When the 2014 Skate & Surf Music Festival rolled into Asbury Park, New Jersey last month one of the bands we were jones-ing to see was the band Cursed Sails. This heavy, melt your face with our guitar work band (comprised of former members of Issues and Woe is Me) appealed to our inner mosh pit maniac and we knew we had to get to know these guys better.
Sadly, our paths did not cross at the festival and after a couple of e-mails, we finally got Brent Guistwite (Drums) to sit down with us to talk about the band’s new record, Rotten Society, which dropped May 13, playing festivals as opposed to clubs and the brutality of their sound.
Pop-Break: Your debut record dropped on May 13. Since you guys have history with other bands (Issues, Woe is Me), people might have some preconceived notions of what this band is all about. Tell me how Cursed Sails is not only different from your previous bands, but how this band stands out there from the thousands of harder edged bands out there.
Brent Guistwite: I don’t know if we necessarily “stand out” stylistically but I think what sets us apart is we write our music for us. We’re not super heroes and we didn’t set out to save your life. We’re just friends who got together to have fun and make music.
PB: You guys are signed to Rise/Velocity Records. Can you talk about how they’ve been as a label throughout the process of recording and promoting your debut album?
BG: Everyone says this about their label, but honestly they’ve been amazing to us. Collectively we’ve all been in 5 different bands on Rise. So the fact that they still believe in us is beyond awesome. I think they really understand our vision for this band and they give us a lot of freedom to do what we want. We couldn’t really ask for more from them.
PB: I heard that Drew Fulk who’s done work with Motionless in White produced the record. Why go with him as your producer and what did he bring to the table as a producer?
BG: We went to Drew to do demos for this band and we just meshed really well. He is a GREAT writer and an even better drinker so it only made sense to go back and do our record with him. We’re definitely going back there to do our next record.
PB: You performed at the Skate & Surf Festival up by our offices a few weeks ago. Were you guys stoked to be performing at a fest just steps from the beach? When you guys have down time who are you looking forward to seeing perform the most? Also, do you have to adapt your performance style or setlist for an outdoor concert like this as opposed to performing in a club or bar?
BG: Some of the guys were excited about the beach but some live on an island in Florida so there around the beach 24/7 (laughs). We totally were looking forward to [seeing] Saosin, Circa Survive, Animals as Leaders, Kublai Khan, Alkaline Trio, Pianos Become Teeth and Citizen. We try to approach outdoors festivals the same way as club shows. We just go out there and put on a high energy show. It’s all about just making sure the crowd has as much fun as we do.
PB: If someone reads this interview and is interested in checking you guys out, what song or songs would you suggest to people that would really capture the essence of Cursed Sails?
BG: To really understand what we’re doing you really need to hear our record as a whole. We have songs where Ben [Ferris] really touches on topics he feels strongly about. With that being said, we also have songs that are more satirical in nature. We kinda tried to challenge the idea that you NEED to have “deep, convoluted, pseudo-intellectual” lyrics in every song. However, if you posses the attention span of a 5-year-old and can only be bothered with listening to one song then we’d personally suggest checking out “Dead Daze.”
PB: What are your plans for the rest of 2014 in terms of new music and touring?
BG: We’re [just finished] supporting For All I Am on the “Thawed out” tour that ended on June 1. Then it’s video game time for about a week and then we do Warped Tour for the first two weeks. Everything after that is a secret for now. Definitely lots of touring and MAYBE some new music.
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Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and he has sadly never been in a mosh pit. He has since changed his tune. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom