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Interview with Casey of LA’s Belize

June 15, 2011 by Steph


Los Angeles project Belize will be releasing Tidal Tales from the Other Side on June 20th, 2011. Singer/songwriter Casey Curry is also a professional photographer in Los Angeles and he’s taken time out of his crazy schedule to chat about his new album, photographing Andrew W.K., and working with Frankie Siragusa in the studio.

S: Starting with the name, what made you decide to dub your project Belize? Do you have any associations with the country?
Casey: When writing and recording Tidal Tales, my goal was not just to create dynamic and evocative songs that would be compiled on a record, but to essentially create a score for the lives of my listeners. I geek out on space, and I love the ocean. In my opinion, Belize has some of the most inspiring oceanography one can encounter on this earth. The name of the band was not premeditated in any way, shape, or form. It is simply a result of the journey traveled while making the album.

S: Your music draws influence from a lot of the classics like Brian Wilson, Nick Cave, and Pink Floyd. If you could chat with any musician, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Casey: I love talking shop with other musicians, and there’s no compliment like providing personal testimony of “how this song changed my life,” but on the occasions where I have found myself one on one with some of my favorite artists, I discovered that I was less interested in their technical approach and more interested in essentially just getting to know them. With that said, if I could host a party with my favorite musicians present, I would definitely make sure that John Lennon would be the MC, and that Jim Morrison would be the bartender.

S: You’ve been performing recently around the LA area on the East and West side. If given the opportunity, which LA band or musician would you want to make music with?
There are so many talented LA musicians that I would love to make music with. A few on the top of my list would be Mark Mothersbaugh, Jon Brion, Butch Vig, and Danny Elfman.

S: You’re a musician by night and a photographer… by night. Do you think that has any impact on your music-making?
Not gonna lie, it is difficult to full heartedly pursue both passions at once. However, the further I dig in the more I am finding that the two go hand in hand. I’ve never like putting a label on who I based on what I do. I’m not Casey the photographer or Casey the musician, I’m just an artist who wants to share his vision with the world. Whether my art manifest through a song, photo, or one of my other passions isn’t as important as the opportunity to create.

S: Who are some of your favorite acts that you’ve gotten to photograph?
I will go on record saying that is IMPOSSIBLE for ANYONE to take a bad picture of Andrew W.K. I recently had the pleasure of working with the king of partying and it surely was a party. Whereas in most cases I will coach my talent into character, with Andrew I simply threw him on an epic volcano set, handed him some styrofoam lightening bolts, and let him interact with the space. Photographing individuals like Andrew reminds me why I fell in love with photography in the first place. Beyond that I have had the privilege to work with some amazing and iconic artists, but the most memorable shoot I’ve have to date was my evening doing conceptual photos with Sebastian Bach. Unfortunately, if you want the scoop on what went down with the former Skid Row frontman you’ll have to get some whiskey in me first. 😉

S: Tidal Tales From The Other Side is your upcoming debut LP. What were some of the inspirations for the album?
In no particular order: Most music from the 60’s, shoegaze, the cosmos, the ocean, neon lights, red wine, anything associated with Rod Serling, late night drives, hope, loss, regret, and a cornucopia of many other emotions.

S: How was working with Frankie Siragusa on your album? Is there anything that you learned from him that you now bring to your songwriting or performing?
I have had the pleasure of working with Frankie on past projects and I knew the moment I decided to record the album that he was the man for the job. Not to mention he has a tracking room with 30 foot ceilings. The thick reverb that soaks over the songs is a result of his amazing studio. Frankie is one of the most creative and talented individuals I have ever met. During the entire recording process, he had such an exciting and objective approach with no ego involved.

My favorite day in the studio was when we recorded “Surge.” Unlike the rest of my demos where I had already written all of the parts, “Surge” came into the studio with just the guitar, vocals, and strings. My original idea for the song was to approach it in a similar style to My Bloody Valentine’s song “Sometimes,” but Frankie envisioned it more as a sea of glass and less of a murky shoegazey pond. Although I wasn’t sure at first, the moment he opened up the grand piano and started strumming the strings, I was sold.

S: What makes Belize special? Why should people pick up your album when it’s out on June 21st?
Belize was born out of an expression that most people can relate to. I wrote and recorded the album almost exclusively during the night time hours. One reason is that I have always viewed the night hours as a period where one seems to transcend time. It is during those night hours where the most unattainable dreams can become reality. The ten song album is a concept piece which takes place from dusk to dawn with each song representing a different hour of the night.

Also if you’re a fan of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and The Mary Chain,  The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd, and other amazing bands, then you’ll definitely dig Tidal Tales.

Listen to Belize’s “Everyone Falls”

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