NHC MUSIC Chats To Curdle - Jenny Tingle

Our very own drummer extraordinair Jenny Tingle has been interviewing acts she loves again, and this time up we have the excellent and talented Curdle in for a chat, check it out;

Hi guys! How are you doing?

All: Hi! Hi! Hello. Hi! We’re good thanks

Who are Curdle?

Clare: Curdle are an all female four piece band from Glasgow, we are all semi-self taught amateurs new to the Glasgow music scene and have only been playing live for a year. Our music varies from Riot Grrrl to psychedelic, with lots of lovely harmonies and bad ass bass thrown in.  

What inspires your music? Where do your ideas come from?

Hoggers: Lots of things! From real life situations to people and made-up stories. We are big creeps that like creepy things – a lot of songs are about blood and bodies and skulls. I think that’s partly because we love listening to stuff like the Cramps and the Misfits and partly because we like singing about made up things. The last song we wrote, Red To The Elbows, is a love song between an embalmist and a corpse, which was inspired by Wiggy’s embalmist friend. We wanted it to sound like we were having a party in a graveyard. Who doesn't enjoy a party in a graveyard?

Who are Dave D and Dave G?

Wiggy: Dave Vanian is the lead singer of the Damned and one of my favourite male singers. There’s a picture of him on my guitar - he's the best dressed man of all time and such a massive inspiration. I wrote the song about him in about a minute because I had so much to say! Bloody beautiful creep. Dave Gahan is from Depeche Mode and we like Depeche Mode but Dave Gahan is a bit of a tool so that's why we say we don't want or need him!

Your main musical influences

Hoggers: Wiggy and I started the band with a shared love of riot grrrl, Hole, L7, Throwing Muses, David Bowie, the Misfits and 60s girl bands amongst a lot of other things, but we all listen to different things and share different musical interests. My absolute fave is Kim Gordon.

Lucy: I like to think I have quite an eclectic taste in music, but then I guess who doesn't?! I still love the older music I grew up listening to like Talking Heads, Blondie and Otis Redding, and I'm always listening to Radio 6 music and swapping playlists with friends to find music that's new or at least new to me.

Wiggy: The Mamas and the Papas are a really really huge big influence for me, along with the Damned, Jefferson Airplane, The Go Gos, Joan Baez and Stevie Nicks. Bands that sing lovely harmonies have been a big inspiration for us, especially Trio with Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. I love Emmylou Harris singing with Gram Parsons, they’re both so bloody great.

Clare: The Mamas and Pappas have been a big influence as well as Jefferson Airplane. Siouxsie and The Banshees' drum beats particularly influence me - anytime I hear their drums I always think, "I want to play that." I really love that "big jungle" or "impending doom" sound.  

One album which changed each of your lives

Wiggy: Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane, it's beautiful and weird and messy and it just really made me want to write songs and sing. Grace Slick is just such a fantastic weirdo, my hero, and she’s written some of the best songs of all time in my opinion. The fact that she’s a multi-instrumentalist was so inspiring too. I think that’s a perfect album. I’m also going to be greedy and say that Baptism by Joan Baez changed my life too, in the way that if I want to write a song and I'm stuck I just listen to Song In the Blood from that album because it’s such an effing masterpiece it couldn't help but be inspiring.

Clare: PJ Harvey Stories from The City, Stories from The Sea. It conveys a spectrum of emotions from elated, to moody and melancholy. I use to be addicted to this album and would get lost in it.  

Lucy: Touch by Eurythmics, for the album cover as much as the sound. Looking through my parents’ record collection as a wee girl, this image was so striking. Annie Lennox is such a good role model. She isn't ‘pretty’- she’s beautiful, cool and strong...and she’s Scottish too! I love really great pop, and it’s just such a good album.

Hoggers: Confusion is Sex by Sonic Youth. It’s so passionate, angry, energetic and unapologetic. I love the dischord in it. It sounds wild and feral and I want to be there!

You've been busy, with gigs coming up on the 11th and 19th and 25th August. There’s also a physical Curdle EP in the works. Can you tell me a little about that?

Hoggers: We've got three new songs in the works that we're working hard on! And we're in the middle of recording a self-released album, but we decided to take four songs and make an EP with them. It'll hopefully be ready for the gigs in August. We're putting all of the new material up on our Youtube, Soundcloud and Bandcamp accounts once they're mixed - go have a listen!

Wiggy: We've been helped by so many friends – our friend Bob from Strega Pez who recorded us and is mixing the EP and album, my girlfriend Aisling (also from Strega Pez) has done some absolutely beautiful artwork, along with our very talented friend Nicole who did our band photos. 

How did you choose songs for your EP?

Lucy: We wanted to pick some Curdle classics that we've been playing since our very first gig last summer. We think there's a nice concise wee collection there, with plenty still held back for the album of course!

What do you love most about the Glasgow music scene? 

Clare: The Glasgow music scene is very welcoming to new experimental music and I get sense of appreciation for music whenever I go to gigs. Some of my favourite bands are Glasgow based bands, and it feels like a safe place for people to express themselves creatively. The Glasgow music scene is exciting and inspirational, and most nights of the week there is a gig on with one of my favourite bands in one of my favourite venues. I feel so lucky to be from a city that is so enthusiastic about new music. 

What’s the most fun, and most nerve-wracking part of gigs?

Hoggers: I think we’re always really nervous on the day before we get together before the gig and then we’re so glad to see each other and have a big hug! It’s nerve wracking getting up on stage under these bright lights and playing something that is so personal because it’s only us four that have been practicing in the studio. What I Iove the most is looking at the other Curdles on stage, doing what we've been practicing and practicing to do, and feeling that solidarity in those moments.

Clare: Sometimes the sound check can be a bit nerve racking. Especially if it's a new venue to us. Usually after sound checking I feel better, but typically my knees are still knocking before I go on.

Lucy: I think the hours leading up to when we all arrive at the venue is the worst! It's better if I'm working and I don't get a chance to over think things. When I'm nervous I get a bit withdrawn but we're always really pleased to see each other and everything's fine once we're there! We always have a Curdle cuddle, and give each other plenty of encouragement and positive words :-)

Wiggy: The most fun thing is definitely just playing and seeing each other! I agree with Hoggers, If I'm freaking out or if I'm nervous I just look at the others on stage and we give each other a wee look. The most nerve-wracking thing is singing, especially if it’s something you wrote. I don’t think there’s any more exposing thing you could do!

It’s refreshing to see a band who seem really close as friends as well as musicians! Do you spend much time together outside of rehearsal time? What does a typical Curdle night out/in entail?

Lucy: We actually hang out all the time! I met Wiggy and Hoggers at the Glasgow School of Art and have been pals with them for years. Wiggy and Clare have been best buds for even longer so we are all really close. Being in the band has definitely bonded us a lot, and the four of us are a total team now! A typical night for us would probably be at one of our flats with lots of wine and pizza, moving onward to singing and dancing to music videos on Youtube. It’s a really excellent night, everyone should do it!

Being described as an “all-female band” would highlight that the lack of female performers on stage is great enough to be noticeable. I would love to see more gigs where the genders of band members as well as the audience are represented in equal proportion.

What would you say to aspiring female musicians to encourage a more diverse and inclusive music scene?

Wiggy: I would say just be brave and joyous and have a brilliant time and be prepared for pricks in pubs who give you nonsense because you’re four girls with instruments. I'm still so amused but not amused at the amazement from generally men of a certain age that we provoke just by showing up at the pub after practice with our guitars and cymbals! So I’d say just laugh and remember you don’t have to explain ANYTHING. Hell no! And you have to really really appreciate your musician and artist friends, because countless people have helped us out with countless things and we’re so grateful.

Clare: Go for it. I only started playing the drums 2/3 years ago. Had the odd lesson but mostly just made up stuff in the studio. I have to say without my band mates I don't think I would have ever started playing or be in a band. I think having each other all starting out together and being on the same boat, is very comforting and we always reassure and support each other.

Lucy: I know, right? An all male band attracts no comment! We have definitely met loads of really supportive, positive and inspiring people, so in a lot of ways it hasn't been hard at all to start out as a female band. There can be some spaces where the gender balance is so skewed that you can feel a bit like an impostor, but you just have to try to be confident and occupy that space!

Do your day jobs affect your music or vice versa?

Clare: The band is a sacred place for me so I try my best to not let work interfere with it. I'm not a very career oriented person (working as a dinner lady is not my life goal) and haven't found a career path as of yet so the band is more of a priority for me at the moment.

Lucy: I think I live quite a compartmentalised life! I really like it that way actually. I work in Heritage/Education for the National Trust and also run a small Design business as well as playing in Curdle. I enjoy having different things on the go, it keeps things interesting for me, and each is an escape from the rest too! We always make sure to have a lot of fun when we practice and I always look forward to getting together.

Hoggers: I think that for most of us the band is a form of escape and creativity. It's our own wee space away from the everyday that is just ours and special - a way to have fun and relax but express and challenge ourselves too. I’d say they’re quite separate. I'm not sure what I'd sing about my day job!

Where did the name Curdle come from?

Wiggy: It came from a long forgotten song I was trying to write about an incident when someone got very drunk and hid under a car, I said to Hoggers, what should we call that song? And she said Curdle, so we thought, that’s our band name! The song was butts but the name stuck. I think we like the idea of anything that’s gone a bit rotten.

Anything else you would like to say to NHC music?

THANK YOU! Come see us soon and take a listen to us on Youtube, Soundcloud and / or Bandcamp so you can sing along!