An Interview with The Curls at Pitchfork Music Festival

Author: Zach Adams

 

Though they were the very first act to grace one of Pitchfork’s stages this year, the Curls were one of the festival’s most exciting. With five full-time members – Mick, Jenny, Anna, Rami, and Carl – and an ensemble of many more, the Curls’ mantra certainly includes friendship and camaraderie. Fresh off the heels of last November’s Super Unit, the Curls will be hitting the road this August and bringing their fully fledged, high energy show to audiences around North America. WSUM caught up with the Curls after their performance on Friday; check out what the five-piece “Super Unit” had to say below.

Can you guys tell us how you all met and what inspired you to start the Curls?

Mick: I think three of us at least basically met through playing open mics in Chicago. And then through that, we met more friends. And then I met Jenny, who is actually my wife now. When we were recording our first record, my best friend Chris introduced us. And then I met Rami through some other friends that played music…and then we were a unit after that. And then we met more friends – as you can see on stage, many friends. And yeah, it just keeps growing, I guess.

This next question is for Anna. You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that you grew up in the church as well as with musical theater. How did these two life experiences help forge the musician that you are today?

Anna: I think that it really gave me a love for, (a), vocal harmonies, which obviously we really incorporated those into our performance. I just really love harmonizing and it’s super fun to be able to incorporate that on the big stage. And then also musical theater really gave me a love for the “drama” of theater and the performance aspect of it. And so, I think that’s been an awesome thing to be able to do with the Curls – to, like, “put on” a full performance, and really make it a show that’s different from what you’d hear on the album.

Can you tell us what went through your minds during that performance and how it felt to be on that Pitchfork stage?

Jenny: Yeah, well before we went on there actually, we were in the green room and kind of ruminating on this experience. It remined me a lot of when Mick and I got married last summer, because the anticipation building to this really big day, and you’re putting all this work in to make sure you have this amazing event. And you’re a little bit afraid, but you’re also really excited to celebrate with all your friends. So it was like a very happy nervous energy, I would say.

Mick: Yeah, I just felt like my head was gonna explode. And then once we were on stage, it was just like a party. And then the rain came through and I was just like, “this is interesting, I hope the whole stage doesn’t explode.” But I think there was, um…I don’t know, there was a lot of energy on that stage. I feel pretty jacked up still, right now, doing this. So, it was pretty amazing.

Rami: Aw, man. Well for me, uh, yeah, I mean…it was just cool to see everybody rockin’ out, you know? Look around and see everybody gettin’ down. And that’s a great feeling, and then it just makes you wanna have fun.

Carl: Oh yeah. So yeah, when that rain started coming down, ooooooh! I knew I had to go get a towel right afterwards to wipe down the drum set.  

Anna: I think it’s also, like, having been in Chicago for a while, I’ve been to Pitchfork the past four years. And so, it was really exciting to be playing at this festival where I’ve seen so many of my favorite musicians. It was a trip.

Now, you talk about it being a trip – was that how you all felt when you found out that you were playing Pitchfork? Can you guys walk through what was going through your minds during that moment?

Anna: Mick texted me and I thought he was joking. Like I did not think it was real. And I don’t think I actually believed it was going to happen until we were actually on stage playing.  

Jenny: Yeah, when Mick sent me the screenshot of the email from Pitchfork asking us if, “oh, would you guys like to play? Are you available?”, I think I called him within 20 seconds already in tears and sobbing. Like, “are you serious? Oh my God!” And just standing on the street corner in the middle of the day looking like a crazy person bawling on the phone. But, not that long ago we were just saying to each other almost jokingly, like, “oh, by 2020, surely by 2020 we’ll play Pitchfork.” And, here we are two years before that and it just happened.

Mick: Yeah, I’ll just add real quickly, when I found out. First of all, it was really funny because it was a one-sentence email, which I thought was pretty interesting. It was just like, “hey, would you like to play Pitchfork…” But yeah, basically I was in my underwear and I just started running around my apartment with my dogs, screaming. And then I got really quiet and started feeling a weird sense of dread. But that was all a race today, I think. It was really great, it was a good experience.

So what’s in store for the future? What do you guys have planned? What’s coming up in 2018, 2019, and beyond?

Mick: Yeah, so we’re going on tour next month for over two weeks. We’re gonna be all over. We’re gonna be in Canada, New York City, down South a little bit. So, we’re gonna be touring, and then we got a new record that’s almost done, and that’s gonna be out in 2019 at some point. So, hopefully a lot of big things. Hopefully we’ll be playing Coachella and Lolla – lollapluhpluh and all of the great fests! Hopefully they’ll be knocking on our doors soon. So that’s our plan, I think. And a lot of videos, too, we’ve been working on a lot of cool videos. A lot of content coming out soon.

 

RAPID FIRE

 

  • Anna’s guilty pleasure: Ordering Taco Bell via Postmates
  • Jenny’s top place that she’s always wanted to visit: the Grand Canyon
  • The grossest thing that Mick’s ever eaten: “One time I made a spam taco and it was terrible.”
  • The best concert that Rami’s ever been to: Kenny Garrett at the jazz showcase
  • Carl’s favorite album of the year so far: “Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits that they put out every year.”

Listen to the full interview with The Curls below!