Macaualy Hopwood and Roberta Fidora... aka Curxes. Hailing from Brighton, UK and one of the most exciting acts new to the scene in 2012. They're number one on our weekly top 20 with the fantastic single, 'Haunted Gold,' and now Curxes have been generous enough to take the time to sit down (via the internet) with the lovely Jo Michelmore for a chat and most likely some sort of tea-like beverage. Jo would definitely have been drinking tea.
Interviewed by Jo Michelmore
Jo: For our readers that are not familiar with you, can you give us a quick introduction and explanation of who you are and why you are who you are?
Macaulay: We're an electro-industrial boy/girl duo who like making noises with synthesisers, guitars and whatever percussive instruments and items we can get our hands on. We're relatively introverted souls who like expressing ourselves publicly in a way that doesn't make us self-conscious. For example, public speaking is always a tough one. I guess we make music in this style because it’s the culmination of what we grew up on juxtaposed with our musical diets now.
Roberta: One teaspoon of Two Ronnies if you gave them synthesizers, a pinch of bottom, a dash of lemon...
Jo: You get a lot of comparisons to musicians from other decades; Siouxsie Sioux, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys to name a few. While they’re all incredible artists, which artists from this century would you be honoured to be compared to?
Roberta: It's fantastic for people to have a reference point with bands from earlier decades, because it enables them to relate a style or sound to their own personal experiences and feel that same affinity with your music. It's lovely to think that we've balanced that element with something more contemporary too.
Macaulay: I wouldn't sniff at being compared to Sleigh Bells or Trent Reznor's recent output. It’s strange, but there are lots of artists who influence us more than the usual comparisons and yet we sound nothing like them. We like the Depeche and Siouxsie comparisons, but we’re going to be careful about how much we let these show, especially as there seem to be many acts who effectively just copy their influences. We’re eager to get the balance right of pushing things forward yet retaining some influential nods.
Jo: Is writing relatively easy for you or is the creative process a difficult one? How does it work as a two piece? Who does what?
Macaulay: We both come up with chord progressions and melodies then do a 'show and tell' over a pot of tea. Generally we both do a bit of everything, though there are elements that one of us will do more than the other. For example Roberta writes all the lyrics and, as she's the one who sings them, this feels right and the way it should be. I love production and more recently have taken on the role of programming the songs before we go into the studio and bastardise them with lots of fun noises. It's also a personal mission to see how many obscure instruments and interesting characteristics we can get into a song; the most recent is a combination of a traditional Greek bouzouki and an eerie Microsoft computer voice. To my knowledge that’s not a common combination…
Roberta: I would say writing is fairly easy, but our foes are weeknights and distance. Those old chestnuts. We always put a great amount of care into the sounds which represent the lyrical content or sonics, though I would say that our contrasting writing styles are quite complimentary to one another.
Jo: Tell us about your favourite and least favourite day(s) in Curxes. What would be your dream day for Curxes?
Macaulay: My favourite day so far was listening back to Haunted Gold for the first time. Least favourite day is probably when you've fought tooth and nail to play a live show, only for it to be overshadowed by technical difficulties. My dream day for Curxes would be the day we release our best-it-can-possibly-be debut album, on a label we love, with some pretty hefty tour dates on the horizon. It's a way off yet, but we’re going to get there however long it takes.
Roberta: Don't think we've ever had a day of being in Curxes that we haven't enjoyed, but at specific times, I may have uttered the words "I hate the whistles", "This case is really heavy" or "I'm not too sure about that bouzouki". Mac will confirm. I was right about one of those. Favourite days? The first has got to be completing the animation after eight weeks then posting it up with the song ['Haunted Gold']. It sounds a little odd, but it felt like Christmas. Secondly, getting the vinyl delivered was extremely exciting and something we're both very proud of. Plus the support of places like Pie & Vinyl (Southsea), Rounder (Brighton) and Resident (Brighton) was, and is still, incredible.
Jo: What should one expect if one is to attend a show by Curxes?
Macaulay: Some rather nifty home-made animations, screeching guitars and a little person with a big voice.
Roberta: Haha! Well I'll be childish then and say projections, erections (of synthesizer stands), industrial interjections and warm affections.
Jo: If you could play any venue in the entire world, where would you play?
Macaulay: Madison Square Garden. Haven't been to New York yet and that one's pretty famous innit.
Roberta: It may not be the most exciting or ambitious choice, but I've always wanted to play the Melkweg in Amsterdam, having walked past the building so many times as a tourist. It's such a vibrant, friendly and beautiful place, red glow or no red glow. There's an excellent fetish clothing shop there too. Obviously, I was reliably informed of this, I wasn't in there looking for an exact replica of the PVC dress in the video for "Domino Dancing" by Pet Shop Boys. At all. La Flèche d'Or appeals too, as I've never actually been to Paris.
Jo: You released a 7” vinyl of ‘Haunted Gold’ for Record Store Day 2012, what are your favourite 7" singles in your own collection/s and what do you wish you had?
Macaulay: Eeesh I've got some rubbish records I collected as an impressionable 13-year old, but my most prized records are my Mew discography, I’ve got pretty much all of them except one or extreme rarities. I would love a first edition pressing of "Please Please Me" by The Beatles too thankyouplease.
Roberta: Everyone's got a few horrors in the collection (said with "Agadoo" in close proximity). The 7" singles that hold the most meaning though would prolly be my copy of Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" which was a Christmas gift from Mac, a 65dos limited edition release of "Radio Protector" with a Polaroid attached to the front and a re-release of "Warm Leatherette" by The Normal that I bought at Mute Short Circuit (number 499/500) only to accidentally bend the corner of it when I got it home. Gutting. The test pressing for "Haunted Gold" has sentimental value too, being our first release on vinyl and because I saved up my wages to have them made. Subsequently, Mac has bailed me out for the recording of the next single...
Jo: Congratulations! You’ve just won a seat in the world’s first time machine. You get to travel backward in time and you must take five songs with you to show previous generations what they have to look forward to. Which time do you go to and what songs do you take?
Roberta: The Victorians should prepare themselves for "God Only Knows" by Beach Boys and "Do You Remember The First Time?" by Pulp, because they remind me of a character from another era as it is; Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" because it still sounds so astonishingly brilliant and has influenced most of our favourite artists; "Surf Solar" by Fuck Buttons for sheer intensity; then prolly a joke song, which I'd tell them is a massive hit from the future just because I'd be interested to see their reaction. Maybe we'd all end up like the dinosaurs or something. It could all go horribly wrong. Oh, wait...
Macaulay: I’d probably head back to the 1910s when it didn't seem like a great deal of fun being young. Too many etiquette lessons and soldiering... They'd need a medicinal rock'n'roll injection to lighten the mood. I'd take the teenagers records by Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and maybe something electronic like Kraftwerk just to show them how different popular music is going to become. And maybe a bit of grindcore just for a laugh.
1. The Beatles - She Loves You 2. Kraftwerk - The Model 3. Elvis - Jailhouse Rock 4. The Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen 5. Anal C*nt - anything as they all sound the same
Jo: If I was the artist and you were the blogger, what would you ask me?
Macaulay: "Can I share your rider please? That fruit platter looks nice."
Roberta: What records did you buy on Saturday?
Jo: Finish this sentence. The future of Curxes involves...
Macaulay: ...playing big stages with big theatrics, big noises and big songs. In the near future, listening to the playback of our next single and getting all excited about playing it to people.
Roberta: Going back in time to play Kraftwerk to Victorians, loading up on threads from the 1940s or synthesizers from the golden ages of electronic music, then possibly working on the next single (in 2012). The immediate future though involves making a cup of tea and eating out of date Easter eggs, with a hint of programming. In other words, pure glamour and excitement, haha.
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