If life is an extension of high school, then Madeline Follin, frontwoman for NYC-based band Cults, is the mysterious, pretty girl who smokes behind the bleachers, wears bright-red lipstick, and carries a marble-covered notebook filled with poetry. She’s effortlessly cool and can rock an A-line dress like nobody’s business. We had the opportunity to observe Madeline’s sweet sophistication in Los Angeles during her 10-month world tour (aka, her second home). She stole away from the soundcheck before a gig so we could take a peek into her suitcase and find out how she makes such haunting melodies. This photo set will make you wish this lovely homebody were your best friend!
Photos by David Black; Styled by Ashley Avignone
Can you tell us a little bit about what's coming up for Cults?
"A whole lot of touring. We are just finishing up our U.S. tour, heading over to Europe, and then heading back to do another full U.S. tour. Hopefully we'll be putting out some new songs that we’ve been working on while on the road."
Describe your perfect NYC summer night.
“My perfect NYC summer night would probably be locking myself in my apartment with the A/C on full-blast and catching up on the TV I missed out on while on tour.”
Who are your idols, both fashion- and music-wise?
“Kim Gordon is my number one. I’m also really into '60s fashion models like Jean Shrimpton and Sharon Tate.”
What’s the best thing you’ve purchased while on the road?
“Noise-canceling headphones. I’m stuck in a van with six loud guys for the majority of the day, so it's nice to be able to shut them out sometimes and have a little bit of time to myself. Also, I just bought a new suitcase in San Francisco that I’m really excited about. Really weird…I never thought that I would be excited about buying a suitcase.”
How do you achieve such perfect tresses?
“Honestly, I don’t do anything at all. I rarely brush it, I never cut it, and I use whatever shampoo and conditioner smells the best at Rite Aid. I definitely do not believe in the whole ‘trim your hair so that it will grow’ idea.”
Is there a piece you’ve worn during a photo shoot that you secretly hoped the stylist would let you keep?
“Yes! We did a shoot for T Magazine and I was wearing a Valentino dress with a Burberry vest. I was horrified that I was going to rip it or spill something on it.”
What does a collaboration session between you and Brian look like?
“It’s a pretty organic process. We try not to force anything because when we do, it never turns out well. Brian will usually start a song when we are in the van or sitting around at home bored. While he's working on it, I listen and get a ‘vibe’ from it, and come up with the melody and lyrics. We do about 90% of the song at home, and then take it into the studio to record the guitars and vocals.”
What are three pieces from your closet that you can’t stop wearing?
“I usually take six to eight dresses on tour that I am obsessed with, and end up only wearing three of them. By the end of the tour, I can’t stand looking at them. Right now, I have a vintage green dress that I’m borrowing from one of my aunts, a sleeveless white A-line dress from Topshop, and a yellow long-sleeved A-line dress that I ordered from ASOS.”
What albums do you most listen to when on the road?
“This tour, I’ve been listening to Those Darlins' Screws Get Loose, John Cale's Vintage Violence, Black Lips' Arabia Mountain, and Mickey & Sylvia's Love Is Strange."
How do you pack for tour? What do you bring along?
“I always start by accidentally putting everything I own in my suitcase, and then I take too much out. I go back and forth doing that for a while. I end up with about six to eight dresses, 3 things to wear in the van, toiletries, some makeup, dry shampoo, books, and my computer. I always remember to forget a jacket.”