Brighton duo’s CURXES make electro Blitz-pop tinged with sinister Goth goodness, and it’s gaining applause. Wonderland caught up with Macauly Hopwood and Roberta Fidora to talk about how they create their cinematic sound and how their unlikely collaboration with Stephen Hawking occurred.
CURXES has previously been described as ‘Gothic-tinged, electronic pop, but not as we know it’. Fair description?
Roberta: That sounds a bit sci-fi, I quite like that. We’re also rather fond of the term Blitz pop, because it’s a direct reference to the wartime references we both love, the famous 70s/80s hangout The Blitz Club and the big wailing noise over Mac’s programmed industrial empire. I think it’s fair to say that the darker side of the sound comes from a culmination of our current surroundings, our displacement with what is classed as ‘modern culture’ and my nightmares about floods, abandoned churches and flying dogs that I can never quite catch.
What inspires you to create your sound?
Roberta: Musically, we take inspiration from everything and everyone. On the surface we sound like an 80s band, but our influences range from 50s crooners like Frank Sinatra, post-punk band Wire to the god of everything: David Bowie.
What other bands do you love right now?
Both: Churches! That sexy-cool band from Glasgow. Came out of nowhere with a belter of a song called “Lies” and are sure to be snapped up by a label pretty sharpish.
Your fashion aesthetic seems
to be drawn from a vintage era. Are you both pretty image-conscious?
R: No, I don’t think so. I dress like a raunchier version of your nan or an evacuee. They don’t teach you that in Topshop.
M: We would probably object if you dressed us in shell suits or football shirts – I don’t think it would work with the band aesthetic.
Tell us a little bit about the new single “Spectre”?
R: It was actually written about 5 years ago in our old band, originally called The Curse. I convinced myself for a short while that our previous band had some sort of weird hex on it because of a lot of initial obstacles and line-up changes. The lyrical content came from a weird night vision of a ruined church that appeared at a time of difficulty. It seemed to be a direct mental response to the death of a friend who deserved to do great things but never got the chance, the distorted nightlife of a particular place and the tides of gossip in those surroundings in creating trouble or false rivalries.
It also features a guest rap from Stephen Hawking. How did that collaboration happen?
M: He’s got a button on his chair that calls us directly. We met him at a quantum physics convention at CERN and asked him if he would be interested in reading out some poetry on an upcoming electro duo’s new single. Surprisingly he was up for it.
What can we expect of the full length record?
R: It’ll will have more of a live feel, in that we’ll extend the links between songs and investigate how we can build on the ‘continuous set’ element. We can’t wait to get to an album recorded but we’re going to wait until we’ve got the audience there first. As a new act, it’s important not to pull out the big guns too early.
Words: Shane Hawkins