've played was in an old venue called Electric Avenue. There was a really cool stage with a few hundred people looking down on it. Neville Staple from The Specials was meant to play but had to cancel at the last minute and the band I was in at the time got the call to fill in, it was class.
Tommy: Best show ever was in The Button Factory in Dublin. Worst show was when I was about 15 and we only had 5 songs in the set, we had to play them twice to fill time haha.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Tommy: The Button factory is one of my favourite venues to play. The atmosphere and sound is savage. I would love to play the 3 arena!
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Tommy: If I could play with a perfect line up it would be. Tool, Karnivool and Slipknot.
Shay: Tool, Nine inch nails, Devin Townsend, Deftones.. that would be awesome.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Tommy: My advice to anyone wanting to get into music would be - GO FOR IT! Throw your whole self into it! Become it! I held back for years, never thought I was good enough, compared myself to others.. Don't do that.. Focus on your music and be honest.
Shay: Enjoy it, write and play music that you like, fuck trying to keep other people happy. And like Tommy said, 'GO FOR IT'.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Tommy: I'd give myself the same advice haha
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Tommy: Every song I write means a lot to me because I mean every single word of it.
Shay: I have an old song called Start listening, it is not actually a Cynic cult track, though I was thinking about bringing it in. It was recorded in 2006 with a project called Black halO. I was really proud of it at the time and still am, even if it doesn't sound that great now. There was a lot of meaning behind it.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Shay: We have not had the chance to play any of these new songs yet, but when we do there is a track there called 'Echoes of truth', and I have a feeling that it is going to go down really well live. Keep an eye out for that tune!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Shay: I'll take care of the music, then pass it on to Tommy so he can bring his lyrics to it. The inspiration is always different, it could be something as simple as just hitting the right note or it could be a lot more methodical and go in with intention. It all depends really.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Tommy: The messages are, you are not alone. I've been there. Bullied and beaten. Mentally tortured and abused, but I'm still here. Stronger and more determined.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Shay: No, we are very supportive of each other's opinions and trust that when a suggestion is made, it is for the better of the song we are working on. We are a team, that's just how it is.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Shay: We have quite a few things on the way, a new single, EP and we have a lot of material to piece together for future releases. For now we want to keep making music and get the name out there.