Tom Curless is the progenitor and leader of indie pop/rock outfit Your Gracious Host. Songs of Movement is his first proper solo effort going out under his own name. It will be released on Futureman records on June 29th, 2018.
Smart lyrics, catchy melodies, a flock of high-quality songs. Make sure you catch this one!
The biggest fun making the new record came when I recorded the song “Oceans of Love” in Chicago. I had no plan to record the track, really all I had was the verse and a general idea of the melody. I was playing it between takes of another song we were doing and Brian Leach who was recording, (and is also a musician, and former bandmate), liked it and he said: “what is that?” I said, “Oh its nothing” and he said, “No, that is really cool, we should work on that”. We went with it and the next thing you know we had the whole basic track recorded that day, it just took on a complete life of its own. We must have spent a few hours on it but it was so fun because the creative juices were flowing- it felt like 5 minutes.
A song I wish I wrote is a song called Easter Theatre by XTC on their Apple Venus Vol 1 record. Something about that song gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, the words, the melody, the orchestration, particularly the coda.
There is something so majestic about it, and that is hard to achieve. Just super melodic and it checks all my boxes. A very close second is Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd. I love the huge guitar riff, the stomping beat and the menace of the lyrics. That song is a perfect example of the great writing combination of Waters and Gilmour.
Music has always been pretty important to me as long as I can remember. I have very early memories listening to my siblings’ record collection and being mesmerized by Led Zeppelin 4. Back before the internet, it felt like this whole other powerful thing coming into my quiet suburban home in New Jersey. I would turn on the stereo and crank it up and get lost in the music.
I remember the first record I bought with my own money was Queen “A Night at the Opera” at Scotti’s in Summit NJ and I completely wore it out. I was so excited to get it home. I still own it, and it has my name written on it in my 10-year-old handwriting.
If the budget was unlimited for the next record, I would hire Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham and fly to England to camp out and record at Abbey Road Studio 2. I remember back in the early to mid 80’s, all my favorite bands/artists were recorded by either Steve Lillywhite, Hugh Padgham, or both.
I have also always fantasized about recording an album at either Abbey Road or the Manor (Richard Branson’s studio). Who hasn’t? The problem would be we would not get any work done because I would keep asking them about all the bands and albums they recorded!!!
The family birthday question is a classic. I think any artist gets tired of answering the “Oh, you are a musician? What kind of music do you play??” Like they want a quick one sentence capsule of every aspect of your art. I always struggle because some people don’t understand the “power pop” tag, they just hear “pop” and think it is really light music when really some of my songs are quite heavy in a way. I adore Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren, and The Police but I also love bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, and Van Halen.
So, there really is this yin/yang between super melodic and heavy guitars in many of my songs. Sometimes they may be in the same song. It can be hard to explain because it isn’t just one thing. The early Your Gracious Host records are a bit more acoustic/mellow because I didn’t have the right electric guitars and amps at the time. Once I got the right gear look out I was ready to crank it up!