[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] Pleasure Curses Part 1: The Origin Story
So I had the supremely amazing experience of interviewing Pleasure Curses. For those of you who may not know Pleasure Curses, first off, SHAME ON YOU! We introduced them last month and their newest track, "Bounce Above," caps off our December Spotify Mixtape (SHAMELESS PLUG). Second, you are missing out & we feel sorry for you. The duo made of Jahn Alexander & Evan Maxwell are shaking up the DC music scene with their raucous energy that's a blend of bass soaked rock, synth laden dance, & funk music that gives us a peak at the shadowy side of dance music. One thing is very clear, do not call their music goth.
Pleasure Curses will be supporting our very favorite new Poptress, Betty Who, this Friday at Rock-N-Roll Hotel. Make sure to get tickets and get their early to see Pleasure Curses energy live. (GET TICKETS)
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Here's they're gorgeous remix of Tea Leigh's Color Theory:
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KKS: Like any superheroes, everyone wants to know your origin story. Tell us the legend of Pleasure Curses.
Jahn: We met when we were about 10 or 11 at a summer rock music day camp. The kind of camp where you get kids together who just learned how to play electric guitar, group them together and let them get really loud. Evan and I weren’t grouped together, but we kept in touch after camp. I moved to Europe halfway through junior year and Evan was in a band with friends. Once I moved I back we got in touch and started trading ideas and stems.
Evan: Yeah, Jahn had been doing stuff with this band, I liked everything they were doing. So, he sent me some stems for one of their songs. I decided to make my first, and very bad, foray into garage-band-learning-how-to-make-electronic-music remixes of their songs.
We both were doing the same thing at the same time and thinking to ourselves, okay we’re both coming out of bands and trying to this by ourselves on our computers. So we started to trade things back and forth to start out. It really changed when we realized that Jahn’s girlfriend literally lived down the street from me in college. I would hop on my bike and speed over with my laptop, weird random synthesizers and assorted cables and tech and we would just see how things would sound and what we could create.
Jahn: It was so great, because we came from three piece bands, where there was bass guitar, drums, & singing, but we were didn’t really have that in Harrisonburg. We still wanted to play music, but there was nobody around to play with, let alone play the kind of music that we like. So that’s how we got into electronic music.
KKS: So how did you learn to make electronic music?
Jahn: We are super self-taught, we are still learning and creating as we go. We have covered a lot of ground in a year. Looking at the early releases you can see our sound change.
KKS: Where do you see the sound going for Pleasure Curses as you continue to learn and experiment?
Evan: I think we have gotten more colorful over the time we have been together. In the beginning Jahn was living in northern England and touring with a band on the same circuit as Joy Division and The Smiths, so that was in his musical DNA at the time. That had an effect on our sound, plus we were in Harrisonburg in the middle of nowhere, so it was darker and may have bordered on post-punk, but not really. We even somehow got lumped into goth.
Jahn: From an outside perspective it may look like we started as one thing and decided to be something else, but its not that we didn’t listen to the music we are making now. It was the environment was different. It was that vibe that was around us, but we wanted to make something that was more interesting to play. We would get really bored if we just did one thing. We played four shows really close together and I think every set we had a new song we wanted to be more interesting than the last one. I think we really just hated being called goth. That is why we were like, OK we are going to make the most non goth sounding, not dower thing we could.
Jahn: That was our move into more danceable music.
KKS: There is still an edge that comes through in your sound; maybe you haven’t completely shed that slight “post-punk” sound. Is that something you are consciously trying to keep?
Evan: I don’t if it is a conscious thing. I think it has to do where we began. Jahn coming from a rock band, I mean they weren’t making soft music; it was loud. I was coming from this angsty more hardcore band. So we both have an edge, we want to make loud music that people will dance to. We want people to feel the energy of it, more than what you get from soft pleasant songs made by other "bedroom producers" on their laptop. We both have an energetic notion behind the music we want to make.
Jahn: We definitely don’t want to be boring. And if that’s punk, then that’s what we are going for.
Evan: It’s not so much a conscious classic punk mentality, its not that we want to destroy the system or anything. We don’t want to be boring; we don’t want to be quiet. It’s an energy we both have. We want to be enticing and exciting and make people feel something when they hear the music. Maybe that’s the overlap in the punk ideology, and we’re okay with that.
Jahn: We both come from a bass guitar background, so we’re not necessarily as well versed in electronic music.
KKS: Being rooted in bass side of rock music, you are going to have a natural affinity for what makes people move. Knowing a good baseline is universal.
Evan: That is a religious view we both share. We are suckers for a good bassline.
Part 2 coming soon...