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Giraffes? Giraffes! x Curse League - Band to Band Interview

From Curse League to G?G!:

G?G! is Joe Andreoli (Guitar)


Kenneth Topham (Drums)

Curse League: The build-up section in your song "Heretical Doses" starting at 3:25 and eventually going into the guitar solo is such a classic G?G! move. Are there any other songwriting patterns that you guys like to incorporate into your music? Patterns that might go unnoticed by the average listener? JOE: I like to sneak an extra beat into spots. Just like a hidden thing that flips the beat so if you’re nodding your head along on the downbeat, you suddenly find yourself nodding on the upbeat. I also know Ken likes to play different

time signatures on top of mine to create cool tension and release. KEN: It’s all about tension and release. Torture and reward haha.

Curse League: Do you guys have any obscure math rock inspirations that are like way far out of left field? We’re always looking for new bands to listen to. Real “diamond in the rough” type stuff would be much appreciated! JOE: I like finding mathy stuff in other genres. One of my favorite records is Max Roach’s "It’s Time." It’s a jazz record, not math rock, but it’s incredible to listen to. It’s his group with a choir and they add all these weird accents and patterns. Another fun “mathy” composer is Burt Bacharach. It comes off as this regular orchestral pop, but if you really listen to it, there’s all these cool time signatures and musical tricks. For example, listen to the chorus of "I Say A Little Prayer For You." KEN: Early Dillinger Escape Plan! Chris’s drumming is major influence on me. I listen to a lot of early 20th century classical music: Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Stravinsky. Also, a band like Mahavishnu Orchestra… and, of course, Tool ;)

Curse League: Congrats on the new “Hug of Death” music video! In the video both of you drool a bunch of random things (e.g. nails, dirt, blood) out of your mouths. Can you help us rank them in order of deliciousness? KEN: The most delicious was marshmallows. The most disgusting was the nuts and bolts, made me gag.

I can’t even think about it without shuddering. The dirt and earthworms were just meh- no biggie. JOE: I thought the powdered sugar was the worst! It instantly sucked ALL the moisture out of my mouth haha. It felt like suffocating. The cooked pasta and jelly beans felt the coolest. The worms were less gross than their dirt!

Curse League: (To Joe) Okay your pedalboard becomes sentient and decides to pick a fight with Henry from Mylets’ pedalboard, whose pedalboard wins? JOE: Hmmm… Our pedalboards are pretty lean right now haha. If I had my big one, it’d be no contest- it would just sumo flop on his. But now they’re pretty agile. We don’t have any of the same pedals, so they would probably be friends and form one super-board.

Curse League: (To Joe) Have you ever encountered an FX pedal with effects so wild and wacky that you couldn’t or maybe struggled to figure out how to incorporate it into a song? JOE: The biggest problem that I encounter is when I want a bunch of sounds/effects to kick in at once. Like if I wanted an octave dive bomb with delay and chorus all to come in at once, it’ll be tough since I’m limited to my two feet. I know there’s loop switchers/etc that you have preset settings that would help me do this, but I haven’t entered that world yet. Maybe I should! It seems sort of scary though haha. If that thing goes fucky during a set you’re screwed. If you’re reading this and use one- and LOVE it- talk to me to convince me.

Curse League:

(To Ken) On this upcoming tour is there any chance you’re going to bring back “the horse head" from your live video of your song (The Ghost Of EPPEEPEE'S Ghost + Emilie Sagee's Secret)?


We got the original horse head at a costume shop in Seattle a decade ago. We’re going to see if the store is still around. The original mask disintegrated to a disgusting puddle of latex and slime.

Curse League: (To Ken) You’ve played with a floor tom to the left of your snare for ages now. When did you start doing that and what are some cool fills that you like to use it for? KEN: It’s a setup that I’ve been messing around with for a very long time. I really like it because it creates this bilateral/mirror image where the left hand (which is my weak hand) is given more freedom and it kind of encourages more ambidextrous activity. Opens the door for more complex polyrhythms. 3 against 4 and 5 against 4 when playing in an odd time signature makes for some real far out combinations and patterns.

Curse League: Curse League has a tradition of going to Add-A-Ball barcade for beers + pinball after shows. Any chance you’d be interested in joining us after our show on August 4th? Does G?G! have any post-show rituals that we should know about? JOE: I love pinball! My favorite is one from the 90's called "Theater Of Magic." Our post-show ritual is pounding water and laying face-down on the sidewalk. After that we just hang out. KEN: I love pinball too! Post-show, I like to have an adult beverage or two to help me relax a little. I’m usually a sweaty, disgusting, human swamp, so a shower is nice if I can find one.


From G?G! to Curse League:

Curse League is:

A: Alexandria Hickel (Bass)

C: Chester Cun (Guitar, Drums, Vocals)

J: Jake Campbell (Drums, Guitar, Lead Vocals)

K: Kai Brunson (Guitar)

G?G!: You guys shred! You do a great job of blending math, punk, and pop. We’re stoked to get to see it live! First off - if people were going to play one song of yours to read this Q and A to, what would it be? Dear Readers- Please play it now in the background! J: I would start with "Sandstorm" by Darude and if you have time after that finishes then listen to "Burrero" by Curse League. C: Jake’s lying. He really wants you to play "Who Let The Dogs Out?" by Baha Men cause we listen to that song everyday whenever we go on tour!

G?G!: (To Jake) You wake up one morning and discover you have an extra limb. Would you rather have it be a leg or an arm- and why? J: I would go with a leg. If i had an extra leg I could kick two footballs at once, score two field goals at once and I would be able to compete in three legged races without a dumb partner to slow me down. Plus I would enjoy using that leg for crazy skateboard tricks and playing the triple bass pedal. I don’t like double bass but triple bass sounds dope.

G?G!: Pearl Jam vs Soundgarden? C: Soundgarden, cause Tom Morello. J: Pearl Jam all the way. I think they deserve all the credit they get, they've influenced a lot of much. There are so many people who try to sing like Eddie Vedder which is usually pretty obvious and funny.

G?G!: (To Chester) You lived in Western MA for a while. Fill out this Mad Lib with Western MA references (when possible) and show the results: C: Done! Here’s my Mad Lib! [Rock Music] {Young people today would rather listen to a good rock music concert than to Johann Sebastian Dagless. or to Ludvig von Sanchez. Rock music is played by Spicy. groups of young men who wear their hair below their Pirates. They also wear very odd and colorful Frenemies and often have beards. The groups have attractive names such as "The Turkeys" or "Matt Damon and The Three Grapes." They usually play electric Burritos. One member of the group usually sits on a raised platform and sets the rhythm by beating his Splint. The songs are mostly about some fellow who has been rejected by his Hoe. They are very sad and when young girls hear them, they often get tears in their Whips.}

G?G!: The Kinks vs The Who? C: The Who. I learned how to play "My Generation" on bass way back in the day. Those triplets though!

G?G!: (To Jake/Chester) How do you decide who plays drums or guitar on a particular song? J: Chester is definitely better at guitar and I’m definitely better at drums, in fact we actually re-recorded the drums and guitars for "The Fox Den" and "Leaving El Norte" because we found that it’d be cleaner and better if we just taught each other the parts and recorded again even though live, I play guitar on those two and Chester plays drums. I really love playing guitar live on a few songs and singing into a mic standing up and even though I can play some parts cleaner than Chester, he has his own style on the drums that I can’t replicate and wouldn’t want to, the same goes for my guitar playing. C: In the early days of Curse League, Jake found out that I could drum during a band practice and that’s when he started to write songs on guitar and show them to us. At this point whoever wrote the song on guitar ends up playing the guitar for that song.

G?G!: What’s more important in this band - the kick or the snare? J: In this band the snare surprisingly, I think that all the hits accentuate the riffing and guitars really well, but in the future I’d love to get better at playing the kick and being more precise and delicate with it.

G?G!: (To Alex) Would you rather wake up to find out you can only play funky Seinfeld bass or that there’s no more coffee in the world? A: This sounds horrifying either way! No more coffee sounds like a certain death. At the same time, I never got that good at slap, so it may be an eye opener for me to consume too much caffeine and play in a Bootsy Collins cover band for the rest of my life.

G?G!: (To Alex) A long time ago, you mailed us a box of cookies. We were delighted! What was the recipe? A: I'll never tell!!!

G?G!: Third Eye Blind vs Everclear? C: Third Eye Blind. "Jumper" is classic.

G?G!: (To Kai) You can only have two strings on your electric guitar. Which two do you pick and why? K: I would probably choose the A and G string. Those are definitely the strings I generally use the most.

G?G!: What are your thoughts about the TV show Frasier? C: Uhh... I don’t think of any of us have ever watched Frasier. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure we all like very different TV shows. Except for Breaking Bad, we all agree that show is gold.

G?G!: Taylor Swift vs Carly Rae Jepsen? K: Oof, this one is tough. I think I will have to go with Taylor just cause "Blank Space" is so damn sassy. J: T swift for sure I like "Red" a lot. C: Carly Rae Jepsen. Her music videos are so wholesome.

G?G!: What’s your process for writing songs? Is it more “jam/improvise” at the space or do people bring in things from home? J: My own personal process is I’ll get some melody in my head and go for that on the guitar for a while until I can find it. K: It’s both! Generally one of us comes in with an idea and then we jam on it. Jake writes all the lyrics though. C: I listen to the musical noodles that I hear inside my head and I try to figure out how to play them on guitar. Then I iterate on them until I think they’re cool.

G?G!: Do you think there is a “Seattle Sound” still? If so, are there moments of your debut album "Laying By The Fire In Good Company" that show it? J: I think there is a Seattle sound, it seems like it’s still pretty stuck in the grunge/noise/90's era vibes and I think there can be some really cool influences because of that but also some real stale sounds as well. For us, we have a lot of jammy sounds that come out of that and I think our tones fit that too. We’ve been really influenced by a couple great Pacific North West math rock bands like Duck Little Brother Duck and Postmadonna. They’ve bled through quite a bit.

G?G!: We’re both tearing up Seattle on Saturday night! What’s next for you all afterwards? C: We’re going on our own tour in September! It’ll be a week long run down the west coast kinda like your current tour.

G?G!: Great! We hope you make lots of new friends and enjoy your first tour!

giraffes? giraffes!
pic credit Heather Schofner

curse league

curse league pic credit David Mailhot


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