Next week Swedish perception-expanding post-metallers Cult of Luna and singular, legendary Made Out of Babies/Battle of Mice vocalist Julie Christmas will at long last perform their extraordinary 2016 collaborative effort Mariner in North America for “the first and last time.”
To mark the limited live run, Decibel reached out to Cult of Luna guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson and Christmas to ask them each to pick a song from the other’s back catalog that initially gave them faith that a collaboration would bear fruit and then a track from Mariner on which the other blew their minds.
“I have been a fan of Julie for a long time,” Persson says. “Her work in Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice is impressive but it was her solo album that made me fall in love with her voice. It’s not only her range that gets to me, from the softest whisper to the raging Brooklyn monster tornado, but also the way that she uses her voice. She’s not delivering the melodies, her voice is a vessel to communicate a story.
“If I have to pick one song from The Bad Wife album it must be ‘Bow’ because the song shows her full arsenal of vocal weapons of mass destruction.”
For her part, Christmas selects “The Weapon” from Vertikal.
“When I knew we were going to work together I revisited this record,” she says. “Cult of Luna can lay out amazing soundscapes. Their ability to transform the space around a listener into a new place is powerful. This song has no ‘fat’—all of the parts work. But what I am really drawn to here is the male accent vocals. They are quirky, weird, almost classical in nature. And they would never be put there by a band that was trying to follow a formula. Cult of Luna mean what they say, and it’s hard to come by.”
And as for Mariner?
“I still get goose bumps listening and playing the end of ‘Chevron,'” Persson says. “I don’t know what it is but it just resonates with me. It’s like a lullaby for the end of the world.”
Christmas picks “Cygnus.”
“When you get a Cult of Luna track to work with, it can be daunting,” she says. “Around minute thirteen, the length of the track alone can be intimidating. What will you do with it? How will all of the parts work? At 2:45 I stopped thinking thoughts and my hand just started to write lines on the paper. I went over them to make sure they fit, to make sure I had properly translated into words what the music was saying. I’m not sure if I did a good job. When I can hear what I’m going to do in a way that is purely based on instinct, rather than meter or in response to the band, then I have the right project. It is a wild feeling and I’m lucky to be able to do it and to have people around who can so easily bring it out of me.”
Mariner tour dates below.
Aug 20 – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas (w/ Mastodon, Swans, Code Orange)
Aug 21 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies (w/ Whores., Dalek)
Aug 22 – Toronto, ON @ Mod Club (w/ Whores., Dalek)
Aug 23 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre (w/ Whores., Dalek)
Aug 24 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium (w/ Whores., Dalek)
Aug 25 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre (w/ Whores., Dalek)