Earlier this year, L.A.'s CONTRACULT Collective burst onto the scene with two explosive singles, the original cut "Hogtied" and a re-inventive cover of Hole's grunge hit "Violet," introducing a fascinating new voice within the current industrial-rock renaissance. In February, the group played their first show ever, at their hometown's The Echo, opening for synthwave corpse-paint enthusiasts GosT, and just as they were gathering momentum, COVID-19 shut down the live music circuit. Stuck in quarantine, CONTRACULT have hardly been sitting on their hands, however. The fruits of their homebound labors include the abrasive new single "WDYT" and it's frenetic music video, which was filmed by each band member in isolation, the footage edited together by Manuel Casanova.
"With the concept of the song meeting the state everyone was thrown into during this pandemic, we were able to channel a vision to present in this video easily," the band comments of the clip. "To make this, we just used our cell phones and general frustration to snapshot our experience in this unfortunate time in history."
Watch and listen above, and below, read our recent chat with CONTRACULT's Svart for some deeper insight into the band.
WHO IS CONTRACULT COLLECTIVE? CAN YOU GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOW YOU GUYS CAME TOGETHER?
SVART Cultprit and I met in Brooklyn a few years back. We both shared an affinity for industrial music, especially that which featured guitars and other metal elements. We felt like there was a demand for new music in the genre which had this vibe, so we decided to take a crack at it. After our first few demo sessions, we felt we were onto something special.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR BAND'S MISSION STATEMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A cult of opposition.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO INDUSTRIAL MUSIC?
There was this very sad goth kid I had an enormous crush on who I met at summer camp. He listened exclusively to German industrial and Nine Inch Nails. They got me hooked on The Downward Spiral in the summer of 2002.
WHY COVER HOLE'S "VIOLET"? WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WITH THE COVER TO MAKE THE SONG YOUR OWN?
I've always been a big fan of Hole and the Live Through This album. Great songs, lyrics, and the production is cool. It's just so iconic for an era and the emotional journey Courtney [Love] was on at the time. If you want to hear what we did to make the song our own — go listen to it.
BEING IN A BAND, WHAT'S THE HARDEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE COME ACROSS SO FAR?
Writing songs that we'd want to hear as fans. You overcome that by writing 50 songs to get five good ones. Trying everything and not settling.
YOU GUYS PLAYED YOUR FIRST SHOW AS CONTRACULT COLLECTIVE NOT TOO LONG AGO. HOW DID IT GO?
It went well. The songs seemed to hit hard both sonically and within the performance, we had a great reaction. I think GosT — who we opened for — was a good pairing as another electronic band with a metal edge to them.
WHAT'S YOUR PRESHOW RITUAL?
Once I've done my warm ups and my gear is on, I sit in the dark burning sandalwood and burning two blue candles while listening to some dark instrumental music like Silent Servant or the Haxan cloak. I push a pinwheel across my arms and neck going just a little bit deeper with each stroke. As the tiny little blades go over and over the same scratches, I start to think about the set and the songs we're about to perform. I think in-depth about every lyric, movement, tone, melody and every memory and moment they convey to my life. I put myself into a trance of anger, love, sex, passion, sorrow, humility and trauma as I relive everything these songs have ever made me feel. Once I can see my skin start to raise under the mark of the pinwheel, I take one of the candles and pour it over the wounds, a final sting as a reminder of life. Ten pushups, then I'm ready to go.
WHAT BAND OR MUSICAL ARTIST ARE YOU THE BIGGEST FAN OF? PROVE YOUR FANDOM.
My three favorite bands are Depeche Mode, Nasum, and Nine Inch Nails. I've seen Depeche Mode four times — once in Berlin — Nasum twice during the anniversary tour of Mieszko Talarczyk's death, and Nine Inch Nails about four times. I have a tattoo of the Violator flower, four Nasum tattoos all from the cover of the Shift LP and no Nine Inch Nails tats — yet.