With just a handful of live shows to their name, Curb already find themselves sitting comfortably amongst the most low key and exciting new bands in Birmingham’s current musical repertoire. Fusing baggy Stone Roses with the extended grunge of Nirvana, these boys are creating raw and honest tunes with a dash of throwback britpop, and they’re doing it all pretty explosively. Ahead of their debut Birmingham Promoters show where they play with Black Dollar Bills, Royal Blood and Bad Moon this Thursday 24th October at The Sunflower Lounge (info & tickets here), we chat Frankenstein’s monster, avoiding pretenses and Scarlett Johansson with the boys.
Give us a bit of background to the band – how do you all know each other and how did you come to be making music together?
Tom [O’Ryan, vocals, guitar]: This time last year I wrote some songs and put them on SoundCloud. Lee [Booker, bass] messaged me shortly after and we went for a pint to discuss writing together, based on having similar influences and interests. He then introduced me to Joe [Booth, guitar] and Sam [Hunt, drums], who he’d known and jammed with previously, and we formed Curb.
There are elements of Stone Roses and Nirvana amongst others within your music. Do you draw influence from these?
Lee: I would say it depends on who’s writing the song and has the vision for the song as to where the influences come from – we all have very eclectic tastes. When I think of the influence Nirvana have on us, they are a reminder to not over complicate a song – they took that from early Beatles singles who took that from early rock n roll singles before them. I’d say we draw a far more British influence to our music than other new bands do at the moment though.
Tom: A lot of our songs are like Frankenstein’s monster, they’re a real mixture of influence and style all tied together with a layer of distortion. I think that’s what makes them unique.
Who else do you look to for inspiration?
Tom: Collectively, we have a very broad range of influences. I take inspiration from the bands I love but they span from 60’s beat bands through to punk and no wave to a lot of contemporary bands doing new and interesting things. It’s good to draw inspiration from a diverse selection. I try and look past music for inspiration too; film, art and TV enter my songwriting process as well. It’s good because it keeps things fresh.
Lee: I look to any artist that creates an interesting and memorable song. I can get the same kicks out of Slayer’s Angel of Death as I do Prince’s Alphabet Street.
Sam: For me it comes fairly subconsciously. If you listen to enough music for long enough, it stays in your brain and helps you create.
What kind of sound are you aiming to create?
Tom: We didn’t start out with a specific goal sonically. When I met Lee, the overlap in our taste told me that if we wrote songs together they would sound cool, but I didn’t know for sure about which direction they would take.
Lee: We don’t really like to state a guideline to aim for, I think that’s bad for creativity, we just write and jam and what comes out is the songs we play live.
Joe: Yeah, everyone’s individual influences push and pull the song in the right direction.
What local music are you listening to right now?
Lee: I’m always keeping my ears open for new bands from anywhere, not just the midlands. But in regards to midlands bands, I find that, besides the obvious artists, not many of these bands have albums out. Just a song here and there.
Your live shows have been getting a pretty rapturous response – why do you think that is?
Sam: I think both our music and live shows are pretty straight-up and forthright, and not in a forceful way.
Lee: There’s no bulls**t pretense and I think that’s what resonates with people. Every gig so far we’ve had a larger amount of people come to watch us than the last gig, it’s pretty f**king cool.
What makes a good live band?
Lee: I guess expanding from the last question, I think a good live band is a band that means it. I like a band with energy and a chemistry onstage when I watch them.
What has been your favourite show to date?
Tom: I’d say that we genuinely all loved our debut show because it was the first one. I think we would have given it to the Brum Notes gig at the Bull’s Head but Lee was ill during our set.
You have a pretty cool look – do you have any fashion icons?
Lee: We just wear what we like really, it was never really a thought out “look”. I think fashion is cool if it’s a part of a person’s honest expression but when it’s done out of a necessity to fit in, I think that’s pathetic.
Tom: Yeah we’re a band of different styles and tastes, we’re all pretty individual but it works as a whole.
What’s the plan for the near future?
Sam: Further songwriting and more gigs.
Lee: Attracting Scarlett Johansson.
Curb play with Black Dollar Bills, Royal Blood and Bad Moon at The Sunflower Lounge on Thurs 24th October. You can buy your tickets, priced at £5 advance, here.