Guitarist. Vocalist. Omnichordist!? This edition of Fistful of Questions goes out to Cultic’s Brian Magar.
What is your full name?
Brian Anthony Magar
Do you have any aliases?
No current aliases
If you had an alias what might it be?
What bands are you actively involved with?
Cultic and Layr.
What was the first instrument that you played?
Of all things, it was an omnichord. It’s essentially an electronic harp. I think my mom read an article, or she was told by someone that kids who played an instrument excelled in school. I remember when I was around 8 years old, I had to pick an instrument. I picked an Omnichord because I thought DEVO was cool as hell … still do. To this day I cannot hear one lick of Omnichord in any DEVO song. I think they just posed with it because the instrument looks weird. Long live DEVO!
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
Well, I learned how to play “Hey Jude” on the Omnichord by a guitar teacher who, at the time, was probably questioning his life choices. Then I swiftly transitioned to guitar after hearing the sweet licks on Pyromania.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
SEPTIC WASTE. I was 11 years old. A friend of mine and I were all in for thrash, speed and crossover. But we had no idea how to create it. So, we just made a bunch of noise and screamed. We were like a cross between ANAL CUNT, WHITEHOUSE and NEGATIVLAND fueled by ditch weed and stolen liquor. Our demo tape was named FIRST BLOOD — an obvious bite on RAMBO, but also a tongue-in-cheek dig at the fact that all the girls we knew were getting their first periods.
Tell me about the genesis of Cultic.
It started as a bit of a joke on Facebook. My wife and I wrote a handful of doom songs a few years before. Then we just stopped (life got in the way and I was playing in other bands).
One day, I posted something to the effect that after our son was older, we would start a band called DUNGEON WENCH. With no hesitancy, she was like, “Yeah. Fuck it, let’s do it now!” The Dungeon Wench moniker obviously didn’t stick. But we started playing again that week.
What inspired the name Cultic?
Rebecca came up with the name. She was raised in the weird and wicked world of evangelical Christianity. Apparently, they use the word a lot to describe those other pesky religions. We were surprised the name wasn’t already taken.
How long did it take you to write and record Of Fire and Sorcery?
Give or take, two years.
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
The band would have to be congruent with my playing style. I’m going to go with GODFLESH. They’re, hands down, one of my favorite bands. I feel confident that I could bring something cool to the table without fucking the band up.
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
No. Not really.
Do you have any non-metal musical inspirations?
Sure. Dungeon synth, punk, hardcore, industrial, dark ambient, power electronics and harsh noise are all in my wheelhouse. I also pull inspiration from visual art, design, and fantasy movies.
What’s a non-metal song that you'd like to do a cover of?
I think we would do a cool rendition of Black Wings by Tom Waits.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
Tough question. If I had to pick one, SPELLBOOK consistently play their asses off. Great band and they really work the audience. I envy bands that can do that. I am pretty cold on stage. I look through people.
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
All the local York, PA venues, past and present, are great. West York Inn is the place — good stage and sound and they put up touring bands for free in the INN. East coast touring bands, take heed!
One of my favorite venues is on temporary hiatus. It’s a place called SKID ROW GARAGE. Punk owned. Good vibes and a consistent built-in audience.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
What is your favorite thing about live shows?
Walking through our front door after the show and reveling in the absurdity of it all.
What is your least favorite thing about live shows?
Driving to and from, loading and unloading gear up three flights of stairs… When we play out of town gigs, the driving really gets to me.
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had at a live show?
I think it was like our third show. During load in, the venue was packed front to back. I’m thinking “Nice! Playing to a full house”. When we started playing almost everyone in the entire venue left. This was a free show at a metal bar so I’m like “Are we that bad? What in the hell is going on?”. Apparently, there was a freak snowstorm coming through and everyone high tailed it out of there before it started. An hour later and there was over a foot of snow on the ground. Rebecca used the house kit that night, so we were driving home in a car without 4-wheel drive. The highway was littered with crashes. Total whiteout conditions.
Cultic shows have been pretty tame. The other band I played in is a different story.
The year is 2000. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
In a shitty, low budget, smoke filled, roach infested apartment listening to Catasexual Urge Motivation’s “Encyclopedia of Serial Murders”.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
Define who you are and who you’re not and be consistent about it. That goes for everything. Music, art, logo, overall aesthetic. Bands that don’t do this are rarely taken seriously because they tend to go in too many directions.
Get involved in your local music scene and go the extra mile to help other bands. Even if it’s just telling your friends about a show or sharing something on social media. Small things go a long way. It does not detract from the awesome things you’re doing. Abandon all expectations and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Every Joe Schmoe is a critic now. Ignore them. Also, never entertain pay-to-play gigs or the promoters that put them on.
What is an absolute band killer?
Laziness, drama, and hard drugs.
Have you ever recorded a song that you really didn’t like, but somebody else in the band really did?
POTION on OF FIRE AND SORCERY is one of Rebecca’s favorite songs and one of my least favorites.
If you were to start your own music festival what would be the name of that festival and who would be the three headlining bands?
I’d call it Ooooooooogh - A Curated Cavalcade of Carnage. Triptycon, Master’s Hammer, and Malokarpatan would headline.
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
Probably a week.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
My parents put me in an outpatient drug rehab when I was 12 years old for smoking weed. Every day after school I’d report to a drug and alcohol clinic and talk to a counselor for hours on end. Every morning I’d smoke weed at a gas station with other kids in the program. I feel like this was peak 80’s metalhead teenager shit.
What’s it like being in a band with your significant other?
When I first met Rebecca, I never thought I’d end up playing in a serious band with her. Neither of us were playing music when we met. I had quit playing guitar for almost ten years. I could be wrong, But I don’t think Rebecca ever played a full kit. Cultic is something that we grew into as a couple. So yeah. It’s awesome.
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
Well of course. Only Fistful of Doom is real.
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
Unicorns don’t sleep.
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
DIO “Last in Line”. It’s an album I’ve listened to thousands of times. It wouldn’t be a challenging experience for me to listen on repeat.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
You’re in Big Fucking Trouble! High Tales of Strange Mischief.
What is your favorite song by Taylor Swift?
I couldn’t tell you. Not familiar with any of her music. She grew up in a neighboring town though.
Slipknot or Rammstein (if you had to choose)?
Rammstein. They’re legit wild people. I mean. C’mon. Their singer put out a music video that’s essentially a porno. Slipknot is music for children who hate their parents.
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
My Dad took me to see Metallica in 1986. He bought me a glow in the dark METAL UP YOUR ASS shirt. My Mom never let me out of the house with it and I quickly outgrew it. I still have it and it’s in MINT condition. The funny part is that I never got to see METALLICA because James Hetfield broke his arm while skateboarding a few days before. But I did catch a double Ozzy set and caught a glimpse of Cliff Burton.
The Command to Look
It’s a toss-up between Apocalypse Now and Desperate Living.
It’s tough to whittle that down. Overall, it would probably be a DIO album. Last in Line or Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules.
Favorite video game?
Well… I have to give a shameless plug here. Our son and I spent the last 4 years building a multiplayer fantasy game called VULGORD’s TOWER. So that is my favorite for obvious reasons. It’s available on the STEAM platform now. If anyone out there really wants a deep dive into the fantasy world of CULTIC, that’s a great starting point.
Favorite professional wrestler?
I never got into pro wrestling. But I like Porn…Chyna.
Massive thanks to Brian for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it. Of Fire and Sorcery is Cultic’s second album. The album is available now and it is one baaaaaad mother fucker. Expect to be cloaked in an atmosphere of deep, dark, malevolent wizardry.
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle James from the Fistful of DOOM show)