Curse – From the Darkest of Places
By Dave Schwartz
This Curse is a metalcore band from New
Jersey that has reinvented themselves. After forming as The
Blessing of This Curse in 2012, the band released a series of EPs,
culminating with “Emergence.” They were working hard and
building a following but the band felt they needed to make some
In early 2017 they began re-branding
themselves as This Curse. This Curse is Ethan Kennedy
(vocals), Joey Galletta (vocals/guitar), Blake Van Curen (bass),
Branton Shpilevsky (keys), and Jake Fletcher (drums). With
the new name comes a somewhat evolved sound that is more
accessible and, although the new record has only been out since
April 13th, the band is already noticing a difference in how new
fans are reacting to them.
I spoke with guitarist Joey Galletta to
find out more about the band's evolution…
DB: So let’s kick this interview
off… Congrats on your latest record, “From the Darkest of
Places,” I would like to hear all about it.
JG: With this album, it was
definitely a longer process than we’ve ever had before. As far as
writing and producing and all that, it took about a year and a
half to fully figure it out. As far as the things that were
different this time – we wrote a lot of songs, 30, and then we
narrowed it down to 7. It was definitely a challenge for
sure. We took a lot of different influences this time
around. We wanted to go with a little bit more melody in our
music as opposed to some of our older songs. This is our
first release since our name change. I don’t know if you
know that we were under a different name before. So this is
kind of like our restart as a band.
DB: Yes, I will confess that the
name change was a bit of a headscratcher for me. Nothing was
mentioned in the PR so obviously I discovered it during my
research for this interview.
JG: We changed the name the
beginning of 2017 so it has taken us about a year and a half to
change the name and get ourselves out there again. So yeah,
the process was great as far as writing and recording. We
worked with Ricky Armellino (This or the Apocalypse) and Andreas
Magnusson (Fit For A King, Haste The Day, The Black Dahlia
Murder). So we worked with two producers on the record which
is something we’ve never done before. It was definitely cool
to have multiple points of view. We took some chances.
If you listen to our old stuff and then the new there are some
pretty big changes as far as the sound. We were nervous
about how it would go over with our older fans but so far the
response has been great and it’s definitely getting us a whole,
wider fan base than we expected. We’re pretty excited about
DB: I’m one who believes that a band
has to evolve or it dies. So hearing that you took some
chances and really put yourself out there – conscious choices are
a good thing in my mind.
JG: Yeah, we were in a place where
we were happy with what we’ve done before but we listen to a lot
more different kinds of music than just metal and we wanted to
bring those elements into our sound and we just wanted to just
step outside of our comfort zones. Even though we’ve
progressed with each release as when we were called The Blessing
of This Curse. We did definitely did progress within the
music but we kind of wanted to take a bigger step than we had
previously. So we’re enjoying it a lot. It seems like
everyone is having more fun live now and so this has been a good
direction for us I think.
DB: Right about a year back you
re-released “Quicksand,” aas that kind of a teaser, the name
change and all that?
JG: It was funny because we released
“Quicksand” as The Blessing of This Curse on our EP, “The
Emergence.” It came out in 2016. We pushed that EP for
a while and it helped us build a larger fan base than we had
before. “Quicksand” especially took off as far as the other
songs go, that song was definitely the most popular. It was
featured on a couple Spotify playlists and it ended up getting us
a pretty good following – more so than we expected. So when
we decided that we wanted to change the band name and re-brand a
little bit, we didn’t have our music ready yet. So we
thought that it would be best to take a song that everybody
already knew, one that had gone over well and shoot a video for
it, put it out under the new band name and kind of start over with
that. The song itself is an older song but we still play it
live and it still goes over well. It was kind of just our
first thing to put out as the new band.
DB: And of course you have your new
video, “Trauma Bond.” It’s amazing. You guys do a
great job with your videos. I’m very impressed with the work
that you’re doing. I’m sure you were excited to include
Lauren Kashan of Sharptooth in the video. How did that all
JG: That was awesome. When we
were trying to figure out the video we had the idea of a fighting
couple essentially. And we were trying to find actors and
actresses for it. We didn’t know who we could go to.
As you know, with “Quicksand” there wasn’t any acting in that.
So we thought of the idea of just asking friends. So Ricky
Armellino, the guy who produced our album was down for it
obviously. Lauren was a friend of our manager, Wesley
(Ingraham). He helped Sharptooth a year ago and we really
got into them. They’re a really cool band. We ended up
playing with them in New York last October. It was the last
show of the tour and before this album cycle. So we became
friends with them and decided to ask her if she was down with it.
She decided to do it. It was a lot of fun. Both her
and Ricky have really cool personalities and are really cool
people to work with. It just made the whole shooting process
so much more fun. As you can see in the video, they did some
crazy stuff throwing food all over the kitchen. It was
definitely a lot of fun to make. So making it was a lot of
fun. We actually ended up playing with Sharptooth on one of
our tour dates last week. It was fun seeing them. And
they’re doing some cool stuff right now. They’re going out
on Warped Tour this year and so a shout-out to that band cause
they’re killing it right now.
So you mentioned earlier that you worked with two producers on
this record. Talk about what each of the producers brought
to the table for you guys, what they did to pull greatness from
you to create the music that you now have.
JG: I’ll start with Rick. When
we went into the studio we had the songs written both musically
and lyrics. When we went into the studio the first thing we
did with him was the vocals. This is something that we’ve
never done before – normally we start by recording drums or
guitars. It’s certainly more conventional to do it that way.
But we wanted to take our vocals to the next level. We felt
like that was the main thing that we really wanted to drive home
with this release. So we went to Ricky because he’s a
vocalist and were a big fan of his work. He really, really
helped push us in that direction. He helped Ethan (Kennedy)
to scream in ways in which he never has before. He helped
him sing which he’s never done before. And with myself, he
helped me sing as well but it was more of a confidence thing.
You know, like he gave me the confidence to push myself and try to
sing things that I probably wouldn’t have done before. So he
was really great with that and he helped take our band to the next
level from a melodic standpoint. I recorded all of the
guitars with him and he was really a great guy to work with.
He was encouraging us the entire way. We’ve worked with
people before this where they seem to be into the project or they
pretend to be but maybe they really aren’t. Sometimes you’re
working with people who are just trying to get the job done rather
than doing the best thing. So Rick was very, very involved
and very into the songs and really was into what we were doing and
that really helped a lot.
With Andreas (Magnusson), it was a little
different with Andreas because I didn’t actually meet him.
The only person who actually met him was our drummer. Our
drummer recorded all of the drums with him in Virginia and from
there, all of the music was sent to him already mixed. Ricky
and him are friends. They’ve worked together on numerous
projects so in that regard, they both knew each other and
communication was all good. But working with him was cool in
that he definitely mixed our album in a way that gave us a
distinct sound from what had been done previously. I like to
say that it’s a little bit more of a raw sounding mix. It’s
raw but there are some polished parts to it. It’s kind of a
good blend. When we were writing and recording that was our
goal – to have a fine line between a raw heavy mix and a more
polished sound. I think they achieved that with the mix.
We are definitely very happy with that. It was awesome
working with both of them.
DB: The songs did come together
well. They do sound great. You mentioned in our
open that you’ve just got off the road. You went out on a
two week tour with “Call It Home.” Tell us a little about
the tour and how it went.
JG: The tour started April 11th and
finished two days ago.
DB: The tour was primarily on the
JG: We started in Roade Island and
went out west. It was definitely something new for us.
We were in Detroit and Indiana, we were out there a little bit
playing some shows and it was really cool. You meet so many
different people when you’re that far from home. You see the
differences in the audiences and the people with go to shows.
I think that some people in different parts are more susceptible
to certain types of music or shows than others. Also, some
places don’t get as many shows as out here for example. So
it was great. As far as the shows go, I think we were
received way better as far as new fans go. It seemed like
every night there were people getting into it. They were
buying the CD and we were talking to a lot of people and making
some cool friends. I did some sightseeing too. I
walked around and checked out some new places. And Call It
Home is a great band to tour with. They just put out an
album as well. We had never played with them or had done
anything with them before so first day of tour was the first time
we met all those guys. It was great. They definitely
had our backs the whole time. And of course, likewise with
us. It was fun.
DB: It’s always great to hear about
the synergy between bands, out on the road and helping each other.
As far as your comments on the regional stuff, yes I do think
there is a significant difference between certain areas of the
United States. So what is going on for the rest of this
year? You have a new record; I suspect that you’re going to
be on the road.
JG: We’re doing a couple of off
dates in May. We’re playing in New York with the band 68.
And we’re playing with a band called Vanish in Philadelphia too.
We might also have some cool news dropping this month also.
We’ve been working on some videos and some cool content to go
along with the new record so, I can say that people should expect
something coming out this month. In June and July were still
working on things. And in August we will be going out on
tour. We haven’t announced it yet but we will be doing
another tour the end of August. So were really excited.
Thanks to Joey Galletta for sharing a
moment with DaBelly and check out This Curse on social media.