Florida based producer, Culture Prophet has been lurking in the shadowy corners of King’s Head records gearing up for something big. His hard-hitting electro meets industrial rock style is intense and grabs the listener, shaking them vigorously. Coming from a hardcore heavy metal background you can hear influences from acts like Marilyn Manson, Depeche Mode, the White Stripes, among others come through in Culture Prophet’s work. We caught up with him on the eve of his debut album Lies & Deceit the first half of a large concept album that marks a huge milestone in the artist’s career.
For people who may not be familiar with Culture Prophet, could you give us a little background on the project?
Well I started Culture Prophet in 2007 as an experimental electronic rap project, actually, funnily enough. I wanted to do live punk-y dance music for people who were into punk rock or metal or stuff like that. Now I’ve taken it to a larger direction, where it was kinda of a comical thing at first but now its more of a serious thing. But yeah, it started in 2007 as a joke.
The Culture Prophet persona is rather distinct. Is there a particular lore associated with this character you've created?
This character is actually specifically for this record. Which is supposed to be a dark figure, existing in the idea of light in our world. Essentially, if you’re in a neighborhood or anywhere normal bright place there’s always a dark figure there and that’s the idea of the record. So it’s actually supposed to be a personified creature for the album that’s coming out.
Cool, let’s talk about the album. Are you excited for that to come out?
Totally! Full length album, I’ve been doing this for a long time and to finally have put out a record is great.
Yeah, it’s a big milestone. So why an album? Why now?
Well the album itself only contains two songs that were previous Culture Prophet excursions, which has changed many times since 2007 like I said. But this record is about the darkness existing in the lightness of life. So I think the record is kind of a big deal for whats happening, especially in the United States, but in the world right now. Not realizing that there are dark entities around us watching us. Totally excited to get this record out there and have people hear it.
Could you speak a little bit more to these “dark entities” that are existing in the far corners of the world?
It’s in everything, its in all of us. We all have a dark persona, whatever that might be. Whatever drives you in some depressive or angry way. You know, we all get mad about something or we get upset about things. Whatever it is, and it could be positive, anytime remembering that there is a negative to a positive. If you get positive about something there’s always gonna be a possible negative outcome. So the idea of this record is that it’s the negative of whatever the output is. There’s actually gonna be another record that’s the exact opposite, its gonna be the positive from the negative.
If you get positive about something there’s always gonna be a possible negative outcome.
Oh ok. That’s really cool.
This is gonna be a two album thing. I’m actually gonna put out another record in three months that’s gonna be the positive side of this negativity. I’ve been planning this for probably about two years.
You come from a punk rock metal background and that comes across really clearly in the record. What were some of your musical inspirations for this record?
This record, probably mostly a bunch of older industrial Skinny Puppy, Bauhaus, Raffi, that kind of stuff. That’s what I’ve been listening to for more or less the past six months preparing for this record. I’ve been listening to a lot of dark stuff obviously. Mostly 80s and 90s industrial, that’s what I grew up listening to.
What was the writing process like for this album?
Writing process, I always end up writing music first and then some of the songs on the album don’t have lyrics. Some of them do have vocals and some don’t, so depending on the feeling of the song that will tell me whether or not it should have lyrics. Whether or not it has something to be written about it, you know? In that idea of whether it should be sung. So I probably wrote all the songs first and the lyrics second. Some of the songs already had lyrics before I had the idea for the album but they just so happen to work well with the mix, the idea of the record.
What can listeners expect to hear in this record?
It’s not a long record. I will say that. It’s a short record for the most part, only like 40 minutes long. So I would say if you listen to it from start to finish expect it to go kind of like a rollercoaster. It’ll start out a little soft but it’ll get kinda heavy toward the end and the idea is that as its moving forward towards this negativity. For me its some specific things and for other people its other specific things.
So I know asking an artist to pick a favorite song off their album is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child, but could you name a couple of the highlights of the album?
Probably “Giallo” which is one of the instrumental songs on the record. It is probably one of my favorites since it sounds the most like the industrial vibe I wanted the record to have. That song sticks out to me production-wise because I’ve been getting more into that. I’ve been a songwriter since I was a child so song-writing is kind of easy for me. I’ve always been able to write songs, like I could write parts, choruses, verses, and lyrics no problem. But when it comes to producing I’m still learning and I think I will always be learning new things. So I feel like that song is the most well produced song on the album, where I did the best job producing. Vocally, probably “Sleeping Lord” which is a song I wrote in a doom metal band I was in four years ago. I converted it into an electronic song, but I love the lyrics even though it’s probably the least connected to the album. It still works cause its kind of a relationship, sexy things going on there. Which on the surface doesn’t quite make sense but if you look at it in context it can be seen as a negative thing.
And you do the vocals on these songs? Is that a carry over from your punk metal days?
Yep, it’s all me. I started singing when I was maybe twelve trying to emulate Kurt Cobain. I grew up in the 90s when all that stuff was new. Nirvana kinda drove me to wanna sing, I figured if [Kurt Cobain] could do it, I could do it. So yeah, I’ve always said I’ve been a big fan of that band.
Nirvana kinda drove me to wanna sing, I figured if [Kurt Cobain] could do it, I could do it.
Did any songs pose any particular problems or obstacles for you?
Kill the Fire actually, the song I did with Treznik. Writing the chorus for that song took me a while- which is weird because all it is is ‘Bang Bang Kill the Fire’- but it took me literally two months to write that. I just couldn’t figure out anything to sing to that made sense and finally that clicked and it worked but it took me a while to do that. I haven’t done a lot of collaborations in the past with this kind of music, I had to get used to that idea but I think this song turned out really well. I’m making it the single off the record, I think it’s probably the most commercially viable record off the album outside of Sleeping Lord. But that took me a while to get it to that point.
So switching gears really quickly, what’s your current obsession?
Current obsession. What am I obsessed with? Well aside from buying records, I’m obsessed with buying vintage skateboard clothes. Like old Peralta t-shirts, I bought some new Vision Street Wear shoes from like ’96. I’ve been obsessing over that and vintage BMX bikes. Other than that I don’t really watch TV. I’ll watch the Walking Dead but that’s pretty much it.
My brother got me into the Walking Dead which is funny cause he typically prefers to watch youtubers doing video game walkthroughs.
Oh yeah I’ll watch those too. Ben Wash up here plays video games and he got the new Mortal Kombat and I played a little bit of it. I suck at it, he beats my ass every single time we play. But I watched all the death moves, fatality finishing moves on the internet cause I know I’ll never actually see all of them.
It sounds like all of you at King’s Head are a tight-knit group.
We are to some degree. We try to keep it together, all three of us share the same studio so that can get annoying at time but we work it out you know? Like brothers.
Any final words before we go?
Yeah just that the record’s coming out May 5th and then in one month I’m putting out an EP in between the records. The EP is all instrumental track and its largely composed of older stuff and it’s not really a prelude to the idea of the two records being connected but its kinda just some more songs in between. They actually do kinda work on this record more so than the next record.
Ah, so its not necessarily in the narrative of the two albums.
Cool, so thank you so much for sitting down with us today.
No problem, thank you.
Culture Prophet’s album Lies & Deceit is out now via King’s Head Records. Be sure to grab a copy here