If there's one musical artist that has never shied away from utilising their experienced trauma for artistic inspiration it's the fantastic Cultdreams. Bold, unflinching and an act that offers safe harbour to those who have suffered harrowing trauma, the two piece recently turned heads and raised eyebrows with their brilliant sophomore record Things That Hurt. We recently got in touch with Lucinda Livingstone (Vocals, Guitar) who broke down the stories and inspirations behind each track on the record.
Born An Underdog, Still Living One
"I actually wrote some of these lyrics three years ago, and I never knew what to do with them until I wrote the music for this song. Conor (Drums) and I have always used the saying “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” to describe our band. We’ve been around a while, we have a constant stream of bad luck, and we never quite manage to catch a “break” with anything, we’re always clawing through by the skin of our teeth. I guess this song is me reflecting on this silly thing that happened to me when I was a kid getting stuck on my neighbour's garage, no one being able to get me down, and comparing it to our success in the music industry. I don’t think we could ever have a more fitting song name for the both of us than this one."
Not My Generation
"Not My Gen is about touring through this weird messed up political climate we’ve been in for the last three years. Since we put out SAD in 2016, we’ve been on the road living through it. We were near the Brussels airport bombings when they happened, crossing the border the day after the referendum for Brexit, on the west coast during US election results, in Tallahassee the same night down the road from Donald Trump doing a rally. We toured a lot and as a result, we saw a lot of this first hand, coincidentally. It was hard to ignore. This song is almost like a pledge and a hope that our generation won’t completely fall away when all of this is finally over (if it ever is), and venting our frustrating at everything we see around us every day. A lot of people have asked me about the line “I wish I never wrote SAD” so to elaborate on that, after releasing a record about mental health sometimes I felt exhausted and often defeated for it. I felt like people used mental health to describe our band and define me as a person."
Rest & Reflection
"I wrote this about a family member that passed away on the first day of the Foxing and Pianos Become The Teeth tour we did last August. The distance I saw in our relationship when I was growing up and the lack of connection we ever really had. It’s a bit of a somber subject matter, but it also has closure, and as the title suggests it’s reflecting on personality traits passed down through generations that then come to influence the way that I am, and me coming to terms with why I am the way I am."
Flowers On Their Graves
"This and R&R tie in together, hence why their transition on the record is done so they flow into each other. Being too young to go to a funeral, yet attending others years later for people that I perhaps didn’t know as well. Small and strange and maybe insignificant memories of things you remember from your childhood that you can recount really vividly, but then larger chunks of memories of someone that isn’t here anymore that don’t exist but you wish they did over the insignificant ones."
"I wanted something that felt musically quite chill but then would easily and very quickly descend into chaos, which was what I had in mind when writing all the guitar parts for this. This is a super self-indulgent, in your head type jam. For those days where you can’t really see past all the things you hate about yourself, and you just sort of continuously dig holes and get in cycles, and you’re in that headspace until you break the cycle. We wanted the instrumental parts to be super shoegaze and layered and a bit over the top at the end of this one to kind of echo the lyrics."
We Never Rest
"A song about living in an exhausted society, being expected to live a lifestyle that might not actually be the right one for you, despite being traditional or considered “normal”. It’s very rhythmic and repetitive, and that kinda echoes our current generation's culture of just never stopping, always being on autopilot trying to make a living in whatever way we can. When I finished writing the lyrics and realised all the verses overlapped I thought about asking Katie and Dave from The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die to sing The choruses and I was terrified to send them the demo but luckily they liked it and said yes and it didn’t make our friendship awkward forever."
Don’t Let Them Tell You Otherwise
"This song is a little more experimental musically for us. We wanted it to slowly build, and sort of creep in full band at the end. It’s about gender and the realisation that you’re going to be put in a box for the rest of your life despite how you identify or feel. It’s for everyone that was told they couldn’t have a certain item of clothing when they were a kid because it “wasn’t for them” and for anyone now who doesn’t feel they fit and maybe wishes they didn’t have to tell people “what they are”. My best friend from college played saxophone on this after us making a promise 7 years ago we’d play on a record together. Also, Danny from Mean Ceaser played the trumpet."
"I wrote this when literally every few days bands were being outed for doing bad things to people. Every week there was another band, sometimes they were people we knew, sometimes they were huge bands that we had respected and had influenced us. Every time another story came out I just wanted to give up, it made me lose a lot of faith in music as everywhere you looked there was a man in a band that had behaved abusively or inappropriately towards someone in another band, or a fan."
"This verses to this ended up sounding a bit nu-metal, and we were not sad about that one bit. I wanted the guitars to sound like bees. Lyrically this ones about trying to better yourself constantly, sometimes having a few knockbacks as your trying but eventually regrouping and growing. Despite the music and how it sounds, it’s probably the most positive song on the album, it’s positive and accepting and ends quite triumphantly."
"This is one of the first ones we wrote together for the album. Conor wrote the main riff and I turned it into Toxins, and always had in my head it would be the last song on the record. It’s about a toxic relationship and the way it can affect you mentally and physically. The music came out so dark, the lyrics sort of just morphed around it all. I didn’t have any of the words beforehand which is strange for me as I have a constant stream of notes and lyrics I’m forever writing in my phone or in notebooks. When I played this to Em (Nervus) the first thing she said was “it sounds like Type O Negative” and now I can’t think of anything else when I hear it."
Things That Hurt is out now via Big Scary Monsters, physical copies can be purchased here. Cultdreams are currently on tour in support of Things That Hurt. Dates below.