by Bret Miller
The duo of Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia has been making violently beautiful music as Curve since 1991. Previous to Curve, Garcia played bass on two Eurythmics tours and albums and it was through mutual friend Dave Stewart that Garcia and Halliday met. Soon after, Curve was created and they released three well-received EPs on Dave Stewart’s Anxious label. The three EPs were later compiled and released in 1992 as Pubic Fruit. That same year saw Curve release Doppelganger, which further earned them accolades for their combination of bass heavy electronic grooves, lush guitars and Halliday’s heavenly voice, the more experimental Cuckoo followed the next year. It would be four long years before Curve would return with their new album Come Clean, their sound still focusing on Halliday’s vocals but turning up the guitars and drum beats. Their harder edge was either an evolution or a step back according to who you talked to but true fans stuck with Curve through to today, another four years since Come Clean. Gift is their best sounding release to date, using Ben Grosse (Filter) as producer after a long relationship with co-producer Steve Osborne. Monti and Alan Moulder return on drums and guitar respectively while Flood adds “bleeps and analogs” and THE Kevin Shields plays guitars on Perish and Want More Need Less.
After tracking down their publicist at Universal, I was able to send them some questions via the blessed technology that is the Internet. Here is what Dean and Toni had to say.

Can you talk about the reason for the four years between the release of Come Clean and Gift? If so, what have you both been doing to keep busy (besides making another great album?)
(DEAN) The album was done and finished about a year after Come Clean but due to Universal takeovers and mergers we seem to have been last on the list as far as releasing anything, not our fault, Gift was waiting for a release for at least 18 months before we got the release deal with Hip-o. We are now completely free of contract with Universal and have already completed a new album with a street release planned around September of this year. So, in answer to your question we have been recording a lot, and eating quite a bit as well. (TONI) Yes we are finally free from Universal and we are already in talks with a new label for the European release of Gift as well as our new record, I think our fans across the world will see a marked difference in the way we release records from now on.
How did your approach to making Gift differ from making your previous albums?
(DEAN) All was done as we normally do at Todal, but I think we paid more attention to the song writing.
(TONI) Also we were a lot more optimistic from the start than we normally are.
What did Ben Grosse bring to the Curve sound?
(DEAN) He encouraged what was there without changing to much, adding drums and guitars, and working on the arrangements. I think Ben added most in the mix. It sounds different to previous albums; he has very good ears.
(TONI) We used Ben pretty much the same way as we have done with every other producer we've worked with but Ben really did change us when he got to the mixing stage, at some points it was quite frustrating because he takes a lot longer to mix than most mix engineers I know but after time and of course with hindsight it became quite evident that it was worth the extra work.
Tell us about your various guitarists and contributors on Gift, including Kevin Shields, and what they brought to making the album.
(DEAN) Kevin was invited over to play on a few tracks, we all love what Kevin does so we just let him do what he wanted and sorted it later. We hope to do more with him in the future as I think he really enjoys working with us, its all very mutual...I played a lot of the guitars and Alan Rob and Geno all made it sound proper.
Who are you planning to tour with in your band? Who are the bands you are touring with?
(DEAN) No plans to tour at this time, maybe later in the year but doubtful, if the releases do well it's more hopeful but it's not on the top of the list. It’s a shame as we both like to play live but as we have said over and over it has to be the right situation.
Who are some of your favorite musicians or bands, new and old?
Bands we like are Hives, BRMC, Daft Punk, White Stripes, Beatles, Pistols, Coldplay, U2, Cardigans, Massive Attack, Leftfield, Hardhouse, Beach Buggy, The Strokes and a ton of others...
What little tidbits of information can you give up about both of your personal lives? Fears, phobias, familial relations, new cars, read any good books or saw any good movies, favorite sports teams? What goes on in the day-to-day lives of Dean and Toni? Come on; throw us a bone here.
(DEAN) I am very claustrophobic, small enclosed places = death of mind control, also that feeling I sometimes get when going off to sleep, my body gets completely paralyzed and everything starts to spin very deeply, you have the feeling that if you let go you will most surely die so it takes all of your energy to try and shake yourself out of bursting out of a cocoon, glad you asked? Only book I've been reading is Flash 5 sad isn't it, I think I'm going to read Filth by Irvine Walsh soon.
(TONI) The sleeping thing that Dean gets is called sleep paralysis and it's quite common, I get it as well but now I know what it is it doesn't scare me. Fave books at the moment are "All families are psychotic" by Douglas Coupland, I also love "How to lose friends and alienate people" by Toby Young. The last good film I saw was "The Royal Tenenbaums" but before that "Lord Of The Rings" really rocked my world.
When will Curve be touring through Los Angeles? What can we expect from your show?
(DEAN) Tons of smoke and blinding white lights.

Toni, how do you and Dean relate while making music, do you have "roles" who does what?
We don't have any set roles apart from Dean plays bass and I sing, sometimes Dean gets more involved in the production side of things than me but that is usually because I get easily distracted by the phone and business stuff that Dean finds boring but I find quite interesting.
What is your relationship like outside of Curve, what can you appreciate about him as a person and not just as a musical partner?
Dean and I do socialize outside Curve but because we spend so much time together working it's a relief to get a weekend off to spend with your friends or family. The things I really appreciate about Dean are numerous and personal to me and that's how I would like to keep them.
Do you think your vocals and lyrics are better represented on Gift than on previous albums?
I've never really looked at it that way, I think all the records have had something unique about them and have reflected the times they were made in.
How has your approach as a singer changed since 1991?
With experience I've gained confidence in what I do and I'm a lot more decisive about how I can improve on that each time I write words or sing.,br> Have you ever considered working with anyone else besides Dean, going "solo" or is Curve more than enough for you to satisfy your musical/vocal jones?
Bret, I have done numerous side projects outside of Curve (look them up on the net).
What might you do musically if you didn't have Dean as a partner?
God knows, it's hard to speculate what might have been.
What do you contribute to the instrumental side of your music. Your CD says "guitar noise," do you consider yourself a pretty good guitarist (as well as an excellent singer)?
I'm an absolutely disastrous guitar player but I'm pretty good at smashing their brains in.
Who are some of the singers you grew up with and what did you take from them that made you the singer and performer you are today?
I grew up with all the singers my mum liked, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Melanie and of course The Beatles and The Stones with a bit of The Kinks and T-Rex for good measure. My personal taste as I grew up was Blondie, Penetration, Fleetwood Mac and of course The Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Dean, how have you changed as a bassist and musician since your first album in 1991?
Not much, I still only use the bottom string, and only really like it when it’s turned up very very loud.
How has your approach to making a Curve album changed since then? What instruments and electronic equipment have you stuck with or changed over the years and how has that affected making music?
The approach is the same, get into the studio and start recording. It's the only way we know how. We have always used tech to help out, mainstays are the samplers pedals and moog, The last lot of writing has been recorded on the pro tools which opens up a lot of space for a band like us....We always like to use new 'things' when recording, along with some very noisy bass.
Your "group" consists of a singer and a bassist. How do you think this combination makes Curve's sound fresh and unique? What is your music making dynamic?
The bass and voice have always worked well together, we write a lot from the bass upwards...once we have a good bass line Toni responds exactly right to it...we normally have a rough of the whole song very quickly before we begin to put things around it....I don't know if we are unique, I'm sure a lot of other songwriters’ work in the same way, you have the core writer’s chemistry where people relate subconsciously to each other’s ideas. We allow each other to express whatever we want.
What is your relationship with Toni like outside of making music? What is it about her personally that you can appreciate outside of Curve?
Toni is always good to talk to in or outside of Curve, we both have very involved lives outside of what we do as Curve so we tend to support each other in personal ways. Toni is my friend first regardless of what happens to us as Curve. I most appreciate that she is there with us all at the end of a phone line 24 hours a day.
Do you follow new trends in music and what of these trends do you include in your songs?
No, we listen but never copy or follow trends, we don't want to sound like anyone else.
Who are some of your favorite bassist/musicians new and old and how have they influenced you to be the musician and performer you are today?
Paul was good in the Beatles, Pink Floyd Bootsy Collins Burt Bacharach Sex Pistols Norman Cook and those people making that fucking awesome Hardhouse in your face techno....all brilliant in there ways and very influential because the sound like themselves.
If you weren't working with Toni what do you think you'd be doing with yourself? Have you played on anyone else's albums since starting Curve?
I will always make music what would happen to it is unpredictable, perhaps producing or programming with other bands or songwriters, part of a team of people. Having a small sign writers shop in a remote village in Cornwall. No, hardly at all, no one has asked me. Maybe I should practice a bit more with the other strings, then again maybe not.
Any last messages for your fans?
(DEAN) Do it all and do it now.