Currls: Empowerment, fearlessness and dancing

Brighton garage rock trio Currls are, for lack of a better term, absolutely killer. Drawing inspiration from punk, new wave, glam and the rest, Currls is about owning who you are and having a good time. We spoke to guitarist and lead vocalist Holly about the band, Brighton and BLM.

Undercurrent: How did Currls come into being?

Holly: Currls was an idea I had in my second year at uni. I had been writing for a couple years and I had a bunch of songs that were just sitting in my terribly organised voice memos. I had always wanted to start a band but it wasn’t until I moved to Brighton that I felt I could – the scene here was pretty open, there were lots of bands just gigging for fun and making good music, I did notice there was a lot of the same sound however, I really wanted to try and shake it up a bit, So me and my housemate decided to go for it. I called the band Currls because I wanted to take back something I had once been made fun of, I wanted Currls to to be about owning who you are and being fearless about it.

What would you say are the key inspirations behind the band and its music?

Writing music for Currls originally started as an outlet for me. I’ve always been a shy person, I have severe anxiety disorder and I didn’t really come to terms with it until I moved to Brighton – I used the writing process as a way of dealing with my feelings at the time, I was able to take all of my anger and hurt I felt and put it on to paper, creating a song in that way can honestly be the best therapy. I’d always been a big fan of new wave, punk and I loved the over the top aesthetics of Glam Rock, platform boots and flamboyant makeup really stood out to me – I just thought these people didn’t care about opinions, they weren’t going to adhere to the status quo and I really resonated with that. I would just spend hours watching old top of the pops and old performances. I love looking at pictures of old album artwork and contrasting it to what you’d hear from the album. 

Currls’ music is just combining all those elements and implementing it within my own writing – Having fun with it is important. We’ve never tried to force anything, usually in practices, I would write a song and take it to the band, I’d play the song to them and then we’d just repeatedly jam it, throwing in ideas in the process. As time has gone on, I’d like to think we have organically created a sound for ourselves that is there to empower listeners and make you dance.

In a short space of time you’ve found yourselves making quite the name for yourselves (I saw you were on the Huw Stephen’s show, that’s cool as hell) how have you found this level of response?

We’ve been so grateful for any response we have received! All we want to do is make and play music. We haven’t paid for any promotion or playlisting, and there’s nothing wrong with bands doing so, but it makes us feel so happy to know we’ve grown our fanbase completely organically and by putting in lots of hard work and energy. We have so many talented friends in the Brighton area that have spread the word about our band after shows and we are so lucky to have their support too. It’s all about lifting each other up and spreading a message of love, you know. That’s what music should be about.

Brighton is known as a music-centric city, with events like fringe and great escape attracting national recognition, how have you found the city and its music culture/communities? Is it a place that is conducive to musical expression and acceptance?

Brighton has a great community for bands and musicians. It’s a very expressive city and if you want to make music here there’s nothing stopping you from doing so – but you can breathe life into music wherever you are, honestly. It’s a great place to meet lots of creative individuals and perform, although Brighton and venues across the UK are facing closure due to the pandemic, they need your help in order to make it through this tough period and are asking all those that love live music to write to local MP’s with concerns and to spread the message. Live music is the heart of Brighton and without funding through this period all it’s venues and festivals will struggle to stay alive.

Have you found any particular subcultures / communities in Brighton to be particularly important both for yourself and the band?

We like to be as fluid between communities as we can – If people like our sound then we welcome them to come to one of our shows – unless of course you’re racist, sexist or homophobic.

Given the recent growth of the BLM movement and its regional demonstrations how important has it become for those with platforms – such as bands – to use them to speak up, address issues and look to affect change?

As a person of colour, issues regarding race are ones that I hold close to my heart. I fully support movements such as BLM – it’s important to stand together and show unity against those that believe racism is a debate, it should be clear that racism is not acceptable. It’s important for everyone to do the best they can when it comes to fighting racism – It’s our job to identify how to be better as people, how to educate, how to accept privilege and how to unify. If a band or an artist can speak up and make people listen then they should, everything helps, no matter how big or small your following. If you show up to protests, talk to those who have opposed views and reflect on your own privilege, then you are also doing your part, your voice matters just as much, if not more outside the realms of the internet. Practice what you preach, always.

Obviously lockdown has had a profound effect on the live music, have you managed to keep working on any music/ make any plans at this time?

The lockdown has had a ripple effect on the whole industry and it’s fighting to survive, not only this but Brexit too. Make sure to help support local venues during this time as they all are facing closure. 

I’m forever writing and I can’t wait to make people dance again. You will find us performing again real soon, follow us on our socials for updates, send us a message and let us know who you are! (New music landing in 3, 2….)

Follow Currls on Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp, and Twitter

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