Masked Nottingham duo Bone Cult are redefining electronica | NEW BLOOD

In a nation full of bland indie rock bands, Nottingham based duo Bone Cult have been shaking things up with their self-described ‘death electronica’ sound. Taking inspiration from an eclectic pool of artists, like Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Slipknot, Death From Above 1979 and Enter Shikari, Bone Cult are on a mission to stand out by any means necessary.

We spoke to the enigmatic duo from lockdown to find out more about their debut album ‘Death Electronica’, their influences and why they wear masks…

First off, who are you and where do you come from?

We are Bone Cult and started in Leicester where we met and decided to start this as a project to create something different from the ocean of indie bands we were surrounded by at the time. Now we are based in Nottingham and still surrounded by indie bands.

You describe your sound as ‘Death Electronica’ – what does that term mean to you?

‘Death Electonica’ sums up the sound we try to create. We believe our music is electronic first and foremost but we don’t want to lose the live energy or aggression that comes from being in a rock band which is where the ‘Death’ part comes into it i.e. Death Metal for instance.

‘Death Electronica’ is also the name of your debut album, how would you describe the album to someone that hasn’t heard your music before?

Our songs are always pinned by hard hitting drums and breakbeats, there’s usually plenty of distortion on our guitars and synthesisers. It’s electronic instrumentation with the rawness of a live band. Our vocals are also digitised and processed to the point where it barely resembles the original voice. It’s about taking real life sounds and bending them into a larger than life creation.

What was the song writing process like during the album, how do these eclectic tracks come together?

The songs usually start out stripped back, like a single guitar riff or sample that grabs our attention. From then on, we keep working with it directly in the software (usually Ableton Live), adding parts and adjusting sounds. Writing and mixing songs becomes one process and a song will usually evolve in many different ways, entire sections get rewritten as we come across a variation on a section that hits harder than the previous version.

What inspires your song writing?

Weirdly watching other bands and feeling like we can do better. Wanting to create an original sound when you feel like you’ve heard the same song over and over. Bands like The Prodigy and early Pendulum blended genres well and we aim to recreate that grey area where it’s difficult to put it in a genre. 

You guys take a lot of pride in your live performance, coming with a mesmerising light show as well as your hard hitting sound – what do you enjoy most about performing live?

Showing people our stage production is always a highlight. It’s always fun to make an experience that no one else has shown the audience, especially on the underground scene. Bringing a light show is always a level of production no one expects. It helps the audience become more immersed in the set and it’s just a pleasure to impress people rather than get a lukewarm reaction after the set, for better or worse.

What’s people’s response like at shows, do they dance? Mosh? Or something inbetween?

Ha! Yeah something like that. It differs from song to song as the sets usually reflect the album and don’t stay at one tempo and BPM. We’re happy for the crowd to do what they like so long as it doesn’t involve throwing bottles of piss at us.

You’ve said you’re inspired by acts like Daft Punk and Slipknot – are these masked influences why you decided to dawn masks?

I suppose so. It links back to the first answer more so where we just wanted to create an entertaining and visual live performance after seeing so many guitar bands playing in their jeans and t-shirt with a bland live image. It creates a more striking brand for the music too and is just something more aggressive to represent the music better than if we played in our everyday clothes.

Having a love for the underground scene and circuit, are there any upcoming acts that you’ve met or seen that impressed you?

Yeah for sure. Birthmarks and Tayne are favourites we’ve played with. A grime artist called Snowy is awesome as well as Drip Fed Empire who do a great job blending more electronic sounds into their live set up. Apart from them, check out Fleisch, Goteki, Ventenner and Baby Tap.

Finally, what’s the first thing you guys are going to do when lockdown is over and life is back to normal?

We had planned to tour Australia this year following Toronto in November 2019 where we met a promoter who works out there. So we would look to get that back on track once we know what’s going on in the world. Other than that, just get back in the gym.

Johno Ramsay