Cult Classic Beats
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Cult Classic Beats

Fearrington Village, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Fearrington Village, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Electronic Rock




"Cult Classic's 'Your Love' Music Video Will Let You Relive Your 90s Video Game Glory"

The fresh Cult Classic team that is Leah Latella and Ryan Cavanaugh makes music videos as creative as their distinct electronic sound.

The combination of striking vocals, virtuosic banjo and the boundary-less palm-sized synthesizer, kaossilator, paired with undeniably catchy songwriting has them on the map as one of the most interesting acts to follow in 2014. Slap that on top of a Mario Bros. throwback music video that sees a video game version of Latella on a mission to rescue her man and this duo is doing everything their own way - one engaging to both hear and watch.

Cavanaugh, whose background is steeped in progressive jazz with musicians like Bill Evans, brings his invaluable command of the banjo to the tunes while Latella makes singing like a songbird sound easy. The two, who call their first meeting at a Monday night bluegrass jam in New York City "love at first sight" meld in a way that the best couples do - complementing each other's strengths and amplifying them further. Also as the best couples do, they accept each other's quirky sides - including their mutual Mario Bros. obsession. "The music is as big a part of the game as playing it," Cavanaugh says.

The video, made by game developers Mike Mika and Kevin M. James, is an actual game that Cavanaugh hopes to make available for download. "Leah found Mike on Twitter and asked if he'd do another role reversal (he had already done Donkey Kong) as a music video," Cavanaugh explains. "He loved the idea, got his animator friend (James) on board and it was a go."

This couple's fearless attitude toward music making is matched only by their imaginative ideas to bring it further through stunts like their charming "Your Love" video. ...One that will have you dusting off the Nintendo and turning the sound down because Cult Classic tunes and Mario have been proven to go together like peanut butter and jelly...or maybe more like Mario and Luigi. - Huffington Post

""One of the best technical players ever.""

“[Ryan Cavanaugh] One of the best technical players ever.” – Bela Fleck, Elmore Magazine, 2011 - Elmore Magazine

"No Depression"

“the most versatile banjo player in the world whose name isn’t Fleck…He can play anything, and he’s proven he’s crafty enough to impress John-Oh-My-God-McLaughlin.” - No Depression

"All About Jazz Magazine"

“Cavanaugh’s bluegrass credibility is undeniable but, while he’ll humbly tell you that he’s still got so much to learn, he’s already a remarkable jazz player.” - All About Jazz Magazine, 2010 - All About Jazz Magazine


Cult Classic Beats EP - 2014:
1. Ok
2. Two Way St.
3. Your Love
4. No One Else
5. Free World


Feeling a bit camera shy


“The combination of striking vocals, virtuosic banjo...paired with undeniably catchy songwriting has them on the map as one of the most interesting acts to follow in 2014.” - Huffington Post, 2014

Ryan Cavanaugh’s outspoken views of how and what is played on the 5-string banjo is occupied by few banjo players and musicians alike. Having honed his uber-untraditional chops under the wings of jazz legends Bill Evans and John McLaughlin, Cavanaugh takes his swamp-meets-Hendrix-meets-otherworldly concept to Leah Latella’s everything-inspired vocal layering.

The pair achieve a cohesive sound with the help of Latella’s fire in touch screen synthesizers, guitar stomp boxes, and forward focused vocal harmony stacking.  Much of the pair’s musical concept is inspired by a mutual love of musical past, present, and future possibilities; focusing on classic aspects, including technology, rock music, and American roots music.

Leah Latella and her concept of self-vocal layering is an ever-evolving process enhanced by loopers and guitar effects.  Leah started singing at 5 years of age and it all began with her soulful vocal chorales at southern churches, leading to her tenure with the award-winning Loreleis a cappella ensemble, to her current residency in New York’s progressive folk scene where she founded folk-pop band, PartyFolk.

Cult Classic’s musical mission statement focuses around just that.  As Cavanaugh explains: “The banjo itself is a ‘cult classic,’ as well as the human voice… rock n’ roll and American blues and jazz music are ‘cult classics’ on a worldwide basis; also we are using an early interactive synthesizer that happens to be a ‘cult classic’ in the electronic music world!  Electronic music has also become a ‘cult classic’ these days, so our musical concept is very inspired.”

At first listen their music is a culmination of a futuristic Joan Jett meets a robot Jimi Hendrix, however Cult Classic’s repertoire goes much deeper into beat-world with the ever funky “Free World” and “Two Way Street,” where the pair’s American music roots shine through in an ever so slight twist of the ear.  In a live setting, one may hear Cult Classic’s ever so versatile ability to integrate a live bass player or drum-kit in to their mix.

Band Members