We must note that this profile was mailed to Curtis and completed before he became a part of the Nine Circles crew. Curtis is such a good guy who works so tirelessly for mostly unsigned bands we figured, what the heck, let’s run the profile anyways and let him get a bit more exposure for his Canadian attitude and niceties. So, you probably know Curtis already from his work at Dewar PR, his writing for himself (and other sites) and, of course, his brilliant work for Nine Circles. So without further ado, here’s Curtis.
How did you first get into writing and promoting and have you achieved all your wildest dreams that you set out to achieve?
Well, I actually started writing when I was 19. I wrote a bunch of cruddy horror/fantasy stuff that got printed in some semi-pro zines and a few crappy websites. I didn’t get into writing about metal until 2012, which Is also the first year I got into metal promoting/marketing/PR.
With writing I was just persistent and kept submitting stories over and over again until someone finally decided they liked what I wrote. The first place I got published was a tiny horror zine called Spine Chiller and I got “paid” in contributors copies. I just kept persisting until I finally had someone decide that they were willing to pay me a few bucks for a story. I kept that up for a few years and then took a break from writing. Flash forward about 14 years and I started writing for a few metal blogs.
The PR/Marketing stuff kinda happened by accident. I somehow ended up making friends with someone who ran a metal PR company. He ended up needing help with a client and somehow I got the job. Things just snowballed from there and I ended up meeting more people, figuring things out and made this into a full-time job eventually.
While I can’t say that I’ve achieved my wildest dreams yet, I can say that I have met a ton of great people and that working in metal has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get a promo, guest list or interview that you really cared about? Or, in your case, what’s the most you have debased yourself to get a site to cover a band you were promoting?
Hmm… I don’t think I’ve ever debased myself for coverage or a promo. (Editorial Note: this is clearly not true)
You’re Canadian. Most of us are (thankfully) NOT Canadian. You recently had an election in Canada. Most Americans have no idea what occurred in that election and the rest of us just really don’t care. Can you tell us about the recent election and educate us please?
If I did your eyes would just glaze over with boredom
What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your work?
To be honest I try to keep my personal beliefs/issues separate from my work.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you?
Ah man, I think the first “metal” I actually heard was Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” when I was 8 years old. I loved it but didn’t really explore into metal any further until I was about 10 years old when I heard Stryper. I convinced my parents to buy me “To Hell With the Devil” and then got into progressively heavier stuff as time went on. My parents were hardcore Christian so I was only allowed to listen to Christian metal for a long time. In a way this was good as I didn’t get any objections for bringing home thrash and death metal albums as long as I got them from a Christian outlet. I went from Stryper to stuff like Deliverance, Vengeance Rising, the Lead, Believer etc.
The first non-Christian album I actually bought was when I was 15 and that was Megadeth’s Countdown to Extinction.
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
My daughter threw a bowl of ice cream at me, so probably then.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a promoter?
I think most do a great job, so I can’t really offer any criticism. The only thing that really bugs me is when a writer demands a physical copy of an album. I don’t mind being asked for one, the thing that bugs me is when a writer uses it as a threat. For example when someone says something like “No physical = no review”. Be nice when requesting a physical promo and you stand a much better chance of getting one.
Since you have children, and I don’t, it’s always interesting to me how parents choose to integrate their love of metal into the lives of their children. How do you personally do that and how do your girls take to the genre?
I have two kids: One girl and one boy actually. My daughter is 4 and my son is 2. Both of them seem to have mixed feelings about my music. When my daughter was 2 she really liked listening to music with me. Nowadays she hates pretty much all of my music except (weirdly enough) KISS and Twisted Sister.
My son has always kind of not cared about my music. He likes looking at magazines, CDs and tape covers, but listening to it seems to bore him
Finally, what are some of your favorite albums of 2015 (feel free to include non-metal)?
Ah man, there are quite I’ve really enjoyed, but off the top of my head:
- Satan’s Hollow-The Horror
- Stereo Nasty-Nasty By Nature
- William English-Basic Human Error
- Ghost BC-Meliora
- Venemous Maximus-Firewalker
- Europe-War of Kings
Thanks to Curtis (once again) for his time!