Cursor Major is a Bristol hailing one man band and arguably the most exciting thing to come out of Bristol since Massive Attack. With a third EP in the works and shows to support it Cursor Major could be making big waves in 2017. Making fans out of the likes of Nothing but Thieves whilst creating shout-out-loud anthems like Red Light Fever are all in their stride. I had a chat with Andy about the upcoming EP and what it’s like to be a small band in the digital age.
1. Your music seems to take things from several genres, does this reflect a wide range of influences?
A: My influences are not especially wide-ranging, it’s just that most of them tend to hop between a few styles, appropriating genres and referencing pastiche in order to support or schism their songs. Some examples: The stranglers, Talking Heads, XTC, Beck, Super Furry Animals, David Bowie and Magazine. Recently I’ve enjoyed listening to H.Hawkline, Tobacco, Teleman, BC Camplight, Pete Shelley (The Buzzcocks), Tame Impala, Sleaford Mods and Idles. That new Temples track ‘Certainty’ has ear-wormed its way into my head. I’ve heard some exciting, and as yet to be unreleased tracks too; a couple of tracks by my flatmate called ‘Glenn Thinks Im A Lunatic’ & ‘Cricket’ – he goes under the name ‘Ben Haley & the Comics’ – and also frothy new-wave, synth-tastic music by Charlotte Hatherley.
2. Do you think genre bending makes music more or less appealing?
A: It’s subjective isn’t it; some bands/artists stick to one specific thing and nail it, while others sound as if they’ve run out of ideas. Conversely some bands/artists naturally genre bend, in a way that sounds conceptual, while others sound like they lack a sense of identity. I like records that send you on some sort of trip.
3. Your twitter says that there’s a new EP in the works, what can we expect from it?
A: The EP is called ‘Silent Disco Punch Up’, that’s also the title of the lead track – the EP will comprise of three tracks. It will be released early March. Gerard Langley (frontman of the band The Blue Aeroplanes), had a sneak peak preview of the EP and said that it in parts reminded him of Henry Badowski, Anthony Moore and M.Ward. Stylistically speaking it walks an indie-kitcsh-pop/art-glam/new-wave line. It was home recorded, then mixed by TJ Allen at his ‘Station 7’ room. Bristol drummer Andy Sutor added some retro-drum ambience to my drum-machine lead arrangement. Conceptually, it was about a time when I was in the throes of social anxiety and depression, on the medication; nasty ssri’s, downstairs, sat on the lounge sofa, watching Saturday night snooker, I could hear the walls thudding above me, creaks coming from the ceiling, presumably the people upstairs were up to a bit of ‘hows your father’. I could hear the banging but I couldn’t hear the music going on in their heads, I a-likened it to a Silent Disco Punch Up. From within, a sense of yearning to explore the world started to build.
4. Any plans to tour with it?
A: I’ve just started making plans to gig in March. For now, I’m playing ‘Songs of Praise’ at The Victoria in Swindon on March 2nd – with Rozelle (they are great) and Polar Front (I’ve yet to check out), I’m lining up an ‘Artscare’ night at the Stag & Hounds, Bristol, and also a gig with Ben Haley & The Comics in Hackney, London. Other towns are to be confirmed.
5. Do you think that with file sharing/music streaming is a good or bad thing for music? On one hand it makes music far more accessible but it’s also been said that fans grow more fickle when there’s so much at their fingertips.
A: I love that someone can click the download/offline button, then walk down the street with your music beaming into their ears. It’s great having random strangers from far away countries checking out your music. But, as you suggest in your question, everything is devoured uber quickly, beyond the point of enjoyment, we are never satiated – our morning of album release reviews makes for our suppers digital fish & chip paper
6. Is a large social media presence essential to growing a fanbase these days?
A: To some extent it probably is, though it’s refreshing when you see a minority of bands shunning social media and still creating a fanbase, albeit in cult form. I think some artists spend more time on social media than creating their art, they have an online following but their tracks won’t reach beyond that. It’s a very sad state of affairs if programmers ever scan social media to check the online buzz factor, social networks should not be the gatekeeper for creativity, that’s a vacuous vicious circle right there.
7. With notable bands (Little Comets, Jaws, The Sherlocks) going unsigned to major labels do you think this is going to be a trend with upcoming bands like yourself and why might that be?
A: I think the trend is do it diy, which is great if its done in a fugazi-esque intentended way, but I fear that it’s done because the label budgets for breaking bands isn’t there – one album if your lucky – and then it’s near impossible to do lengthy diy touring and big promo if you’re not from money, or, if you’re not an out and out natural digital door to door salesman.
8. The majority of your fans are teenagers, what bands were you listening to when you were 16/17?
A: I was mostly listening to Mansun’s ‘Attack of The Grey Lantern’, Supergrass’ ‘In It For The Money’, The Manic Street Preachers ‘Gold Against The Soul’ and ‘The Holy Bible’, odd bit’s and pieces from the likes of Straw, Subcircus, Mogwai, and then on my occasional trips back to my hometown in Wales, me and a mate would head out to the sticks and listen to The Beatles – Revolver onwards.
9. Are there any particular difficulties you’ve faced being part of a one man band?
A: There’s always the danger of becoming a Mark E.Smith, going through band members at the rate of knots, but without the drunken swagger, instead full of anxiety and depression. The level of hyper vigilance needed in a one man band can permeate throughout everyday life, which is a bit intense. Arguably, being a one man band has been the only realistic way that I’ve been able to operate. Things are changing gradually now though, for the better, some collaborative bands may happen over the next year or so. Talking of which, I produced a song by my ex-flat mate, he goes under the name ‘The Blunderbuss Press’, look out for a single titled ‘Nudists With Really Big Heads’ which will be out towards the end of February.
10. What do you do to unwind after writing/recording/producing?
A: I watch shit television with my girlfriend, Tilly – shows like ‘The Chase’ are ace. I also enjoy reading childrens books like Winnie The Pooh, The Moomins, Paddington Bear and Roald Dahl stories. Alan Bennett’s audio books chill me out. I’m a sucker for just aimlessly walking and talking and watching films; Under The Shadow and The Witch are my films of the year thus far.
11. Picture the scene, it’s 2025 and the third Cursor Major album has just gone to number 1. You’ve been asked to headline Reading and Leeds, which bands would you want to see at the top of the billing with you?
A: For Reading 2025 I want to see Rod, Jane and Freddy (from Children’s television show Rainbow) reform and I want to see a Rod, Jane and Freddy tribute band.