GRAMMYs On The Road At SXSW With The Cult And Lights

Backstage with the Cult and Lights at the conference's 26th annual installment
  • Photo: Michael Lavine
    The Cult
  • Lights
March 30, 2012 -- 3:07 pm PDT
GRAMMY.com

The Recording Academy Texas Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At South by Southwest during the conference's 26th annual installment from March 9–18 in Austin, Texas. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists participating during the music portion of the conference, including classic rock group the Cult and electro pop singer/songwriter Lights.

The Cult guitarist Billy Duffy discussed the band's forthcoming album, Choice Of Weapon, the makeup of the band's sound and their biggest career moments, among other topics.   

"We're just [music] fans who learned to play," said Duffy. "[We're] fans of punk who really enjoy good rock music. I think one of the things about the Cult is [we're] very much a heart and soul kind of band."

The Cult, originally formed as the Southern Death Cult by vocalist Ian Astbury in the early '80s, emerged in 1984 as one of the leading hard rock revivalist acts. That year, the band released their debut album, Dreamtime, peaking at No. 21 on the UK album chart. Though the band experienced several lineup shifts throughout the '80s, they remained anchored by Astbury and Duffy and released several albums, including Love (1985), Electric (1987) and Sonic Temple (1989), the latter of which marked their highest-charting album to date, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard 200.

Following the release of their 1994 self-titled album, the Cult disbanded in 1995. Astbury and Duffy reformed the Cult in 1999 for a performance at the Tibetan Freedom Concert and in 2001 released Beyond Good And Evil. A new lineup of the Cult — featuring drummer John Tempesta and bassist Chris Wyse — released Born Into This in 2007, peaking at No. 70 on the Billboard 200. The band's forthcoming album, Choice Of Weapon, is set for release on May 22.

Lights discussed her musical influences, most recent release, Siberia, and biggest career moments, among other topics.

"My career has been a succession of a whole bunch of small moments," said Lights. "[The Internet] is an interesting phenomenon … It's like a virus … it gets spread around, and then it's like you're a frog in boiling water — you don't realize what's happening and then you look two years later and suddenly you have this many more followers."

Lights is the electro pop singing/songwriting project of Canada native Valerie Poxleitner. At age 18 Poxleitner landed a contract writing songs for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. She subsequently signed a record deal with punk label Underground Operations and in 2008 issued a self-titled EP. The following year she earned the New Artist of the Year honor at the 2009 Juno Awards. Lights released her full-length debut album, The Listening, in 2009. Released in 2011, Siberia peaked at No. 47 on the Billboard 200. Lights is currently on tour throughout Canada, the United States and Australia, with select dates scheduled through June.

Come back to GRAMMY.com on Monday for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At SXSW.

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