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Interwiev with Feeding Fingers

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Lucy: Hello and thank you for taking the time to answer a couple of questions for us. For a start, if you could just introduce your band to our readers?

Justin: I am Justin Curfman, front-man for Feeding Fingers. The group is a trio consisting of myself, Todd Caras, and Danny Hunt. Because we are a trio of multi-instrumentalists, the duties of one member to the next changes from song to song, when we perform live. Typically, I am responsible for vocals, guitar, bass, and keys. Todd is usually on bass, keys, and his custom lighting rig, while Danny is nearly always on percussion.

Lucy: How would you describe the music of Feeding Fingers?

Justin: For me, our music sounds like a musical illustration of my dreams and pre-occupations with everything from missing children, entomophagy, drowning, sex, and duality. I would like for our music to sound like an accurate-as-possible soundtrack for my unconscious life. I am not a very subjective writer. I prefer to think and write about impossible lives and situations. This is the closest that I am able to get to living out my fantasies - excluding my animation work.
I never attempted to seek a genre to sort of burrow into. But, it seems that we've found a small place in the sort of post-punk/dark-wave/death-rock spectrum of the goth-alternative genre - most especially so in Europe.

Lucy: Did you know one another before you started the band and if yes, what made you decide to make music together?

I didn't know Todd or Danny at all. We come from very similar musical interests and influences. Also, Todd has a lot more performance history and collaborative experience with other people than I do, so the two of us have, so far, fit together very well. Danny fits well in the group based most especially on the fact that he is the most well-rounded and able percussionist I have ever met. The creation of Feeding Fingers developed around my psychological need to purge out of my mind a collection of music that I had been writing off and on since age 16 that I had originally intended to be used as the soundtrack for an animated film project that I had in mind as a teenager.
The three of us have been together and unchanged since 2006. Todd has a legendary temper which is known both here in America and in the UK. And Danny… he scares people.

Lucy: Just as "Entertainment", another band from near Atlanta/Georgia, that Todd used to play with, you’re with the label "Stickfigure Records". Do you know them well?

Justin: Feeding Fingers and Entertainment work very closely together, very often, and have been for nearly three years. We're very close friends and allies.In our part of the country (or the world really), there is very little support for music like this. Feeding Fingers and Entertainment are very alien here. I don't want to put words in their mouth, and I don't speak for Entertainment, but I can imagine that they feel as Feeding Fingers feels often - like an organ that has been transplanted into the wrong body and that body has slowly been attacking and rejecting us over time here. But, that's fine. Anything that we accomplish here in this part of America, is based solely on the efforts of Feeding Fingers, Entertainment, Stickfigure Recordings, our amazing friends, dedicated listeners, and all of the bands and artists that we work with here all of the time. We have created our own support structure here with no press support from the outside. It may be small, but I am very proud of that.

Lucy: Are there a lot of concerts and events?

Justin: Well… there is a paradoxical element in doing too many concerts and events too often when you don't have a large market in the area that you are having them. We often have two or three events planned and running every month here in and around Atlanta, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are all as well-attended and as successful as we would all like for them to be. You have to be very careful about saturating your already small audience with too many appearances and shows. If you aren't careful, you will ruin your relationships with music venues, and you will exhaust your audience.

Lucy: In a lot of your songs your voice very much sounds like Robert Smith’s of The Cure. Is this similarity intentional or is it more coincidental? And what do you even think about this comparison?

So I've heard… and I know that this is the question that a lot of interviewers want to ask me, but they respectfully tend to skate around it and ask me in a passive-aggressive way about my thoughts on Robert Smith, my "influences", and all of that. I am glad that you are a little more straight-forward. I respect that a lot.
The similarity is not intentional. The quality and tone of my voice is what it is and I am not going to apologize. I realize that I am not going to be able to escape this association any time soon, but that doesn't concern me. My only concern is that Feeding Fingers remain as prolific as possible and continue to compose and record the best quality work that we are able to. I don’t know that I can go through puberty twice, so for the time being, this is my voice.

Lucy: Do you actually remember your very first live performance together? What was it like?

Justin: Of course I do! That was countless shows ago in the past. November 4, 2006 at the now defunct, ISP Space in East Atlanta was the first Feeding Fingers show. We played with a male/female electronic duo from Florida called Mad Happy and with a hip-hop artist called Quan Star. It was cold and raining. The other two bands were supposed the be at the venue by 8PM. Of course, they weren't. No one came to see them. The only people at the venue that were there, came to see us. It started to get late. It was more than a little embarrassing and very unprofressional. To make matters worse, the person managing the venue said that we had to play last because we were the local band hosting the out-of-towners. So, Todd and I just took matters into our own hands and set up our equipment and did our own sound and played to our modest audience on our own terms. I hated to be a bully, but it had to happen. I thought for sure that we had ruined our relationship with ISP after being a bit belligerent, but we still work with them to this day.

Lucy: Did anything mentionable and unusual happen since you’ve started the band that you might want to tell us about?

Justin: Every outing has something unusual happen. This is one of the many reasons why one tends to stick with this life, despite the fact that there is very little to gain from a financial standpoint. All of this is a labor of love.But, some events in particular:
1) A dead goat in a plastic bag at a venue called The Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta was a real treat. We have played several shows there. Once, we walked in to the venue to load in. Two people were mopping the floor very intently and seemed angry. One of the people apologized to us for the smell of the place and promised to have it cleaned up soon. I then noticed that the venue smelled like a rotten corpse. I asked what it was. He told me that the night before, a band was touring through North America, and they were bringing with them a dead goat in a plastic bag. They were using the goat as a stage prop and were also taking photos of it rotting in the bag to use as album and promotional artwork. 2) We nearly burned down a music venue Savannah, GA filled with vampires and dominatrixi using nothing but anger, a ladder, and some aluminum foil.
3) I was offered oral sex from a homeless Truman Capote impersonator in exchange for driving him to a McDonald's fast food restaurant less than 50 meters away. I had to turn it down. I didn't want to risk hitting a speed hump along the way and ending up with vomit in my lap, you know?
4) I met an American Vietnam War veteran named Chew Choo in Florida. His name was Chew Choo because in the war, he was a "tunnel-rat". He had been hit with machine gun fire several times during his career there. He was human swiss-cheese. But, the man managed to survive. As a result of the shrapnel wounds, he lost almost all of his teeth and a part of his jaw. So, he was able to make a whistling sound almost exactly like a steam-powered train engine.
I could go on forever. We also nearly killed our drummer, Danny. We came less than a centimeter from backing over him in a van. It would have been great for publicity, but not so good for the band creatively.

Lucy: Justin, are you planning on maybe making an animated videoclip for one of your songs?

I want to. I plan and hope to. Everything is a matter of time. There just physically does not exist enough time in a day for me to make an animated music video. Between Feeding Fingers, the mortgage, and all of the silly responsibilities of being an adult, there just doesn't exist enough time for me to do that right now. But, I am getting better at surrendering some responsibilities to other people for certain things, I am getting better at collaborating with people, and I am actively searching for managerial support for the band and some other things, so that I can get back into the business of being an artist.

Lucy: What music do you listen to privately and are there any recommendations in particular that you would want to share with our readers?

Justin: I most often listen to avant-garde and modernist composers, like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Witold Lutoslawski, Steve Reich, and Krystof Penderecki, etc. I also like a lot of the proto-industrial/minimal work that surfaced from the late 1970s through the 1980s from bands like Einsturzende Neubauten, S.P.K., D.A.F., Fad Gadget, Suicide and the like. But, honestly, lately I don't listen to much of anything. I also run a recording studio here in Atlanta, where I produce a lot of hip-hop, R&B, rock, and everything else - so I am always surrounded by music. I am so enveloped in music all of the time, that lately silence is very nice.

Lucy: Thanks a lot for the interview! How about some last words from you?

Justin: Thank you all there in for all of the support. Please stay in touch and don't hesitate to say hello. For as long as you all want to listen to us, we will keep making music to share with you. I hope to meet you all in person very soon. We'll keep working at it until we get there. Please take care of yourselves.
Translator: Eileene
Add date: 2011-08-19 / Interviews

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