Premiere: PJ Sykes Releases Cover Version Of “Cult Status”
A different kind of song premiere for everyone today. On Halloween, industrious punk musician PJ Sykes will release a re-imagined version of the “classic” song “Cult Status” by The Passionate & Objective Jokerfan, but today, you can stream this cover version exclusively on The Auricular.
The original “Cult Status” is a 2014 single by The Passionate & Objective Jokerfan, a project of Matt Farley who heads up Motern Media. PJ first became aware of Farley after tweeting about the song “Chase Utley (World F’n’ Champs)” to which Farley responded (or trolled) with the song “PJ Sykes Make Music.” After accepting a challenge for a cover episode of Farley’s podcast, Sykes reinvented the song in a new format with some added lyrics, a process Sykes seemed to really jump into.
“[The] first step [was] to figure what makes the song interesting to you,” Sykes detailed. “Clearly, this song is all about the lyrics, but I also love how Matt’s bouncy piano accents the words. I wanted to make the song my own, so after I figured out the original, I made my own arrangement and added some lyrics.”
A single release like this is no leap for a musician or person like PJ Sykes, who has been following the beat of his own drum for years now. In town, he’s known as a prolific photographer, budding artist, hard-working activist, label head for Cherub Records, and the frontman of Hoax Hunters, a punk band currently on hiatus after the July release of their EP Dormant.
“Cult Status” marks Sykes’ first release since that hiatus was announced, and is notably released under his own name, something he plans to do more of in the future even if there’s nothing scheduled at the moment. “I’ve got some project ideas and songs laying around,” he remarked. “I wanted establish my name on digital streaming platforms with this single. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
Establishing his name with this cover may be peculiar, but not for Sykes who stated his admiration of novelty goes much more beyond “ironic” interest. “While I love novelty music, I think the term ironically can set people’s expectations that these songs are of lesser quality,” he explained. “Artists who are creating work that is free from following trends are often way more interesting to me. Not only has Matt Farley written over 19,000 songs, he’s hidden a long running narrative within some of the different projects. Matt creates original, unusual, non-traditional work. Just listen to The Unauthorized Story of Roy.”
When asked if there is any other type of “novelty” material he’d like to cover in the future, Sykes offered up a local musician as a source. “I genuinely love Meade Skelton’s music and would love to do a take on ‘Hipsters Ruin Everything‘ or the classic ‘Sweat Tea,'” he revealed. “Maybe next Halloween?”
Fingers crossed for that, but until then, enjoy “Cult Status” below and make sure to pick it up tomorrow when it becomes available on Bandcamp and other streaming services.