Tom Lainchbury

Interview: The Great Curve talk headlining Evolution Emerging, their debut EP, and Lenny Henry…

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For a band who choose “really unprofessional like” when asked to describe themselves in three words, things seem to be going pretty well for The Great Curve. Having released their debut EP, EP1, at a hugely successful gig at Ouseburn Valley last month, the Newcastle based band have been selected to headline Evolution Emerging at The Cumberland Arms this week (May 23).

Over the river at Newcastle music venue The Cluny, the band seem right at home in the busy bar as they recall finding out the news. Pint in hand, vocalist Mick Rolfe describes their surprise at discovering they’d be headlining: “It was a big surprise, it was nice just to have our application accepted, but when we got the email saying we were headlining… We were delighted.”

A popular destination for musicians, The Cluny is bustling with members of other bands chatting; The Great Curve seem in their element. Enjoying the atmosphere of the bar, which the band frequent often, Mick points out that he lives just up the road, and there’s a very local feel to the band. Being a little older than some of the up and coming bands, the quintet know the music scene well.

The band are keen supporters of the scene in the North East, and are pleased it’s doing well at the moment. “There’s a really positive vibe around, lots of people seem to be helping each other out, you see different bands knocking about together and it’s really nice. I remember growing up it was a bit back-stabby, everyone wanted to be better than each other, but it’s much more supportive now,” says Mick.

Guitarist Chris Wallace adds: “It’s nice to see the North East getting some national attention too, not just in the local music scene, but Newcastle as a city for music too. There’s a definite scene here at the moment.”

The band’s North East roots even go as far as their name, The Great Curve being a reference to a road in Newcastle. “The Great Curve is a Talking Heads song, but it’s also a reference to Grey Street. It was named the most graceful curve in Britain, and I love the buildings and architecture of Newcastle,” says Mick.

The band have a very laid back attitude to their music, and place a large focus on finding their own identity. “We set out to sound totally different to how we do. We had this idea of being “not a guitar band” but with line up changes and time spent writing together we kinda found that we’re good at being a guitar band!”

Mick remarks how the word influences is often used in the music industry to say that a band sounds like someone else: “We don’t consciously try to sound like anyone else, which is why it’s so hard to pinpoint who our influences are, but we are inspired by other artists. Neil Young and Jeff Tweedy in particular, and Queen and Freddie Mercury for me personally.”

Bassist Jim Bowmaker recalls how his inspiration came at a younger age: “I always wanted to play a musical instrument, I can remember walking round as a kid with a toy guitar, and from then on I always wanted to be a musician.”

Not willing to miss an opportunity to promote their debut EP, Chris jokingly describes their new release as “only 3 or 4 pounds, available at all good retailers!” Mick adds: “It’s quite melodic, it’s quite poppier sounding than where we currently are. You can tell it’s the same band but each song is stylistically different.” Chris continues: “Just last week we were in the studio and the sound we were getting was totally different, but we like it.”

As is important in the music industry, the band have a good sense of humour. In keeping with tradition, Mick drops a certain comedian in to the conversation about the band’s future: “Besides fame and fortune, I’d like to meet Lenny Henry!” Pressed on why, Chris explains: “We had a disastrous interview not so long ago, through no fault of our own, but we kept answering Lenny Henry to almost every question, and it’s become a bit of an inside joke, so we like to get him into our interviews when we can.”

They might consider themselves to be an unprofessional band, but if you find them at a Premier Inn in the near future, it won’t be because they’re looking for a good night’s sleep…

The Great Curve will be playing The Cumberland Arms at 10pm on Saturday May 23 as part of Evolution Emerging. Tickets £5.

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