Artist Feature: Lightning Cult

Planetary Group took some time to get to know Mike Marchant from Lightning Cult…


Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?

Mike: Our debut album, The Whole Pulse, is out now. With this record, I decided to push myself to go bigger and deeper than I had with our previous records, which were EPs. I wanted to make something challenging and conceptual, that is similar in spirit to the art rock and psych rock records that I grew up listening to.

PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.

Mike: I started picking up instruments that were around the house in my early teenage years, and I got really into playing guitar. So I thought that that’s what my role as a musician was: a guitarist. 

I played in bands with other people, playing other people’s material, but was not satisfied with that. So in my twenties, I started writing my own songs and learning about production and recording. And I continued playing in bands and performing a lot and enjoyed that, but have decided with this new project to keep things in the studio for now, and really focus on writing and producing. I want to see what I can do when all of my energy is directed that way.

PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. Pick one album for each category below & tell us a bit about it!

  1. An album you grew up listening to:

Mike: Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. I probably listened to that 5,000 times in my middle school and high school years. I just loved it so much. I still do, though I don’t have it on repeat the way that I did when I was younger.

  1. An album that inspires you as an artist (I’m sure there are many, but pick one of your choosing):

Mike: Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys. I bet that’s a common answer to this question, and it should be. I think those are some of the most beautiful songs anyone has ever written and they’re deep and complex and vulnerable, but they’re always beautiful. The melodies and harmonies are just kind of undeniable.

I connected with that record when I was 10 or 11 years old, and have never stopped listening to it. It’s probably one of the reasons why I started trying to write songs in the first place; it was to try to do that. 

  1. The album you currently have on repeat:

Mike: 10 000 Hz Legend by the French band Air. That is their difficult, experimental, big budget second album. Not everyone likes it… I think it is remarkable. And I’ve been kind of obsessed with it for a long time, but recently I’ve been spending a lot of time with headphones on listening to Air, and it’s wonderful.

PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?

Mike: My favorite records are ones that sort of feel like self-contained worlds that I can just explore any time I want to. It’s very much about escaping from here and going somewhere else. That’s always been one of the things that I look for in music. 

So with this album, we put a lot of thought and effort into building a compelling atmosphere that would reward the listener. The goal is to provide some sort of escape from reality – let people go explore something for a little while and detach, then come back when it’s over.

What’s next up for you?

Mike: Up next for me is just more writing and recording. I’m in the early phases of making something… I don’t know what it is yet, and I’m not thinking about what it is yet. And that’s, to me, the most exciting phase of the creative process – when I’m just letting things sort of appear and come to be, but I’m not wondering about whether it’s good or not. Or where it’s gonna go. Or what it’s gonna be. It’s just playing. I’m in the playing phase. So we’ll see what it turns into.

Thanks to Mike for speaking with us! Check out the music video for “On Again” below.