This CurseThis 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 changes. 

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 that.

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 come together?

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.

This CurseDB:  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 East Coast?

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.

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