We here at Nine Circles first met Curran recently while he was promoting the fantastic Eight Bells album Landless. Since then we have harassed him to no end, made fun of him and joked around (all in good fun). Curran is not only a publicist but has also played in multiple bands including Today is the Day, Wetnurse and currently Body Stuff. If you want to know more about Curran (which you should) you can check out his official website. Most importantly, Curran is a hardworking musician, publicist and general good guy that deserves a bit of attention and spotlight for all the work he does. So follow the jump to learn more!
How did you first get into being so involved in the music industry and have you achieved all your wildest dreams that you set out to achieve? How meteoric was your rise to the top?
I got into rock music very young. It began in the mid ’80s. The day my babysitter bought me Michael Jackson’s Thrilleralbum was a turning point, as was the day my sister bought me Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet tape, as was the night my mom took us to our first concert – Tina Turner. The MTV hits of the ’80s made a big impact on me. By age 10 I already felt like a pretty seasoned music fan. I got heavily into Pink Floyd and Metallica at age 10 and started learning to play drums. I’ve basically continued on this path ever since. My first taste of NYC music industry stuff was an internship at Matador Records while I was in college, and my first big music industry job was a year after college when I got hired to be the US publicist for Earache Records at their NYC office. Another big moment came years later when I was invited to be the drummer for Today Is The Day, a band I’d been a fan of since my teenage years. So yes, I’ve achieved a lot of wild dreams. I’ve been a musician, publicist, writer, and booker/promoter of shows, and in doing that stuff I have worked closely with many bands I love. I’ve toured the world. I’ve had my writing published in big magazines. I am completely self-employed. Meteoric isn’t the word. I’ve been marching forward slowly on this path since I was in elementary school.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get a site to review or interview a band on your label that you really cared about? Also feel free to reverse this question for any of the bands you were in: did you ever debase yourself to get on a show or in a magazine?
Ha! I would like to tell you I have bribed editors with carnal pleasures but no, I state my case to them, they take it or leave it, I state my case again if necessary, and that’s pretty much how it rolls. I’ve been a publicist for 16 years straight so my relationships with some of these guys and gals goes deep.
You spend a bunch of your time actually playing in bands as well as promoting other bands. Can you explain what it’s like to do PR for your own band and how that separation occurs? Anything exciting for your upcoming music project you want to reveal?
After leaving Today Is The Day in 2013, and with my other band Wetnurse quieted down, I put drums aside and started focusing on a solo project called Body Stuff. I say solo project because I am the songwriter and singer, but my friend Ryan Jones (who played with me in Today Is The Day and Wetnurse, and who now plays in Mutilation Rites) helps me record the music, and I have a live band consisting of Ryan and my other friends. I released the first, self-titled Body Stuff EP in 2013 and I just finished making the second EP. I would love to be represented by another publicist. I have never had that experience.
What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you (or do you at all) insert those issues into your writing/videos? Since I know you a bit, I would love for you to expound on politics in metal writing and how pervasive it has become lately for writers to judge bands so harshly based on their lyrics or personal lives.
As a songwriter and as a music listener, the most interesting issues to me are the personal ones, not the political ones. This is the stuff a person truly has the authority to sing about. As for music journalism, are you referring to writers calling out metal bands for their racist and sexist lyrics? This is an interesting one. I think old-school defenders of the genre’s traditions would say that metal should be a free space where ideas can be explored and this will include some very ugly ideas. Some people would say that art in general should be precisely this kind of free space where ideas can be explored. So I understand the feeling that a politically-correct agenda should not be applied to the critiquing of art. On the other hand, I think the journalists are simply asking questions about the art – “what did you mean by this, what did you mean by that?” It is a conversation and I am in favor of conversations. The inherent imbalance here is that white men in metal bands love to play the freedom-of-speech card but as white men they will never know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of some of that speech. As for the second part of your question, about band members’ personal lives being judged, I made the separation between art and artist at a young age. The art is its own thing with a life of its own. People are terrible, art is sacred. The movie Amadeus made a big impact on me as a kid and it addresses this subject well.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you?
I first became aware of heavy metal around 1985 by seeing Motley Crue, Ozzy, and Dokken videos on MTV. I didn’t like it at first, it looked like music for crazy people. By 1987, age 9, I had come to embrace what I had despised. My sister bought me Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet tape, then she and I split the cost of Europe’s The Final Countdowntape. By 1988 I was obsessed with Metallica, listening to …And Justice For All, start to finish, every single night. From there I went to bands like Jane’s Addiction and Sonic Youth. In the ’90s I got into hardcore and noise-rock and it was through these bands – Quicksand, Today Is The Day, Unsane, Karp, Converge, Coalesce, Inside Out, Buried Alive, and Acme were some of my favorites – that I got interested in metal once again.
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
I don’t understand this question.
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 label owner or PR guy?
I am not a label owner but I work with many of them as a publicist. My advice to all music critics and outlets is to write about the bands I rep!
Do you have a “day job” (e.g. where you wear a suit and get really mad at yourself for doing it?) and how much time and effort are you able to pour into your PR work on a daily basis? Any hobbies you’d like to share with us (e.g. dogs, cats, sports, drugs (since you worked at High Times and all), etc.)?
My PR work is my full time job. Outside of work, my #1 hobby is making the Body Stuff music. I also train in muay thai at the Renzo Gracie Academy, I do yoga, and I love film. I love New York City, where I’ve lived for almost 20 years, and I still get a lot of pleasure out of walking around the city.
Finally, what are some of your favorite current listening favorites (feel free to include non-metal)?
Since Christmas I have been on a major Gun Club kick. Mother Juno is my favorite album of theirs. Also, Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s solo album Wildweed has some gems on it. I generally dig a lot of pop, rock, techno, freestyle and rap that was made in the ’80s. As for current bands, I love all the bands I rep as a publicist. These are the bands I am closest with and most invested in. I am careful to try and work with bands I really dig. There’s too many to list. Some current bands I like that I don’t work with (yet?) are Artificial Brain, Unit 731, and Turnstile. I saw Steve Austin and Chris Spencer’s new band UXO the other night and they killed. I’m always psyched on whatever TV Baby is doing too. And various new pop and hip-hop shit.
Thanks for the interview!
Thanks so much to Curran for his time! Be sure to check out his bands and all the bands he promotes!