Hailing from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, metalcore band The Blessing Of This Curse are making their name known, only two years after their first shows. The five-member act, comprised of Ethan Kennedy (vocals), Joey Galleta Jr. (guitar/vocals), Blake Van Curen (bass), Branton Shpilevsky (keys/synth), and Jake Fletcher (drums), have already had a great start to 2015. Their second EP, Separate Yourself, was released in the beginning of January, and is being played on New Jersey radio stations.
Now, preparing to begin the writing and recording process again, The Blessing Of This Curse came together to discuss their latest release, the state of the local music scene, and look toward what’s coming next.
Last month, you guys released your second EP, Separate Yourself. How was recording different the second time around?
Jake Fletcher: What was definitely different with this one is there were real drums, it wasn’t a program. We worked with the very professional audio engineer who really took the time to really make sure that everything was coming together really well. He helped us work with structure; he even made beats from scratch for us. Everything was just very professional for this; well kept and well organized.
Joey Galleta Jr.: With this EP, as opposed to the last one, pretty much everything he [Jake] said, but also it was a lot more of a collaborative effort in all areas. The producer we were working with, he’s a good friend of ours, so everything was very stress-free and we were really able to take the time that we needed to make sure everything sounded really good. There was no pressure at all. Whereas, with the last one, there was a little bit of pressure and it took a long time to get the songs back. It just wasn’t as good of an experience but this time around everything about it was great and we would love to do it again.
All of you are college students, and also have other part-time jobs. Is it difficult to keep the band going among your other commitments?
JF: For me personally, one thing I’ve noticed within the group is we all have pretty much the same goal. We all are striving to get to the same point with our music and we a show, booking somewhere, whatever the issue is we find a way around it. Even with failure we push through it and keep going. Same with school, or work and all that stuff, we find ways to just work with it and just keep the path going.
JG: Because we all care about it a lot, we all love playing music, we’ve already invested so much time, effort, money, you name it, we’ve invested our whole lives into it for that past couple years. And it’s like whenever we’re met with some sort of problem we toss it and find a way to get through. Even with school and work we make our lives work and so we can do it. I feel like if you really care about something then you can make it happen. And part of that is making sacrifices but if you care about something it’s worth it.
That’s awesome! Now, you guys have performed with countless bands, including I See Stars back in December. What was it like working with some of these bands?
JG: We’ve gotten to talk to a good amount of the bands we’ve played with. Some of them keep their distance, kind of go up and play and then go back in their bus. But it’s been really cool. There are a lot of bands we’ve played with that I never thought we’d play with at all. But more than playing with a big band, what’s more important to me is the fact that they’re drawing bigger crowds, and that’s more people who also get to see us. It’s cool to say I’ve played with I See Stars or whatever, but it’s more important that they drew more than 300 people there and we were able to play to a huge crowd. And I think that’s part of it: bigger bands, bigger crowd, and more exposure, which helps overall. And as an added bonus, we can put on our record that we played with so-and-so band.
What would you guys say are some of the most memorable things the band has done so far?
JG: My favorite accomplishment out of everything, well there’s two. One would be when we played at Eat Your Heart Out Festival last year with Whitechapel and Thy Art Is Murder. It was really cool. We’ve never played something on such a large scale when it comes to the stage we played on, the sound there, and the crowd we played in front of. We were treated like an actual band and not some stupid local band at a show. And also being on 89.5 FM WSOU is really cool too.
Ethan Kennedy: We’ve gotten a lot more views on our pages definitely through that [WSOU]. And one of our friends was talking to me a couple weeks ago and he goes, “Dude, I’m actually getting fucking sick of hearing you guys on the radio. I hear you all the time.” And I said, “Honestly dude, that’s hilarious.” I never thought we’d be in that position, especially with the music that we play.
Blake Van Curen: Probably, also when we had [people] hitting us up on YouTube from different countries, like Ireland. This one guy comments on everything. We’ve had some from Brazil. We’ve had a lot of support from everywhere, which is kind of cool so far.
JF: Definitely, being on the radio was cool. I never thought that that would be a thing. I guess when I look back on this, it’s not just one memory. There’s a lot of experiences, a lot of bands that we’ve met that I never thought would happen. One in particular would be Eat Your Heart Out Fest for me, because a lot of my favorite bands were on there.
That’s all really impressive! The band also has a show with Fit For An Autopsy on Feb. 1. Are there any other concerts coming up?
JF: We have a couple opportunities, but none are really confirmed. So right now, Fit For An Autopsy is our main one. We’ll be playing with some friends. We’ve played with Fit For An Autopsy like three times, which is always fun; they’re some cool dudes. It should be a good time.
JG: We don’t really have too many shows booked right now. But that’s okay, because in a couple months we’re going to start recording again. So we’re focusing on writing. So no other shows besides that right now.
How do you guys feel about the New Jersey local music scene as a whole right now?
EK: I think the New Jersey local scene, for metal at least, I don’t know about other genres, but I think that it’s just that a lot of people don’t come out and support anymore. It’s hard to get people to come out to local shows when you’re not playing with a big band. We get a lot less ticket sales. It has gotten better, but there’s still not much support other than a couple people.
JG: I’ve got a bit of a more positive spin on it. I mean, he [Ethan] is right, it is hard to get people to come to the shows. But at the same time, we’ll see the same faces at our shows, more so recently, ever since we released the EP we’ve seen a lot of the same faces, a lot of people singing the lyrics, which is cool. But as far as the scene as a whole, there are a lot of really talented bands, but there are trendy things that people will follow. I guess you could say that about anything but I don’t know.
The Blessing Of This Curse’s latest EP, Separate Yourself, is available now on iTunes and Bandcamp. For more information, you can visit facebook.com/theblessingofthiscurse.