Meet Climax Landers: The Basement Band That Has Gained a 'Cult Following'

Courtesy of Climax Landers
Climax Landers

Will Moloney’s new band is called Climax Landers, a name he describes as “really evocative and somewhat poetic.” The same description could be applied to much of his artistic output over the past fifteen years, recording mainly as Old Table. Moloney has a gift for writing songs that are simultaneously anthemic and poignant, orchestral and slack, though he shies away from the word sincere. “I think as soon as you start thinking of yourself as sincere,” he says, “you become something else.”

Climax Landers is also the title of a Japanese role-playing video game from the late Nineties. It featured an assemblage of popular characters that appeared in previous games released by the same company. This fact presents interesting corollaries for Moloney’s current roster, which is made up of Paco Cathcart (guitar), Charlie Dore-Young (bass), and Ani Ivry-Block (drums), all of whom are in myriad other bands, and all of whom have long been fans of Old Table. The new band thus presents both a literal and a metaphorical circle of influence, with Moloney at the center, one that feels not unlike an ardently snarled story in an Old Table song.

“There’s a lot of nice coincidences and serendipities that come from just thinking about that,” Moloney says about the relationship between the band’s name and its genesis. “Climax Landers was on the Dreamcast gaming system, and the group is kind of like a dream cast of sorts. It’s a super-group in a way because all the members are real artists in their own right.”

Moloney is thrilled at the attention the new record has garnered, especially after toiling so long in a sort of charmed and beloved obscurity. But he eschews the “cult following” label that has occasionally been ascribed to his prodigious output and dedicated fans.

“To me, a cult following is, like, a big thing. Like, Troma movies have a cult following, and there’s a whole industry around them,” he says. “I don’t feel like there’s really an industry around me. I just feel like I’m part of a community.”

This community feels like a supportive one, again, literally and metaphorically. A Climax Landers show in Bushwick last week felt like an impromptu basement party when everyone is home from college for Thanksgiving, and a bunch of people you never personally knew, but always liked, show up. Moloney climaxed the performance by spontaneously jumping off the stage and into the sparse crowd. Everyone clustered together to catch him.