Alternative,Bass,Drums,Lyricist,Music,North Carolina,Piano,Rock,Songwriter,U.S.,Vocals

Blog interview: Thirsty Curses

Congratulations on the release of “To The Ends of The Earth” how does it feel?

Thanks! It feels great to be finished with it for sure. We started tracking drums in April 2021.  We were mostly finished with recording by September, but we made a couple last minute revisions/additions in December.   It was definitely the longest I’ve ever taken to record an album.  But I think it’s the best one we’ve done yet and we’re excited to release it.

What was the easiest and most challenging part of recording it?

We recorded most of the album at our home studio in Raleigh, but we also spent a day at Bias Studios in Springfield, VA at the end of a tour run in August, where we tracked three songs and did some piano overdubs.  That was probably the easiest part of the recording because the studio engineer, Mark Reiter, took the engineering reins for the day.  He did a great job, had some helpful suggestions, and was super easy to work with.  The most difficult part was just keeping the project moving over the course of eight months or whatever.

Describe your sound in three words.

schizophrenic 90s mixtape

You’re a band from Raleigh North Carolina how did it start for you?

The bass player Clayton and I actually grew up together in Richmond, Virginia, and we’ve played in many bands together over the years.  I moved to Raleigh in 2015 after having bounced around for a while for the previous ten years or so (Flagstaff, Austin, Moscow, D.C., Flagstaff again, New Hampshire).  When I moved to Raleigh I had a backlog of songs that I wanted to perform and record with a band.  I basically started going to open mics around town to meet local musicians.  It took a while to get a lineup together but by early 2017 we had something brewing.  Clayton moved down in 2018 and took over the bass guitar duties shortly thereafter.

What did you all listen to starting out?

When we were growing up we listened to a lot of 90s rock and punk.  Bands like.. Nirvana, Blind Melon, Weezer, Beck, Sublime, Sonic Youth, Crass, Operation Ivy, The Clash, Dead Kennedys etc. were big for us.   But certainly bands like The Beatles and others from that era were also prominent.  When Thirsty Curses formed circa 2017 I was personally listening to bands/artists like Deer Tick, Jeff Rosenstock, Courtney Barnett, Hop Along, Kurt Vile, Lady Lamb, A Giant Dog, The Growlers, Parquet Courts, etc…

What were the early writing sessions like?

Generally speaking, I do most of the songwriting by myself, or at least write the bones of the songs and then the band will help fill them out.  Sometimes the songs come quick; sometimes they take literally years to finish.  As far as this new album is concerned, I think “Jenny”, “Your Next Move”,  “What The Hell?”, “Tell Me The Truth”, and “Vera” were all pretty much each written in a couple hours, for example, and were generally brought about by some event in my life.  On the other hand, I wrote the music to “Nothing Really Matters” in 2019, but the lyrics went through several re-writes.  Similarly, the music for “Whistlepig” had been floating around for a couple years, but the lyrics didn’t really materialize until 2020.  “A Baptist and a Rabbi” was a song I started writing around 2008.  I had completely forgotten about it but during the pandemic found an old demo of it on an old hard drive and went about finishing it.

This is your fourth album, what have you learned since the first?

Man – I was kind of thinking about this the other day.  I’ve learned a lot in many areas.   I think I have become a much better musician and songwriter over the last few years, but I’ve also learned a great deal about the music industry, for better or worse.  I’ve also gotten a lot better at sound/record engineering, etc..  I’ve gotten to visit a lot of cities I’d never been to previously; met a lot of cool people.  On the other hand, I’ve had some rough moments too, but those are maybe even more instructive, ultimately.  I think being in Thirsty Curses has helped me grow and change in many ways and I’m grateful for that.

Do you have any funny stories from the recording sessions for this album?

We had played a show in DC the night before we spent a day at Bias Studios in Northern Virginia.  We didn’t have anywhere to stay that night and didn’t want to spend money on a hotel, so we ended up sleeping in front of the studio.  We had  played the show the night before in matching coveralls.  So when Mark (studio engineer) showed up in the morning, we looked like an encamped army of laid off mechanics.  I was also drinking an Arizona Ice Tea which Mark (sound engineer) told me later he had initially thought was beer.  It turned out to be a very productive day, but he was pretty skeptical that we were going to get much done when he first saw us in the morning.

Your videos are stunning visually especially “Nothing Really Matters” how did you come up with the concept for it?

Clayton has directed most of our music videos including the one for “Nothing Really Matters”.  Let me ask him…. Clay!……. Clay!

Clayton:  What???!

How’d you come up with the concept for the “Nothing Really Matters” video.

Clayton: I listened to the song and thought it would be cool if there were a bunch of cars racing, but knew we couldn’t afford real cars.

Great song too, what’s the story behind it?

I guess it’s commentary on how self-absorbed, nihilistic, and cynical American society has become, myself included.

COVID has impacted the creative industry, what kept you all motivated?

It’s been tough for sure.  I’d be lying if I said there weren’t months during the past two years when I didn’t sink into despair.  But these things come in waves I suppose.  I know I was feeling pretty hopeless in the summer of 2020 and was having a hard time staying motivated in pursuit of creative endeavors.  But when we did the music video shoot for “Bruises On Your Shoulders” in July 2020 it helped snap me out of it.  I also remember getting a bounce in my step when the vaccine was announced in late 2020, as I was very eager to get back to performing.  But as we know now, 2021 wasn’t all smooth sailing either.  At one point last year we had 3 out of 4 shows get cancelled due to COVID within a couple of weeks.  I remember at that point feeling incredibly frustrated and we kind of backed off booking as much around then.  But like with anything, I guess you just gotta roll with the punches as best you can.

The last couple of years have been a time to reflect what did you learn about yourselves?

I took a personality test for the first time and it said that I am an ENTP Personality Type, which, as best I can tell, means I’m an asshole.   

What are you listening to at the moment?

Recently I got turned on to a band called Vulpeck.  Also been digging this guy JW Fancis.  That new Get Backdocumentary led me to revisiting some of the Beatles and their respective solo work.  There’s also this chick band out of Spain called Hinds that’s pretty rad.

Coming from Raleigh NC are there any local bands you’d recommend?

Charlie Paso. There’s a new band called Black Bouquet that’s pretty cool.  A band called Pretty Crimes. There was also a band out of Chapel Hill called Cosmic Punk that I liked a lot but sadly they’re no longer active.  Arson Daily as well.

What are you looking forward to doing next?

I’m hopeful that in 2022 we’ll see things get more back to normal, particularly when it comes to live music.  We were able to play some local shows and do a fair amount of touring some year, which was nice after not playing any shows for most of 2020.  But things were still fairly limited/restricted.  We’re just looking forward to getting back out there and playing more shows, connecting with new and old friends and fans, etc.

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