THE CULT guitarist Billy Duffy spoke to Tone-Talk about the progress of the recording sessions for the band's new album. The follow-up to 2016's "Hidden City" is being helmed by producer Tom Dalgety, who has previously worked with GHOST and ROYAL BLOOD, among others.
"We've been digging away at that over the last year and a half," Billy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET. "We're working with a great young English producer called Tom Dalgety. And, obviously, with the circumstances of the last year or so, it's been a little challenging. But we're making some progress.
"The philosophy in THE CULT camp, really, is about quality, not quantity," Duffy explained. "We don't just need to keep putting out records for the sake of it. Without being ridiculous, we wanna, within a certain realistic time frame, make sure that the records that we put out are as good as they can be. So sometimes that takes a bit longer. And that's kind of where we're at."
He reiterated: "We're well into the process of the new CULT album."
Speaking about THE CULT's songwriting approach this time around, Billy said: "One of the things about THE CULT, I think, that may be worth mentioning is it's always been a collaborative creative effort between me and Ian [Astbury, vocals]. And as you can imagine, like any kind of situation, there's pushing and pulling, and Ian wants to go a certain direction, and I might resist, or I might wanna go a certain direction. And that tension creates [THE CULT sound]. It's not like Ian writes 'Ian songs' and Billy writes 'Billy songs,' and we record them as THE CULT. There are no 'Ian songs' or 'Billy songs' — there are Ian and Billy songs together. And over the time, there's a bit of a creative — it's not always tension; I don't mean that in a bad way. That's what makes it good. It's that blend. We sort of respect each other to the extent that I think there's a trust there, and I think that, after this many years together, and a few years apart, I think we trust each other and respect each other enough.
"I think it's healthy to have creative tension," he continued. "There's nothing worse than walking into a room where nobody's got any ideas. I'd rather have an argument about something creative than to have nothing, just the sound of crickets: 'All right. What are we gonna do now?'
"We see things very differently," Billy admitted. "In a lot of ways, we're very alike. Our birthdays are one year and two days apart. So we're both Taureans. Our birthdays are both coming up very soon. We're very alike in a lot of ways and very different in a lot of ways."
Last June, Duffy spoke to "The Big Night In" about how the creative process in THE CULT works. "The ideas either come or they don't," he explained. "I don't sit and force myself. I know some writers or music and lyrics [have] a disciplined work schedule — hours spent in front of the typewriter equals output. To me, I just play till I feel it and if I get this energy and out comes a little riff. And it literally is as simple as that. I get the idea — it's almost like an itch that I've got to scratch, and out it pops, and I record it. And it's been like that now for nearly 40 years, so I'm probably, at this age, not gonna change [my ways]."
Billy also touched upon THE CULT's musical evolution, saying: "Mine and Ian's relationship as writers and what we want out of THE CULT, we're both fairly forward thinking and we don't want to try and redo an album from 1986 when we were young men. People often say that: 'Why don't you do an album like that?' It's, like, well, because it'd be a lie. As musicians, you want to evolve and just sort of tell the truth of where you are in your life… Having said that, there are many great bands — AC/DC spring to mind — who try and make the same album over and over and over, and [that worked] brilliantly for them. God bless."
"Hidden City" was released in February 2016 via Cooking Vinyl. The follow-up to 2012's "Choice Of Weapon" was written by Astbury and Duffy and was produced by Bob Rock, who has previously worked with METALLICA and MÖTLEY CRÜE.
Last May, it was announced that THE CULT had inked a deal with Black Hill Records.
THE CULT spent most of 2019 touring in celebration of the 30th anniversary of its "Sonic Temple" album. The LP catapulted THE CULT into superstar status and remains their most commercially successful release. It has sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone and was certified platinum in 1990. It made it to No. 10 on the Billboard charts, and several of the album's songs remain rock-radio staples to this day.