Northern New Jersey’s very own metalcore band This Curse not only released a stellar new album (From The Darkest of Places) last month, but they also sat down with us to talk about the process of creating it, their formation, and their ever-growing praise and attention — both online and as a local touring band. The group consists of five friends, five true to themselves rockers, who are ready to embark on a serious musical journey. They might only be a year or so old when it comes to performing as This Curse, but with Ethan Kennedy on vocals, Joey Galletta on vocals and guitar, Blake Van Curen on bass, Branton Shpilevsky on keys, and Jake Fletcher on drums, there is nothing stopping them from turning this past year into a lifetime of success.
Half a million streams for “Quicksand” on Spotify! That is amazing. Did you think that was going to happen?
Ethan- Thank you! We definitely did not expect that to happen. It was a slow build, but started when the song got placed on the official Spotify Metalcore playlist. From there, we saw an influx of listeners and followers which helped build our fanbase even further. Shout-out to Spotify for that one. It’s still a fan favorite live and we’re stoked that people continue to listen to it.
Why did you choose to release “Quicksand” as your first single?
Joey- “Quicksand” was originally released June 2016 on the EP, Emergence, when we were called The Blessing of This Curse. When we decided to change our name and re-brand this whole thing at the beginning of 2017, we thought it would be cool to re-release the song under the new name (This Curse) along with a music video. Since our new album wasn’t ready, it only made sense to help the transition with a song that people were already familiar with.
How did the five of you come to be? Was creating your alternative metalcore sound instantaneous upon your first jam session?
Joey- Ethan, Branton, and myself have been best friends since elementary school. We were all into bands and wanted to start our own in high school. We sounded a lot different then and we were playing under a different name, The Blessing of This Curse. We went to high school with Jake, so he joined us shortly after we started writing in 2012-2013. We met Blake in college and the lineup hasn’t changed since.
Ethan- It took us a long time to get to the sound that we have now. We released three EPs as TBOTC and we grew as songwriters from each one. When we decided to change our name and write a new album in 2017, we took everything we learned over the last five years or so and decided to really step out of our comfort zone in the process. I like to look at our first five years as Blessing as practice for what we’re doing now. We’re a lot older now from when we started and we’re thankful to have had the chance to experiment and figure ourselves out along the way.
What was it like to work with Ricky Armellino and Andreas Magnusson? How did that come about?
Ethan- Working with Ricky and Andreas was awesome. Ricky helped take our band to the next level vocally. That’s one of the reasons why we went to him. We formally met Ricky through our manager, but we had heard nothing but good things about him from our friends in Enochian, Gladiators, and other bands we know who have worked with him. He helped Joey and myself grow tremendously as vocalists with the way he pushed us. We couldn’t be more thankful for how much he put into this project with us.
Joey- Jake got to record all of the drums for the album at Andreas’ studio in Virginia. Andreas also mixed and mastered everything. Sonically, he mixed the album in a way that was both raw and in your face, but also polished and larger than life at times. Andreas and Ricky are good friends and have worked on numerous projects together, so having them both on board was great.
Let’s talk From the Darkest of Places. The recording process for this album must have been sick, as you have created a great and really different metalcore sound. What was the thought process like for this album as you began writing and going into the studio?
Joey- The process from start to finish took about a year and a half, and it was much more of an endeavor than anything we’ve done in the past. We wrote over 30 songs before narrowing it down to the final seven that made the album. Since this was our first official release as This Curse, we definitely felt some pressure to really give it our all with this and not settle for anything less than what we felt to be our best sound.
We tested out some of the songs live and revised everything over and over again. Once we got in the studio with Ricky to record the vocals, that felt like the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place and everything went very smoothly from there. I think it was at that point that we realized how different these songs were for us and we were really excited about that.
Your latest music video is for your song “Trauma Bond”, and it is directed really well. Where did the idea for it and the creation of it come from?
Ethan- The idea came from the theme of the song. It’s a story about a couple who continue to do things to each other that hurt their relationship, but at the same time they are afraid to break it off. There are situations where people become so used to the emotional/psychological/or even physical pain that their significant other causes, and it becomes all they know. The video shows the back and forth between the two characters and how it finally leads to one of them leaving. We were so happy to have Ricky Armellino and Lauren Kashan (Sharptooth) play the characters, and our videographer Eric DiCarlo at SquareUp Studios did an amazing job bringing it all to life.
Who are your inspirations when it comes to making music?
Joey- Our inspirations are really varied because we all listen to a lot of different stuff. For this release, I think collectively, we were influenced by bands that cover a lot of ground with their music. Bands like A Day to Remember, Dance Gavin Dance, Underoath, etc.
They all have a distinct sound, but it also varies in style from track to track. We may not necessarily sound like those bands entirely, but we were very influenced by the way they go about their songwriting. We get bored of doing the same thing over and over again, so we try to take a more dynamic approach to our writing.
You’ve been doing some touring lately, and continue to do some, with other awesome bands like Call It Home. What is that experience like for you guys?
Ethan- Touring is something that you’ll never fully understand as a band until you just get out there and do it. Many people and bands have this perception of touring, that it is all just one big party with shows every night — and that’s definitely not the case. It’s a lot of work and takes a whole lot of proper planning. Like every tour we’ve done, this last one with our friends in Call It Home was a major learning experience for us. Those guys were a great band to go out with and we had so much fun with them every night. The shows were awesome and it was really cool playing places we’ve never been before and being received well.
Like us, you come out of Northern New Jersey. Has New Jersey shaped your music or the band as a whole in any way?
Joey- Being in New Jersey has definitely played a role in our development as a band. There have been a lot of bands and people that we’ve met in this scene that have influenced us and helped us grow as a band. Not to mention the fact that New Jersey has a solid track record of amazing bands to come out of here: My Chemical Romance, Senses Fail, Thursday, etc. Seeing how bands from here have started from the bottom and worked their way up to great success is definitely inspiring for us.
With a new album that was just released and a tour underway, what can your fans and our readers expect from you in the future?
Ethan- We’re so happy the album is finally out and now it is time to put it in front of as many people as we possibly can. We’re going to be announcing a whole lot of shows, more tours, and we’re actually going to get back to writing very soon. There’s definitely going to be some music videos and other content coming as well. Make sure to follow us on all of our social media to stay updated with all of it.