By Matthew Murphy
Having traveled through the tumultuous landscape that is the present day music industry, the members of Toronto’s Curses have overcome their trials and now see a new light at the end of the tunnel. I recently had a chance to talk to Martin Broda (lead singer/guitarist) about their upcoming release, The Bridge and what it is like to be back on stage.
How would you classify Curses? Curses can be classified as an indie-rock/pop band. When we initially wanted to start, we didn’t have a direction, we just wrote whatever came to us. What came to us is this genre but at the same time I can’t quite pinpoint what we actually sound like. All I know is when we get together in a room we have no parameters; if we like it we like it, we just go from there. Every song on the new EP (The Bridge) sounds different to the next and it’s cool. I love when bands don’t have every song sounding the same.
It’s great that you go into it with no specific agenda. There are a lot of bands that start projects who have had a taste of the industry and think “this” is what it takes to make it, so we have to stick to a certain formula. Yeah I think that is what initially sparked the idea. I came from Abandon All Ships (Toronto hardcore/electro). We were part of this hardcore scene where I wouldn’t say it was pre-programed but there was definitely a guideline that all of those bands follow and it kinda loses the meaning of music and art. I loved what I did…but I am trying to get back to playing real songs. Me being a frontman now is totally different.
In your bio it says that you are comprised of a who’s who of Toronto musicians, obviously your previous project was Abandon All Ships, what were the other members up to before Curses? Our drummer, Mike Farina was in Cities Between Us (T.O.) and Farewell to Freeway (Guelph). Our guitarist, Daniel Ennis plays in Days Like Today (T.O.). Our bassist, Mike Ferreira was in a band called The Royals, which use to be called We Were the Wild Things.
How was the transition from a hardcore band to Curses. Did fans follow you from that scene to this one? It was definitely odd because Abandon All Ships had a lot of hate that came along with it but there was also a lot of love. I was expecting that with this new project; I had my guard up. Everything I have heard from everybody has been super supportive and positive. It’s really weird.
Where and when did you record and write The Bridge? We wrote “Until My Heart Stops” first and then demoed in my basement. I had never recorded before, or sat in the engineers chair but I just took the reigns. We started with that track and then did “Back To Your Love”. We took those two tracks into the studio maybe late spring, early summer to Lost Productions based out of downtown Toronto. I loved what they did there, so we went back with the next three tracks. The process has been super easy. We just get into the room, maybe have a couple drinks; everything just flows. Everyone has the proper criticism. Our producer, Anton DeLost, knows how to bring the songs to the next level.
It’s few and far between that a band puts out a first effort and you realize all the pieces are there. The song writing, the hooks and the production. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of an over produced product. Even coming from Abandon, everything in that genre is sorta overproduced. Going back to raw sounding drums and everything was so refreshing. It’s giving me this fire with music again that I haven’t had in a long time. It’s really cool.
Some people are quick to dismiss pop music or rock songs with pop sensibilities, saying it is “bubble gum” or “on the surface.” Do you think it is possible to walk that line? When I listen to music I don’t judge it for the genre, that is my personal opinion. People may hate the songs regardless. It just comes with the nature of music but if you can appreciate a song…like if I hear a song on the radio and say, hey that’s a good song, I don’t sit and judge it on it’s genre. I just appreciate a song for hows it is written and I see the scene moving in that direction right now. People are becoming more open minded.
As far as the band itself, what do you want people to take away from what you are trying to present? We definitely want to have a good live show and keep progressing and learn how to be cohesive as a band. I want everyone to have a good time even if you don’t know the lyrics. Our goal is for the fans to tell there friends about how fun it was. Hopefully people can just jam out. With being on stage, it’s a drug but it’s the best addiction there is.
You have had some experience in the industry and at times its’ state can be a bit depressing. Do you have a game plan as far as what you want to accomplish with the band and how you will do that? We are going on tour in the fall (playing Detour in St. Catharines October 18), which is great because we only launched the band May 1st of this year. In my opinion, we have been taking leaps and bounds because we have been going hard since May and we don’t want to slow that down. We will probably shoot another music video before the end of the year. 2016, we will hopefully be on some other tours. Right now it is all about creating awareness for promoters, to agents, to labels and the fans. I have been under the radar for a while personally. For a long time I didn’t think I was going to continue music; I was in a dark place. After Abandon ended I was like, hmmm, maybe I won’t continue music. I was on the fence. My family and friends wanted me to but I didn’t want to force it because then it doesn’t come out naturally; you do it for the wrong reasons. One morning I snapped and was like, why aren’t I playing music? It’s something I truly love so why wouldn’t I continue. So, I shot the idea to my buddy Joe (Buscema) who’s currently managing Curses and he is working his butt off, so is everyone involved.
There is something to be said about hard work. A lot of bands think it is a formula; we just need a label to back us and that is enough. I have seen so many bands rise too quickly and burn out because there isn’t a fan base or material to back them up. There may be one big song that radio and the label may push but if it doesn’t take off, no one else cares. The way I look at it is like school. You start off in elementary school as a new band, you get some label interest and that is high-school but there are still so many steps to go. It’s not like you get signed and that is it.
It is obvious in the short time I talked to Martin that every step he and Curses take is done with intent. Lessons have been learned and with a renewed love for music and being on stage, I expect nothing but great things from this Toronto quartet.
Broda says it best…
“I am just excited for the future. Tomorrow everything could change. We are going to just keep doing what we do, play shows and get our name out there as much as possible and we are going to have a good time doing it. That’s what music should always be about.”
Curses perform at Detour Music Hall on October 18.