Lunch Cult played Earth House earlier this year on September 28 as part of a fall tour announcing the release of their new album, Let’s Hear It For Lunch Cult. The band consists of Angus Macdonald on guitar, Luke Macdonald on drums, and Jake Lichter on keyboard, percussion, and vocals. Let’s Hear It For Lunch Cult also features Lucy Hollier on viola and Will Salwen on bass and percussion.
Lunch Cult spoke with Aural Wes’ Allison Hsu (‘19) about touring and their new record:
AW: Tell us about your new record/your fall tour.
Luke Macdonald: Tour was a blast. Unknown sleeping arrangements every night, the gig economy, books on tape… Everyone should tour. You don’t even have to play music to tour, you could do comedy or “performance art”…People will book anything. We played music though, obviously. My favorite part of tour is going around and seeing friends we normally don’t get to see.
The record is out! on Spotify and all that so go listen. It’s short and sweet. We smoothened up our sound as well since the last album, so now your parents can listen too. It’s more pop oriented, melodic, lyrical. Some call it “young-adult contemporary”. We’ve been playing some of these songs for a few years now and have been aching to lay them down.
AW: Anything new in the works?
LM: A LOT!!!!! We’ve started planning an ambient electronic album, probably to be titled Piece Of Us. Half improv half composed. Ideally it will be good study music. It won’t be out in time for finals, but hopefully next semester’s midterms. I’m learning clarinet for another project called “Knights and Knaves” that we’re gonna start writing for soon. ALSO - this is very recent and its still in the works - but a minor label (can’t disclose whom yet) has expressed interest in putting out a compilation album. It’s gonna be called SIX COLD CUTS and it’ll be six of our old songs remastered, repackaged, and maybe with some bonus commentary stuff.
AW: How was your experience of playing at Wesleyan? Any other memorable tour experiences?
Jake Lichter: Playing at Wesleyan is always so fun. We played our first show outside of our hometown at Wesleyan in the Westco Cafe when Angus was a freshman, years before he joined the band. When he eventually joined on guitar, we spent two weeks writing and rehearsing material at Wesleyan partly during Angus’s senior week. Me and Luke both turned 21 a few days before graduation - I remember shotgunning a beer for the first time at midnight on my birthday on somebody’s front lawn. I think this past time playing was our fifth show at Wes. We thought it would feel different now that all three of us are long out of college, but everyone was so welcoming and the audience had so much energy that we felt very at home.
This was probably our most fun tour yet. It’s hard to explain exactly why. I felt like people were giving back the energy we were putting out on stage more than usual. After our show at Marlboro College (with Space Camp and Lahnah), someone unlocked a secret rock-climbing gym in the basement of the building we played in. There were about ten of us all having a good time, swinging and climbing, etc. when someone who nobody knew found their way into the space and was acting like a 7-year-old who ate too much candy. Nobody knew how to interact with them and they were revealing really weird shit about their life to anyone who would listen. Then a bunch of other people who were in charge of the space came in and were passive-aggressively trying to ask us to leave but nobody wanted to leave so we didn’t.
AW: Which songs are your favorite to play live?
Angus Macdonald: I like all the songs where I don’t have to play guitar and the guys let me play drums or keyboards or another instrument like that. I’m so bad at doing it so it is a very fun challenge for me.
There’s also a song on the album called Trachtatus that Jake wrote - it's new and it has fun chords and he lets me shred on it so that’s cool too.
AW: Describe your music-making process. What makes you want to make music?
JL: The majority of the songs on the new record came from seeds planted several years ago. I tend to have a lot of trouble with second-guessing material I write for Lunch Cult so in the past few years I have begun outsourcing the songwriting process to my slightly-younger self. I record melodies, chord progressions, funny lyrics, or song ideas as they come to me and then intentionally forget about them for several months. When I come back to them, I’m usually in a very different place in my life and they don’t feel like something I would write in the present moment. This is perfect for me because it’s essentially legal plagiarism. The songwriting process always happens so much more naturally for me when I’m not dealing with emotions I’m feeling in the present moment.
AW: Who are your major influences? And who do you aspire to be?
AM: I would like this opportunity to say I aspire to STOP getting emails from Wesleyan students looking for Wesleyan Sound Co Op equipment I am not the manager of the Sound Co Op. I hope that I use the phrase “Wesleyan Sound Co Op” enough in this interview to make this the first Google hit for “Wesleyan Sound Co Op” so anyone who searches for the Wesleyan Sound Co Op will know that they should NOT email me, Angus Macdonald, with their Wesleyan Sound Co Op queries.
For making this record, we listened to a lot of influences in the studio, primarily Steely Dan and Godsmack (or some other band like that i can’t remember). Jake's favorite album is Plantasia but I hate it so it cancels out. When Luke and I hang out now we always listen to Nina Simone, especially her covers of Yes and the Bee Gees.
AW: What are you listening to (currently)?
JL: Right at this very moment I’m listening to Switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos but it’s being drowned out by the sound of construction next door :(
Update: We met with the two people in charge of the construction next door. Though they have no legal obligation to compensate us for the past months of horribly loud jackhammering sounds that permeate our walls, they are considering our informal invoice for two full months’ rent (which would total $6000 (a measly sum for many property owners in New York City)).