Versio Curs - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Versio Curs. We discussed writing and recording their upcoming album, ‘Quit’, how the pandemic impacted the process, musical and lyrical inspiration, the songs they’re most excited for fans to hear from the album, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

George: You're welcome!

Kyle: Thanks for talking with us.

Your new album ‘Quit’ comes out June 11th. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process for the album? How long did you work on it?

George: We worked on this album on and off for about a year and half between playing shows and working full time. Then we sat on it for another year because of the pandemic. Our writing process is a little unusual in that Joe and I write a full demo (music only), send it to Kyle, he writes all vocals and lyrics, sends it back to us, and we then change things musically as we see fit, with both Josh and Alex adding their inputs onto it as well. It's a slow process. As far as recording the album, we tracked all of the drums and bass in one day at Wire & Vice in Milwaukee. We then self-recorded vocals and guitars in Joe's basement. It's been quite the journey completing this album!

Kyle: For me lyrically, the process changes depending on the song. It can be taking inspiration from something I'm watching or listening to, finding cool imagery while reading something and obviously drawing on personal experiences. Sometimes old stuff you never used suddenly makes sense in a different context with new sounds. Sometimes you come up with a really cool line, which in turn - if it's good enough - can kind of jump-start an entire song and the rest of the lyrics. In the best case scenario, all in one sitting, but that is far and few between and if you treat every song like it'll suddenly just happen, you don't get anywhere. Other times you will just be waiting and mulling over certain things for sure, but after a couple iterations and practice sessions to hear how things come out, things come together.

Joe: Musically, much of what I write is usually influenced by whatever style I am listening to at that moment, and that changes quite a bit. The pandemic really lengthened the time we sat on these songs together, so I would find myself constantly evaluating and even second-guessing the current state of every track. I think it was important to all of us that each song remained fluid and flexible throughout the entire writing process. If we could incorporate a new idea into a song, while still staying true to the song itself, we wanted to see how far we could take it. It created a bit of a balancing-act, trying to fulfill a certain purpose without completely alienating what you originally wanted out of the song. But overall, I think we ended up with an album that's very true to the sound we set out to accomplish, but also one that allowed us to draw from many very different inspirations along the way.

You released the first single, “Recess”. I really like it. Can you tell me about writing that song specifically? What were your musical and lyrical inspirations for it?

George: Thank you very much! This song is a fairly simple, direct song. The initial guitar riff is something that I wrote and we toyed with for a while.  After writing that initial part though, the song kind of just fell together. Musically, I'd say we were heavily inspired by Cymbals Eat Guitars and Single Mothers for this track. I love a lot of the dissonant but still appealing guitars stuff that Cymbals Eat Guitars do, and that definitely was something we were aiming for.

Kyle: Thanks, man. Unless I have something put together beforehand, lyrics can honestly start out as nonsense. You got to play around with it. The important thing is seeing how the music makes you feel first, then finding the melodies you like and what you actually say tends to arrive last. How the song makes you feel certainly lends to what you might write about, naturally. A lot of that initial nonsense rightfully gets trashed – sometimes it stays in! – But ultimately for ‘Recess’, it helped to settle on certain lines I liked best that then motivated the song conceptually. Each verse beginning with these almost rhetorical questions was some of it. Some ideas emerge unconsciously and you just keep trying to build on top of them and develop some flavor. That phrase doesn’t really apply to songwriting, I may just be hungry.

Can you tell me about why you chose to title the album ‘Quit’? What’s the meaning behind the title?

Kyle: It’s a good sign when you find something you like, sit on it awhile and it still feels good. All of our songs were already coming along and we could start to get a feel for what the album sounded like in its entirety, and I think once we found that title, it felt appropriate to the music and it flat-out sounded cool. Off the bat, it’s this word with an immediate negative connotation, but there’s other ways to take it. A lot of the songs deal with these cyclical notions and a sense of spinning-your-tires, flirtation with changing, or becoming complacent but knowing better – what’s the remedy? Nothing’s really as easy as just ‘quitting’ – bad habits, toxic thought patterns, whatever – that’s not the takeaway, but you can always start if you feel like it’s in your power to do so. I think that’s one way the connotation can be flipped, as a process towards positive change, which I like. Or there’s the real meaning, which is that this is my way of quitting the band and frankly I’m surprised the other guys haven’t figured it out yet.

The artwork is interesting. Who came up with the concept for it and designed it? Why did you feel like it fit the album?

Kyle: This was an awesome outside art piece titled “The End of Pluto” created by the extremely talented artist Natalie Huth – please check her out! @natalie_huth on Instagram and nataliehuth.de

We loved the imagery of it - the collage format, the colors,and of course, the dog. Natalie’s thoughts on what she felt putting the piece together fit really well with what we felt our album was also trying to express, which is that there’s definitely this idea front and center of taking a leap even if you might miss and also that you can lose more by *not* doing. In the end, I agree with Natalie on another inclination she has, which is that individual interpretation from the viewer or the listener is the most interesting, and that over-defining something can have the unfortunate side-effect of killing it.

What was the most difficult song to write on the album and on the opposite end which song came together the easiest?

George: The most difficult song on the album to write was probably the track called "The Back." The song originally started off with basically just four chords and nothing else and we transformed it into something that's far more complex and interesting than what it originally was. There's multiple tempo changes and a lot of really weird vocal layering and stuff we did on it that took a long time, but it came out exactly how we wanted it to. The easiest track was most likely the track called "Yeah." That one is just a 100 mph pop punk song that just immediately worked.

Joe: I agree with George on the most difficult song being "The Back." I think we really asked a lot from that song. Every session we'd be throwing new ideas at it, shifting layers around, taking things out, putting things in. It was a mess for most of its life as a demo. But as we started to settle on certain melodies and build off the ideas we were confident in, everything became much more natural sounding. It was a super frustrating, but very fun song to take part in writing. For me, the easiest song was probably "Movies" - at least musically. I had a certain sound in mind approaching that song, and the sound never really changed. I am sure Kyle had a very different experience writing lyrics for it. But for me, it was one of those songs where every piece just kind of falls into place without much effort or resistance.

Do you have a song that you’re most excited for people to hear? Why? 

George: It's hard to say because I'm pretty excited for people to hear all of our songs, but I think the fifth track on the album called "In the Sun" is my personal favorite and is the one I can't wait for people to hear the most. It doesn't necessarily sound like it on the first listen, but it is the most infectious and catchy song I think we've ever written. Every time you listen, it somehow gets better. Very stoked on that one.

Kyle: Yeah I'm with George, "In the Sun" is what I'm most excited for. Close second is probably "Movies".

Joe: That's tough, every song has something I love about it. If I had to pick, probably "Tradition". It's such a strange blend of simplicity and complexity that somehow all worked out. I'm excited to hear what people think about that one. 

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