The Chelsea Curve interview

The Chelsea Curve are a mod-pop trio inspired by their home of Boston, USA and British mod culture with clear intentions of breaking all the rules and playing by their own! The release of their debut album All The Things is 13 tracks of hard edged, infectious, energetic, fast tempos with clear references to punk and Mod revival, layered with melodic harmonies sugar coated with 60s vibes. They have acquired the services of our good friend Rod Spark (Shadowland, Organized) on hammond organ on many of the tracks and have secured gigs in the UK alongside Sharp Class. The band have been recently featured on The Glory Boy Mod Radio Show and the album was well received by the listeners. These guys are definitely ones to watch out for and of course we wanted to get to know them a little better. We our honoured to feature them in an exclusive interview below.

A band from the USA inspired by the music and subcultures of Great Britain. How did it all begin?

LINDA: It started for me after seeing the movie HELP as a kid. At that point, I was hooked on the UK and only became more so as a teenager discovering all these fantastic bands. The Jam, The Buzzcocks, The Clash, et al. were the soundtrack of my life when I first picked up a bass. Throw in the sense of British style, wit and humor and the whole package floored me.

RON: I suppose we’re all Anglophiles at heart. Growing up listening to everything from the original punk bands like the Pistols and the Clash, to the post-punk sounds of Joy Division and The Cure to all the great stuff still getting pumped out of England today like Idles. The sounds of England are as much a hard influence on us our American bands. Pop culture too: Doctor Who to Monty Python to Downtown Abbey. I suppose we can live without the marmite though.

Gives us an insight into the band’s beginnings leading up to the release of your beautiful album “All The Things”

LINDA: Tim and I had played together in a punk band that had run its course. I then began writing material in a different direction, more mod-like, when I needed a guitarist to flesh out my songs. I wanted a guitar player like Tim, so I just asked Tim and happily he said “yes”. Ron fell into the scheme at just the right moment, and The Chelsea Curve switched on in 2019. Out of the gate, we were lucky enough to get asked onto the Whistlestop Tour made up of fellow New England bands as a way to set up shows in other markets. It was brilliant and lasted all of 2 shows before Covid hit and live music came to a halt. So we switched gears and went hard at writing and recording, and at the same time hooked up with new label Red on Red Records. We then hatched The Singles Scene, a release of monthly singles spanning 8 months in 2021. We collected the 8 singles, along with a set of newly recorded songs, and “All The Things” came to be this past March (2022)!

How do you approach your song writing process and what or where do you find inspiration from?

TIM: Linda’s the idea person, she comes up with all sorts of ‘nuggets’ to start with. She and I usually focus on writing and recording demos, critiquing them, and re-recording them until there’s structure in place. Then we bring in Ron for his input and arrangement ideas.

LINDA: I don’t agonize as much over writing as I did at first. I’ll come up with a musical hook or idea along with a hummed melody, and then build from that, eventually fitting the words into the rhythm of the hook. Inspiration comes when I am able to uncrowd my mind, usually when I’m walking my dog. Lyric-wise, I tend to write a lot about dualities and contrasts: failure and success; bravery and fear; love and frustration; and of course, nothing going on and all the things!

Our good friend Rod Spark features on various tracks playing the Hammond organ. How did the connection between you both come together and how difficult was it to collaborate virtually from Boston to Scotland?

LINDA: Rod is our secret weapon and head of The Chelsea Curve Mod Squad! I had seen a video of one of his previous bands that he had posted to an online mod group, loved everything about it and commented so! He, in turn, asked what’s The Chelsea Curve and thus our friendship was born. He dug the singles we had been releasing EVEN if they didn’t have a Hammond organ, so I called him on it and happily he became part of the new recordings for the album. The musical collaboration was easy! We sent Rod demos of a couple of songs and told him to do his thing. I just knew that he was legit, kept the faith and he delivered! As for the technical mumbo jumbo, I let our engineer whiz Mike Quinn sort that out with Rod and magically it was done!

TIM: Linda’s the one who started corresponding with Rod. He’s been a strong supporter! He’s just a really nice guy; easy to talk to, and easy to work with – and a fantastic Hammond player!

We swapped some messages with him and did a zoom call to talk through some ideas. He came back with an amazing amount of material!

Pick two tracks from the album and tell us the meaning and inspiration behind them?

LINDA: ‘Do All The Things’ is a definite reaction to not being able to do much during the pandemic. It’s about wanting to do everything – all the time, all at once, no matter what – but driving yourself crazy by overloading. We all had to pause doing things we love – playing shows, traveling, going out, etc., and I was thinking about making up for lost time and just doing EVERYTHING!

In contrast, ‘Top It Up’ is about being mostly content to be at home, hitting the pause button on everything and doubling up on the good stuff. And giving permission to myself to take a break and enjoy stuff, however mundane it may seem. Truth be told, when the pandemic restrictions started, I welcomed the break from it all and just being at home hangin’ with my dog and writing songs. But even all that good stuff gets old after a while; that’s why the last line of the song was changed from ‘I’m going home’ to ‘NOT going home!’

RON: Linda writes all the words, but I can attest to the pandemic being a definite influence on songs like ‘Do All the Things’ and ‘Nuthin’ Goin’ On’. We couldn’t play out, couldn’t see local or touring bands and got sick of waiting for life to resume. You can sense that bottled frustration/energy in several of these tracks.

TIM: ‘Inconceivable’ is right in our mod/pop sweet spot. Our working title was ‘WWPWD’ – ‘What Would Paul Weller Do?’ – and we had that in mind all the way through the writing and recording. The first part is more like The Jam version of Weller, and in the second part we gave a little nod to ‘60s soul, a little bit Weller’s Style Council. And there’s an overall edge, the way we like it.

‘Top It Up’ actually started life a couple years back as a mid-tempo jangler. But when we really got down to writing, Chelsea Curve-style, we liked it better as a pub-rockin’ rave-up and ran with it. We wanted it to be a fun number that sticks in your head when you leave the club. We’re hoping to hear some Hey-O’s out in the street after the show.

Describe the band’s sound and image and if you were to compare it to another then who would it be?

RON: The sound is nothing overly manufactured, but more organic. While all three of us have common bands we like (The Jam, The Clash, Ramones), we each bring our own set of bands to the table. It’s those non-common influences which gives us the unique sound. You can tell when a band’s members all have the same favorite band. They sound like a rip-off that band. You can’t say that about The Chelsea Curve.

TIM: We get a lot of comparisons to The Jam, and we encourage that. Our musical style, individually and together, is pretty aggressive. We were all punk rock kids and that’s still in our DNA. But we’re also embracing Mod style. I like the contrast of playing loud and fast while looking sharp in our finery and footwear.

We’re not looking to get pinned down to one band or genre. We’ve got a lot of influences that feed into our sound. We like mod, we like punk, we like pop, and all those things will continue to be in there.

LINDA: A recent review of “All The Things” described us as “Kinda like The Muffs took on Elvis Costello as an additional member.” And I rather like that! As for our image, we’ve definitely lifted the mod aesthetic of look sharp and act flash!

The Chelsea Curve, What does it mean?

LINDA: I heard the term ‘the Chelsea curves’ on the radio traffic report referring to a treacherous section of roadway outside of Boston (in Chelsea). I liked the way it sounded; it had a British ring to my ear, and it just fit the band. Plus, I thought the name would resonate both with the kid in the UK, as well as, here in Boston.

Inspired by bands of British Invasion, Mod and punk how well is your music received in the USA or would you say your fan base is more UK and Europe based?

LINDA: Great question and we’re still figuring this out. Thanks to internet radio stations we’re seeing charts in markets from the US to Asia, but the UK market is a strong second to the US. It always makes me especially happy when I see a new UK station add us! Shout out to Leeds!

RON: I think both sides of the drink are responding well. And other markets as well. The new record is being played in Australia, France and even Japan. So hopefully our appeal is a bit more global than we originally had hoped. It’s been fun to see.

Can we expect a UK tour to promote the album?


LINDA
: Yes! We are popping over in May for a few shows at the Liverpool International Pop Overthrow Festival, and a rager at The Dublin Castle in Camden Town on May 20th with our mod-brothers Sharp Class! We also hope to be back again later this year, possibly for a few Scotland shows and to cross paths with Rod Spark!

Tickets On Sale

TIM: Spread the word!

What do you hope the future holds for the band as you start your journey as a band?

LINDA: I hope we can connect with other bands making the scene like Len Price 3, The Courettes, French Boutik, to name a few. I’d love to share a tour with them and even collaborate! Call me!

TIM: Musically, we’re going to keep expanding and experimenting. At its core, our sound will always have an edge, but we’ll keep looking for ways to put a twist on that and add something interesting that might be more than expected.
As a band, we’re gonna put the pedal down; we’re looking to do all the things. More releases, more new material, more live shows, more touring. It’ll be busy – we’re hoping to be unavoidable!

RON: We’ve spent a lot of time writing and recording, and not nearly as much time being on the road. 2022 is about getting out in front of a live audience as much as possible. We’ll be seeing more markets this year, including a few US mini-tours and possibly another trip to Europe.

What would you like to say to the radio stations and supporters that have supported the band so far? and please feel free to mention anything further you wish to.

LINDA: Cheers to all our supporters, from the DJs to the press to the fans. Whether having a chat at show with a new fan or reading a good review or hearing one of our songs on the radio, it rocks our world! Thank you.

Image credit The Chelsea Curve & Red On Red Records

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