Taking their name, The Curse of Lono from a book by Hunter S. Thompson describing his experiences in Hawaii in 1980, the band make a deep dark, gothic, Americana. Based in London, they might just be the best new thing this year.
Tell us about yourselves and what you do?
My name is Felix and I front a band called Curse Of Lono. We play rocking, cinematic, gothic Americana.
How did you get together/start out?
Our drummer, Neil, and I used to play in a band called Hey Negrita. We released 4 albums and toured for many years. When that ended, we took some time out. I did my best to walk away from music for a while but it didn’t work out. There were too many unrecorded songs nagging me. So I called Neil and together we started trying out new musicians. From there we all met through a weird form of musical online dating. Bassist Charis Anderson was the first to join, followed closely by lead guitarist Joe Hazell and keyboard player (and former Athletico Madrid youth player) Dani Ruiz Hernandez.
What is your current release/future release?
We are currently preparing for the release of our first single ‘Five Miles’, which should be out in a couple of months. We also recently filmed and recorded 10 tracks live in our studio for a series we’re calling ‘The Doghouse Sessions’. Starting in May, we will be releasing one of those videos a month on our Youtube channel.
What is the best part of being in a band/singer/song writer?
I get to do something I am truly passionate about with people I love to spend time with and in the process, I get to travel the world and make people laugh, cry, drink and dance. What could be cooler than that?
What is your most significant moment yet?
For me personally, it was the moment I first saw my wife. I have had a pretty turbulent life: problems with alcohol and heroin addiction and the death of close friends. Those things were already behind me but the ghosts of that time still had a hold on me. One day I walked into a pub on a night off from a Hey Negrita tour and that was it. I turned to the friend I was with and said, “that’s the girl I’m going to marry.” He bet me £50 that I wouldn’t but he lost. Everything changed after that. I got a second chance at being happy. Other than recording the album, the most significant moment for the band was probably last Saturday when the barmaid told Neil and Charis that they were doing 2 for 1 on Daquiris.
What are your biggest musical influences?
That’s a tricky one. I can’t name them all but these are the ones that spring to mind straight away. The Rolling Stones, Wilco, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, The Band, The Doors, Pixies, Hayes Carll, Johnny Cash, Little Feat, Creedence, Bon Iver, Leonard Cohen, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Felice Brothers, The Sex Pistols, The Pogues, Guy Clark, Steve Earle…
What venue/gig do you most want to play?
The venue I most want to play is Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. The setting is just stunning and the rock formation acts as a natural amplifier. Other than that we’d love to play Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island and New Orleans Jazz Fest.
What is your best/favourite song you have written?
I think that changes from day to day. I am incredibly proud of the work I did with Hey Negrita. There are songs there that define whole periods of my life. I met fans that got married to some of those songs. But at the moment, I’m all about the Curse Of Lono album. I think ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ is probably the catchiest song but the ones I’m really proud of are ‘Five Miles’ and ‘Just My Head’. To me they offer a fresh take on Americana.
What is your favourite album of this year?
The year is still young but it has to be The Lumineers’ ‘Cleopatra’. I saw these guys a few years back at Shepherds Bush Empire and then again at the Newport Folk Festival and they blew my mind both times. I also like the fact that Simone Felice, from The Felice Brothers, produced the record.
What does the next six months have in store for you?
We’re looking forward to playing a lot of gigs and the release of our first single. We’re also hoping to head out on our first UK and European tour a bit later in the year. At the same time, we’re starting to work on new material. It’s an exciting time for us and we’re going to enjoy every last second of it.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Making movie soundtracks and working on the 10th Curse Of Lono album. The audience may get bigger but I hope the vibe we have when we hang out and play music together doesn’t change. I’ve been in many different types of band situation and this is the most fun I’ve ever had and the most comfortable I’ve ever been making music.
What is the best thing about Americana-UK?
The best thing about Americana-UK, other than the passion for this kind of music and the excellent journalism, is the unflinching support they have shown me and my music for many years. From the first releases with Hey Negrita and the backing when ‘Burn The Whole Place Down’ entered the Americana Chart in 2nd place to asking me these questions today. Thank you, guys. It is massively appreciated!!
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