Women Underground Interview - Curdle - Jenny Tingle

There are so many awesome and inspirational women in the UK's music and arts scene. Women Underground is a series of articles showcasing female creatives. The purpose of these interviews isn't to complain, to undermine men or to cast women in the roles of victims of an unfair society - it's to highlight the sheer volume of amazing music, art and creative contributions to the world population made by women right here, right now.

Curdle are a 4-piece punk band based in Glasgow with a gothic influence and mischievous lyrics.

These guys are one of my favourite local bands, not only are they a great live band, during shows they swap instruments for fun and they have a Theremin!

Hi Curdle!

You’ve been working on new music recently- hows it going?

Wiggy: it’s been going really well thanks! We’re nearly finished our album, we only have a few more songs to record so hopefully it’ll be finished in the next few months. We have a brand new song called Flies on the Ceiling inspired by a brilliant Love and Rockets comic of the same name by Jaime Hernandez, and we had fun being as loud as possible for that one.

Which musicians and bands have inspired you the most?

Wiggy: Grace Slick is probably my biggest inspiration, and Jefferson Airplane have had a big influence on me. The Mamas and the Papas have been a big inspiration, along with the Misfits, Purple Rhinestone Eagle, Babes In Toyland, Sonic Youth, Hole, Joan Baez, The Damned, and 60s girl bands like the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las. Three of us Curdles went to see Belinda Carlisle play recently and her solo stuff as well as the Go Gos has been so inspiring so that was brilliant. I think we all pick up bits of inspiration everywhere though, from films and books and lots of places.

How did Curdle form?

Wiggy: Me and Clare have been friends since Primary 2! Me and Hoggers and Lucy all met through working in the Glasgow School of Art and we’ve been friends for years and years. It took us a while to form a band!

Hoggers: Wiggy and I drunkenly agreed to form a band at our friends Clare and Al’s wedding. At the very first practices we both played the same thing and covered lots of Hole, but we got into the swing of things quite quickly, especially when Clare joined on drums and Lucy on guitar.

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What obstacles do you feel that successful bands have to overcome? By successful, I mean your individual idea of success, whatever that may be.

Lucy: I think resources must be a big obstacle. Buying equipment is a big outlay for most people, we only actually own a limited amount. For gigs you also have to be able to transport it around. Gigs are such great fun, but it can be a bit of a challenge to get all of our equipment to the venue when we’re all working through the day. We’re really lucky to have very helpful and supportive family and friends who can help us when we need it. Bands we play with usually kindly let us share a bit of backline too.

We love being in Curdle and playing gigs, and we’re there because we want to be. It might be different for bands who really need to make a certain amount of money to make ends meet.

What would you say to encourage more women to grab an instrument and play on stage?

Wiggy: I would say, there’s so many great bands in Glasgow alone with women playing in them right now so go for it. There’s lovely, supportive and creative people out there too who you will have so much fun playing gigs with. 

Hoggers: Totally. We’re always blown away by how lovely everybody is. There’s a real sense of community and people always help each other out whether it’s grabbing some mates to come see your band when you think no-one’s going to turn up, to lending you a bass guitar when yours breaks right before a gig!

Clare: Go for it! When Curdle formed I had never played an instrument before but I knew when Wiggy told me about making a band I just had to be apart of it. I feel so lucky to have such amazing supportive band mates that helped me with my confidence and let me express myself freely. Curdle is such a safe place for us to experiment and try new sounds without any insecurity or hesitation. I think it's important to surround yourself with positive, supportive people and we curdles are all about bringing out the best in each other. So go for it, whatever it is, it'll help you discover things about yourself you never knew you were capable of.

The name Curdle has a funny story behind it which you explained in a previous interview- could you tell us more about it here?

Wiggy: I was trying to write a song about a time where someone who we won’t name got really drunk and hid under a car. I asked Hoggers what we should name the song, and she said Curdle and it became our band name! The song turned out to be really bad but we got our band name out of it!

Hoggers: We like it because it’s sweet and sour and milky and magical and nurturing all at the same time.

You’re a multi-talented bunch, with some of you doing amazing art as well as playing music! Can we expect any hand-designed Curdle tshirts at some point?

Wiggy: My girlfriend Aisling (from the band Strega Pez) did the beautiful artwork for our first ever gig poster, as well as our logo and some amazing portraits of us for our album. Our album will have lots of her work on the sleeve and hopefully we’ll use it on tshirts too!

What is the hardest part of gigging and writing for you?

Wiggy: The hardest part of gigging is nerves I think but that’s getting a bit easier as we play more gigs. The hardest part of writing is being too self critical, it happens so often that I’ll write something and get really excited about it then listen to it the next day and think oh god no what was that! We all love writing songs together though, and usually a basic idea turns into a song after all four of us have changed it and squashed it until we’re happy with it!

Where can we see you live next?

Wiggy: We will be playing at  Broadcast with Yonaka on the 14th of November which we’re really looking forward to, and again at Spitehouse in the Transmission gallery on the 22nd of November. Spitehouse is such a fun night to play and there’s always such a great atmosphere and great bands to watch so we’d really recommend it!

Thanks for your time!

Thank you Jenny!