As The Cult nears 40 years since its debut album, cofounders Billy Duffy and Ian Astbury can claim to have a partnership that's endured longer than most marriages.
Even with a pair of hiatuses in the mid-'90s and mid-'00s, the guitarist and frontman have maintained a creative synergy across multiple decades.
"In many ways, the Cult has always been Billy and Ian," Astbury says. "In a sense of a band — the John, Paul, George and Ringo ... that lasted for a minute, you know, but it's just impossible.
"Everybody just has different responses to the touring and the pressures of it ... lifestyle. So you do lose members. I mean, you lose members through death, you lose members through lifestyle choices ... creative differences. Billy and I always maintained that relationship. We're polar, there's no doubt, but when we do come together and we connect there's an alchemy and that's undeniable."
The Cult's new album, Under the Midnight Sun, is due out October 7 via Black Hill Records.
While the record was mostly crafted during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, you wouldn't know it from the lead single, "Give Me Mercy," which has all the poetry, guts and live vibrance of a classic Cult recording.
"The song is a reflection of the times," Astbury said of his lyrics. "It's a plea ... we need a new language than we have right now. We don't seem to be communicating with each other very well. So how do we transcend that? What are the stakes, what are the values of language? Meaning the language of polarization of viewpoints."
Watch the full conversation via the player above.
Here's the official music video for "Give Me Mercy":