The Spanish formation Culture Kultür saw the daylight in 1992. Josua Clotet remained the single core member while singer Salva Maine joined the band in 1999. The early releases revealed a mix of EBM and dark-pop elements, but quite progressively the songs became more electro/future-pop inspired. After a hiatus of nine years Culture Kultür are finally back on track releasing a new full length on Caustic Records. “Humanity” is an album that will appeal for all future-pop fans. It’s a danceable- and melodic composition, but still a work reflecting serious lyrics. Culture Kultür is back with a great new opus so time for an interview with both members.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Music always has been very important to you so I can imagine it means a lot to have released a new album after nine years of ‘absence’? What do you keep in mind from this long break?
Josua: You are right. Looking back, we never really stopped. We always had a slow working pace due to being extremely focused on the details when arranging songs. Of course, real life came into place with personal- and health issues along this time, but “Humanity” is the reflection of all this. So.. it was NOT a break… we care (maybe sometimes too much) about our songs and what they become while creating it. Now those songs are free to fly to the world and we hope the best for them.
Q: Nine years is quite a long lapse of time so what are the main changes/evolutions/innovations you noticed in the music scene and are there still changes in your way of composing music?
Salva: I see the scene quite the same. The production has improved and the sound is better, even with new bands, but regarding composition and style I feel that everything is similar to ten years ago. I don’t see many innovations. Regarding our working method, usually we pass our ideas back and forth until we have a clear song structure and then we finish and polish it.
Josua: Production qualities are improving every year and that is happening even at very modest setups…. and this is GOOD. Now that the tools are more or less ‘democratized’, let’s wish we all together can advance a scene, which is a little bit ‘frozen’ into time and their own symbols and icons.
Q: What kind of work did you wanted to accomplish for the “Humanity”-album and what have been the main sources of inspiration –sound- and lyrical wise?
Salva: Regarding the lyrics, I like to deal with what’s wrong inside our heads and inside our hearts. That’s why there are songs that talk about the refugees problem, sexism, violence… The themes are dark, but there is always a bright side that is fitting with the uplifting music. For example, in “Refugee” we talk about the tragedy to leave your home and risk your life, but in the chorus there is a hope that one day we, the humanity, will be able to solve it.
One source of inspiration was the work of the buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. I use his ideas (or the Buddhist ideas he teaches) in the song “Seeds Of Violence”, that talks about the negative emotions that lays inside everyone, and “The Sun Is My Heart” that talks about how everything is connected.
Q: The lyrical content of “Humanity” indeed deals with dramatic subjects while the sound gives people a real ‘feel good’ sensation. What says your psychiatrist about it (lol) and how do you perceive this interesting contrast?
Salva: I don’t have a psychiatrist (yet)! For me, the result of upbeat music and serious lyrics melt into some form of melancholy. But it doesn’t have to be bad: you can face sad things and still find a positive side about it. You can have a deeper understanding of the problems and eventually have some hope in that they can be solved. Music can be cathartic in that way.
Josua: In retrospective… we did that since the very beginning. Maybe we had darker music tones before –like the “Reflex”-album, but our lyrics always talked about human behaviour and strong emotions. Maybe we try to be ‘dancing with tears in our eyes’.
Q: You released a very surprising and highly professional clip of the song “Refugee”. Tell us a bit more about the clip and the link with the vocals?
Josua: We are very proud of the clip. Being ‘children of the 80s’ you can imagine having a clip so strong on FX, but with a deep message, suits us nicely. As always in our works, we put up front stories and ideas, which mean something to all of us. We cannot be blind as persons, as society to those human brothers being rejected. It’s so easy to let this pass by while we are worried just on the quality of our 5G connection. We are NOT blind to reality even if this modern world only wants us to consume and enjoy our first world status while letting the rest to be destroyed.
Salva: We approached the producers Anim8tion and Fabulama and they came up with the visual idea for the videoclip. It was filmed in the Tabernas’ Desert, in Southern Spain with some extra shoots with chromas. The location is very beautiful, and in fact has served to background for videos of Depeche Mode, Front 242 or Joy Division, to name some.
The idea was telling the history of refugees, but in a tone of Sci-Fi, to soften the message and also for allowing them more creative space to work with.
Q: Because of the reduced CD sales it’s more important than ever before to play live and going on tour etc. What do you think about this evolution and what are the plans when it comes to live shows?.
Josua: REALLY looking forward to that. I’m rejoining Culture Kultür as live keyboardist and this after an absence of many years wherein I was only active in the studio. I really need to get back in touch with the crowd.
Salva: For us, being located in Europe’s ‘periphery’, it’s difficult to do gigs in Central Europe. German bands just have to take a car ride, but we have to fly, and that increases the costs a lot. I’m afraid that the compensation for the lack of physical sales can only come from online streaming, which is the tendency nowadays.