Curxes: Synthpop for the disillusioned

We talk to Curxes whose second album, ‘Gilded Cage’, is out now.

Described by Mojo magazine as “Ideal synth pop for melancholics…”, Curxes aka Roberta Fidora is an electronic singer/songwriter musician residing in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, who writes and performs bleak and oblique choral post-pop songs.  Their recent offering In Your Neighbourhood was released on 6th October 2017 and is the first single taken from album Gilded Cage which was released digitally on 20th October 2017. 

We recently caught up with Roberta and asked her about Curxes story so far. 

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Roberta. Can you start off by telling me how Curxes came about?

I’d been in a slightly goth post-punk band previously and two of us decided to start Curxes because we wanted to experiment with electronic sounds using some songs I’d been writing at home as a template. Following his departure, I decided to continue on my own, shortly before moving to the Isle of Wight.

Who are your main influences?

I go through cycles with things depending on how I feel, but I’ve really been enjoying the recent output of Kelly Lee Owens, Liars, Colleen and Andrew Hung, plus a Shirley Collins documentary I saw a few days ago, which was joyous and heartbreaking all at once. Quite often, I’ll find something unexpected in film or visual art and that’ll spur me on to write something. I’ve also started going for more walks near where I live now that winter has arrived and that subconsciously ends up in songs too. It’s strangely comforting to wander around in the cold, picking up sea glass on a deserted beach. Maybe I’ll level up next year and buy a metal detector so I can find some proper treasure. I feel like once everyone’s done with regurgitating the 90s, metal detectors will be the next big thing. Imagine Sam Smith holding a metal detector on the cover of the NME, instead of his privates. I’d read that.

You supported Blancmange on their recent tour. How did that come about?

After the release of a few songs which are now on Precurxor, we were very kindly asked to support Blancmange at their Brighton Komedia gig in 2011 and I think I ate most of their leftover rider, which thankfully nobody seemed to mind.

Ahead of their new album Unfurnished Rooms, I got asked again and this time took a giant dancing bear along who has far more charisma than me (and appears as a small wooden finger puppet in the video for ‘In Your Neighbourhood’). Now I’m practically out of a job.

What can we expect next from Curxes?

I’m hoping to finish recording an EP plus a third album over the next few months, having messed around with a few of my vocal samples and pitched them so they sound like different voices. The EP is more solemn than ‘Gilded Cage’ but the album is very beat-orientated with distortion on everything, plus there’s a lot of melodic grunting. Grunts on all fronts. The other side of that, who knows.

Who do you admire? 

People who can answer questions succinctly and with unwavering confidence. Also my friends Deluxe Flamingos, who encouraged me to keep going with a second album and then co-produced it with me. It’s admirable when people go out of their way to help others and actually stick at something.

What’s your songwriting process?  

It’s taken different forms at different times. Sometimes, it’s been filtered to a degree where I’ve lost confidence in myself and questioned my own creative contribution and intent and, other times, it’s been recorded so that the best ideas come to the front and then people don’t really believe I’ve had any part in it. As a result, I think I’m quite hesitant as a musician but perhaps more so as a woman. It seems that a lot of people are intimidated or threatened by female creativity and they’ll try to project their insecurities onto you. I’m still learning that I don’t have to be apologetic about everything and that I’m allowed to take credit for my work, but I’m still a little secretive when I write and wait until no-one is around to try out certain concepts. Generally though, I’ll hum or talk into my phone like a budget Dale Cooper (from Twin Peaks), later using that to compose sections with an electronic organ sound or singing a melody using Reason software, then I’ll structure the parts in the program, pitch the vocals in different places and decide on some rough sounds before getting an outside opinion on the whole arrangement. I prefer to work on my own up until that point. Sometimes, if an idea is binned at an early stage and you don’t see it through, you can lose something that might have been useful or ripe for developing further down the line. An Oblique Strategy later and it could’ve been your best song. Or something that makes you laugh, at the very least.

Roberta, thank you for talking to us at We Are Cult. We look forward to hearing what you do next. 

‘Gilded Cage’, the second album by Curxes, is out now: Listen at Amazon, AWABandcamp, DeezerGoogle PlayiTunes/Apple Music, Music Glue and Spotify, among many other digital stores. If you’d like to find out more please visit: 

Ange Chan is a poet and novelist.  Her fourth poetry collection “Fame; What’s Your Name?” and her second novel “Baby, Can You Hear Me?” were both published in paperback and Kindle in 2016.  

Her latest poetry collection “Songs of Sorrow and Heartbreak” was published in October 2017 and her  third novel “Champagne Flutes and Pixie Boots” will be published in 2018.  

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