Inside Cults

by Alexander Klein


Eric Chakeen is the 23-year-old photographer behind Cults’ debut album cover depicting singer Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion in the throes of some serious hair tossing. A longtime friend of the band, Chakeen shares some of his favorite off-the-cuff snapshots of the duo—and the memories behind them.


”I think this was taken on 2nd Ave in the East Village. At the time I was sleeping on Maddie and Brian’s couch. We all woke up and went for coffee before they went to record. I like that I caught them looking caffeine-deprived.”


“We shot this at Kostabi world, which is Mark Kostabi’s studio, [while] shooting their press photos and album cover. There are so many art books and gigantic paintings, like ten feet high, but it’s also where they shoot his public access TV show. It’s like out of the eighties New York art world.”


”This one’s weirdly out of focus but photographically I like it. It’s how we spent every day in their apartment, talking shit and smoking cigarettes. Brian kept that couch from our old apartment even though I was convinced it gave me ringworm.”


”I shot this on the same day I shot the Cults album cover at Kostabi world. We were going for a Robert Longo-esque shot, trying to capture that kind of motion in the photos.”


“Brian can play everything—bass, drums, guitar, piano. He recorded almost everything on “Go Outside” before they re-recorded it in the studio. Brian was just playing piano to pass the time while I was shooting photos of Maddie. We were listening to Kid ‘n Play when I took this photo. “


”This is Brian and Maddie making some sort of pact with Chris Chu of The Morning Benders, after playing their show together at Webster Hall. Afterwards we went to Cabin with 25 people and I ended up getting drunk and taking way too many photos of the ground, the backs of cabs, and girls who were not interested in me.”


” Brian and Maddie and my ex-girlfriend used to hang out all the time. In this shot we were just sitting on a stoop, debating where to hang out.”


”This is at the projects on 5th street between 1st and A. I think we were walking to Benny’s to get a margarita.”