Meet The Band: Cursus

Artificial Head Records
The San Antonio doom duo Cursus are this week’s featured Meet The Band artist. They just released their self-titled debut album. Vocalist/guitarist CJ Duron introduces us to his band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Cursus.
CJ Duron: Cursus is a duo featuring me (guitar/vocals) and Sarah Roork (drums). We began in the beginning of 2013 with the intent of creating a heavy, meditative space for us to experiment with audio textures. We started with drums and bass, then later switched to guitars with bass frequencies. Drone instruments and oscillators were added to create swelling soundscapes. The music began to progressively get heavier as we went along.

Describe the song writing and recording process for your self-titled album.
Most of our song writing come from jam sessions and finding grooves we identify with. We used our basement as our recording space to capture the environment we’re used to working with. With the help of our close friend Chris Dillard, who has been around since our inception, we were able to capture the tone of the album we were looking for. We then added backing vocals and some synth to post production.

What is your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
My strongest memory of recording the album was creating the atmosphere in the room. Our shows are very much a spiritual ritual for us. A dark candle lit room and copal incense bring us into a place in our heads where we can truly channel the energy we want to permeate the music.

How would you describe its style/sound?
It reminds me of the beginning of a tribal ritual. Rhythms that build, and slowly pierce a depth of consciousness that you were unaware of, revealing layers of yourself that unfold as the music does. It is interesting to hear the imagery we conjured up in our audience after a performance. A guy recently to referred to us as “spiritual doom.”

How did you come to sign with Artificial Head Records?
We were introduced to label head, Walter Carlos, through a festival in Houston where we caught his attention. He later booked us on future gigs and a small tour with his band Funeral Horse. We discussed a record release after he felt like he wanted to capture a good vinyl recording featuring the last few years of song writing. A four song demo release was put out by ourselves in 2013 titled Summer Solstice Sessions previous to that point.

What are your expectations for the album?
I would like to reach a wide variety of listeners. Our influences range from goth/industrial to world music to punk and metal. I like to think that you can hear the mix in the music and that it crosses genres in a lot of ways. We hope the album ends up in the hands of people who appreciate the of layering of styles.

What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We play live locally and regionally on a regular basis. We tour the West Coast often and will head that way again in June 2017, and we plan to tour the East Coast for the first time in August. We love playing festivals that feature different styles of music. We will be visiting Europe soon if plans work out for us.

What has been your most memorable Cursus live show or tour? The U.S spring tour of the West Coast we did in 2016 was our favorite so far. People were very welcoming in their cities. Not to mention that the coastal area was a great breath of fresh air to us land locked folk. We have not toured the East Coast yet, but we hope the tour goes just as well. We love traveling and touring. The experience definitely shapes our outlook on music in general.

One of the pros of being a duo is you only have to split the money two ways. Are there any cons?
We don’t split the money, it all goes back into the band. It is more difficult to get everything done with only two people, but we try not to think about the negative. If there are issues that come up, it is way easier to have one person to consult rather than getting a few people to agree. I guess If I had to think, I would say there is only the two of us that load and unload the equipment for the most part so It can be a pain, but it’s part of the show.

What’s the heavy music scene like in San Antonio?
San Antonio has a great mixture of heavy music and raw talent. it is seriously drenched in the sweat of the people who create it. You can genuinely see someone’s soul through their performances here. The kind of thing that makes your skin crawl.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Some heavier stuff we listen to lately would be Auric and Lament Cityscape. We both will tend to listen to a lot of classic rock. Budgie, Thin Lizzy and Bad Company are a few older groups that we play that continue to remind us of why we do what we do.

People tend to ask us how we make the dynamic work as a couple in a band. The best answer I have is that it is rooted in our true love of music. You start to love something so much that the tough times that come along, don’t matter.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
We will be promoting our new self titled release the summer of 2017. We have several videos for this album which we have two so far. One titled “ Her Wings Covered the Sky” and “ Trail of Tears” which we will share soon. The release is also available for digital download. We are currently writing a follow up album. Hope to see good people out on the road soon! Find us on Bandcamp and Facebook.

(interview published April 29, 2017)

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