We are extremely siked to present our next exclusive interview with Curxes, an Isle of Wight, UK based electronic musician who recently released her latest visual "In Your Neighbourhood", directed by Rob Luckins. Curxes will soon be releasing the follow-up to her very DOPE last album "Verxes" on October 20th, so it is only right that we touch base with this talented creative to pick her brain about her creative process in making music, how the next album "Gilded Cage" differs from the last, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Curxes, be sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram, etc and check out her website below. If you have not seen the "In Your Neighbourhood" visual or heard Curxes's last album "Verxes", you now have your chance. Enjoy!
We really love your new song and visual "In Your Neighbourhood". Who produced the song and who directed the video?
Thank you, I’m glad you like it - it was a real group effort. The video was directed by Rob Luckins (www.welcometothedarkslide.co.uk), who has overseen virtually every video since ‘Further Still’ in 2013 and designed both the album artwork for ‘Verxes’ and ‘Gilded Cage’ based on loose visual concepts I put forward. There’s a real collaborative element to how we work and for ‘In Your Neighbourhood’, we shared puppeteer and animation duties as well as the planning aspects of the video. I tend to take on the smaller practical elements though, such as finding filming locations, making little instruments and, more often than not, rummaging around for props, whilst Rob concentrates fully on the cinematography, based on our shared appreciation of TV shows such as Fargo and The Americans. Where I actually write resembles a kind of prop storage closet with shelves and a cabinet full of rainbow junk, so for the production side of things, I swapped my cluttered room for the University of Brighton and enlisted the help of friends Deluxe Flamingos, comprising of Mike James, P.J.E. Davy and Matt Horn. We produced the album together and it’s wonderful to have a working dynamic where no musical angle or influence is ridiculous. Everyone has a uniquely valuable perspective from which to make suggestions about sounds/effects and that helped to shape, or in some cases cement, the overall project. Currently, Mike and Matt are on tour as half of punk band Horseflies and P.J.E. Davy is constructing some sort of sound art installation, so hopefully too, you can hear the DIY, lo-fi and the conceptual amongst weird songs about being sucked into space and disappearing forever.
Tell us about your upcoming album "Gilded Cage", for which "In Your Neighbourhood" is a part of. Would you say that "In Your Neighbourhood" is a representation of what we can expect from the album from a thematic standpoint?
Thematically, I’d say it’s representative but sonically, ‘Gilded Cage’ is a mixture of gloominess interjected with humour, vulnerability and intentional menace, which incidentally, would be my main ingredients for a Tinder profile, if I knew what Tinder was.
In terms of external factors, unwanted change, femininity, prejudice, displacement, loneliness, creative freedom, financial restriction and observing the ongoing battle of good versus evil in relation to nostalgia, all of those aspects play a significant role throughout the album. Other than that, it’s quite lighthearted.
How did you get your start as a musician and who are some artists who have provided inspiration to you?
I desperately wanted to play the saxophone when I was a child, having watched The Simpsons religiously, but rather embarrassingly I didn’t have the muscular physique of Tim Cappello to be able to lift it up, so I was advised to attend a recorder club, which was somewhat disheartening. Whilst there, I saw an advert for electronic organ lessons and was in a fortunate position to be able to go to a local music shop and learn with other kids. It’s frightening how much things are changing for children now in that respect, to the point where they may not be afforded such an amazing opportunity years from now. That kind of exclusivity shouldn’t exist. Everyone from my school teachers and music teachers to my college lecturers gave me a lot of encouragement and it wasn’t until much later that I was exposed to things like sexism and classism in the music industry.
Regardless, somewhere between then and now, I started listening to electronic music, soundtracks and post-punk. Anyone who has or had good videos was an influence, because it illustrated to me that those artists could present an idea in multiple ways and that it wasn’t just something that existed within the confines of three and a half minutes. Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode always had great videos when I was growing up and St. Vincent and Björk give a lot of consideration to their artistry through videography with breathtaking results. They conjure up new universes and invite the listener in, to experience and feel involved. It’s like a short holiday, you can just wander into these colourful parallel worlds and sit inside them until you work out how to build your own.
How would you say that "Gilded Cage" is different than your last album "Verxes"?
‘Gilded Cage’ is far more subtle in tone than ‘Verxes’, which sounds extremely confrontational to me now, but not in the way I’d like it to. I feel that there’s greater authority in ‘Gilded Cage’, even with a different approach to the vocals and it’s more nuanced in terms of the sounds used. Additionally, I had some financial help to get it mastered and pressed on vinyl from an independent arts fund called The Mike Howley Trust on the Isle of Wight where I live, so for that reason, even though ‘Verxes’ was the actual debut, this feels like the first proper, uninhibited release.
Thanks for that "Thank you" pic with the black cat for our feature on "In Your Neighbourhood"; we were honored that you took the time to put that together. That was very creative. Speaking of creativity, tell us about your creative process when it comes to songwriting and choosing production.
You’re very welcome and I love making things!
I tend to look at music like a photographer, even though the majority of the pictures I take are blurred. I find the notion of macrocosm and microcosm to be interesting in relation to creating strong imagery and feel that the same principles of magnification and reduction should be applied to sound. ‘Uniseum’, the song used in the album’s video trailer, is probably the best example. I wanted it to be recognisably influenced by horror soundtracks, by the likes of Popol Vuh or Italian soundtrack masters Goblin, to seem as if it was bellowing from a huge abandoned church somewhere in the distance but simultaneously creeping up behind you whilst you lay in bed. The eerie background sounds are very simple household objects, intensified and made unfamiliar whilst the complex sounds are brought up close so as to be intimate. Apart from that, I don’t really give much thought to how it might be received or whether it should be produced a certain way, it’s just satisfying to create something which can be unnerving and strangely triumphant at the same time.