Following news of forthcoming project between Wes Lang, The Cult and Supply I thought it was perfect timing to catch up with The Cult lead singer Ian Astbury and find out more about the collection. With the release not to far away, we talk about how the three entities worked together, was the idea of the project is and what role each brand plays in street culture today.
James Oliver: Ian, can you please tell me when and where you first met Wes Lang?
Ian Astbury: I first met Wes at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles where he was in residence painting. I have been collecting his work for several years.
James Oliver: What are your honest thoughts on his art work and the impact he has had on the art world?
Ian Astbury: The ‘Art World’ is a symbol which in reality is a broken institution. The ‘Art Of World’ has two schools. One for the most part is driven by ego, money, greed, fear and control, a world that has more to do with rolling into Venice on newly acquired yachts and falling out of private jets in Miami with no real cultivation or sense of style.
The collectors and cultural heads are self acclaimed and self aggrandising. They only know what they are fed by the dealers (which ultimately benefits the dealers). It just perpetuates imitation and art for arts sake. However there are always exceptions.
Then there is a pure school of people compelled to create because they have to, it’s all they know. They emerge from all stations of society, they do not talk they create, they do not curate they create.
James Oliver: Supply is a stand out retailer in this culture, what is it about the store and Shawn you appreciate?
Ian Astbury: I know and have respected Shawn Yates for many years, he released an LAMF piece a while back. He has a great eye for style and is always one step ahead and pays attention to details. Supply is a well created and thought out space. He is passionate and cares about what he does.
James Oliver: Choosing a store in Australian broadens the appeal for The Cult and Wes Lang, can you talk a bit about this?
Ian Astbury: We didn’t choose Supply based on its geographical location. We came together on this because of mutual admiration. Sydney is a progressive international city, The Cult is an international band, Wes Lang is an international brand, Supply is an international brand. The higher schools of New York, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, London and Los Angeles are no longer the leaders, they are now reacting to rising stars from other urban and suburban areas and their creative visions. Its The New World Order so to speak.
James Oliver: Can you talk about the relevance The Cult plays in street culture today, having been a pivotal player over the years?
Ian Astbury: Well The Cult as a band has had its moments in street culture no doubt, it’s primarily a rock band but I as an individual have had a long love affair with street culture. This isn’t the place to reveal my CV. I got my first Nike’s in 1976, etc…
James Oliver: How did the idea for The Cult to collaborate with Wes and Shawn come about?
Ian Astbury: Shawn wanted to do something for The Cult coming to Australia to perform Electric (Rick Rubin produced 1987) as he has an emotional connection to that album, Wes expressed a desire to do something as he also is connected to that album and first saw The Cult as a young teen in 1987. I put them together.
James Oliver: How did each entity contribute to the project?
Ian Astbury: My part was to bring in the ‘Lightening Panther Icon’ that Wes was inspired by and he is using a line from a cult song ‘King Contrary Man’ from Electric which was inspired by Robert Johnson, ” I Want It All” as part of the graphic. Wes reinterpreted the panther and hand wrote several lyrical phrases he connected with. Supply produced the project.
James Oliver: Can you talk about the philosophy / concept of the project?
Ian Astbury: It’s really an opportunity to do something unique for The Cult, we have had previous collaborations with Kostas Seremetis, Neighborhood, Salem, Storm Thorgerson, Rick Griffin etc, I am just continuing that energy. I recently created a surf board project ‘Death From Below’ for The Cult.
James Oliver: Finally, words to live by…
Ian Astbury: CREATE DON’T CURATE X