DOWNLOAD COUNTDOWN: Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics talk to Total MK...

Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics are heading to the Download Festival this Sunday (4.50pm), to wow on the Dog Tooth stage.

The band issued their debut album The Man With Stars On His Knees late last month: “A lot of thought went into making an album that made sense," says Aaron.

"For a few years, I was so confused, tense and lost that I had more ammunition than I had ever had before to write lyrics and melodies that took me through the realms of anger, upset, uprising and all manner of feelings that probably manifested under a blanket of pressure and time.”

After leaving Heaven’s Basement, Buchanan formed The Cult Classics with sibling Laurie Buchanan on guitar, Tom McCarthy (guitar), Chris Guyatt (bass), and Kev Hickman (drums). “I'm proud to fly the flag for something a little different," he says.

Aaron talked fest-fun with us…


Download Festival - what does it mean to you to be playing the spiritual home of heavy rock?

Download Festival is the soul festival I wanted to play growing up.
I never had the chance to go until the day I first played it as it was just too far away and expensive when I was a kid.
The hunger and my passion for that particular festival never dims, I've played many of the biggest festivals in the world from Soundwave in Australia to Kansas City Rock Fest in the US but there's still a different kind of love for Download.

Through my teen years it was heavily promoted on Kerrang! TV each year and religiously Laurie [Buchanan] and I would watch it with excitement for the likes of Killswitch, Coheed, Slipknot and such. It's a very special place, a comfortable home for little eccentrics like myself.

Give us your best - and worst - festival memories, whether as a punter or performer…

Best festival moment - I went up to main stage at Rock On The Range a few years back, the year prior I had been hanging out with Korn, Head loved the set and asked if we wanted to go watch them side of stage - of course we said yes.
I was just wanted to see a couple of minutes of the Greenday set before heading down to get dinner when a hand tapped my shoulder - low and behold, Head for some reason recognised me and wanted to we watched much of the set together.
I'm not much of a schmoozer in the industry, commonly known as "that guy that keeps himself to his-self", but I hold Korn in high regard and to be remembered after over a year after having only hung out once was a nice touch... i'm easily pleased eh?

Worst festival moment - I can't really remember any dire awful moments?

Down in Aus I did happen to walk in on a very famous guitarist who I actually thought was dead, turns out he was just black-out wasted... didn't ruin my day but it was sad to see a guy like that.
I tried to help him but he was very confused and fell out of our shared porta-cabin dressing room face first - it was fucked up, I like a beer but I can't remember being that incapacitated in recent years, I reported it to the bands crew; response?

"Ah he does this like every day" - I was more shocked the crew just let it happen over anything else.

Who are the bands that you most want to catch at Download?

Ah crikey, here we go. Well, I'm a big Biffy fan. Unfortunately, when you're playing a festival you don't really have a lot of time to see bands, even the headliners - from experience it's kinda better to keep your head down until you've completed your show, Download can seem very big and tiring, even more-so when it's raining so if you're playing it (at least doing the particularly taxing style of music The Cult Classics do) - it's best to try and keep comfortable and warm to allow you to slay your set.
If we were playing on the Friday it'd be a very different story but for all the years I have played at Download, i've always had a performance on the Sunday so the whole experience is very different! If I were to choose however, them and Coheed would be at the top of the list.

What can people expect from your set on the day?

Well, "The Man With Stars On His Knees" has just been released to an exceptional response, I didn't quite realise how anticipated the album was so it's all very exciting stuff. There will be a good amount of the album tracks and who knows, maybe i'll throw a Filthy Empire track or two in there just for the fun.

How to best survive the festival experience - what three items can't you go without? And why?
Beer and a toothbrush is all you need. I mean, a spare pair of socks is always handy but only to use as a stubby holder to prevent your beer from actually getting warm if a miracle happens and the sun decides to shine.

And post-festival season, what will Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics be up to?

The Cult Classics will be out on the road touring the UK and Europe - announcements to follow, linking back to "The Man With Stars On His Knees" reception, the phone has been off the hook - some very unique and interesting opportunities are on the horizon. It's a very exciting time.



For ticket information and the Download Festival latest visit 


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