Frontman Mathieu Emond talks about the new record and explains how the album came close to remaining on a hard drive indefinitely.
While keeping a relatively low profile over the past four years, Fredericton-based musician Mathieu Emond and his band/recording project Cursees Connect have continued to write and record new music that pairs highly polished pop choruses with adventurous structures and instrumentation to create songs as strong as anything being played on commercial radio today. Last month, the band reemerged from its practice space to share their debut self-titled full-length album, their first release since 2014’s self-titled EP.
Across the eight tracks that make up this full-length debut, Emond and his collaborators pair pop music’s predictable hooks with unexpected twists and turns that challenge the form in ways that are both respectful and courageous. While it isn’t easy to establish new ideas in a field as fertile as that of pop music, this new release from Cursees Connect succeeds in offering up something fresh to New Brunswick’s thriving musical landscape.
That said, catching a live performance by the four-piece has never been easy. Live appearances by the band are a bit of a rarity as Emond is more than happy to plug away in his home studio, writing songs and recording ideas when inspiration hits. And he is also quick to dismiss the myth that in order to be in a band you need to play your songs in front of a crowd.
“When Cursees Connect started, it was just myself in my home studio doing some songwriting and recording,” said Emond. “Then Bryan Harn (bass player) joined to jam and the rest unfolded before me. The problem is, even though I played in many bands since I was 14 and wanted to be a touring musician as a living – I even moved to Montreal for a year to try to make it with my first band – I slowly started to love being in the studio a lot more than playing in front of people. It just resonates better to me than anything else. I love to write songs, I love to record them and shape the sounds, but playing them live was getting tougher on me every year. I am a very introverted person and playing live as a frontman is just not where I shine.”
Emond describes the album’s release as a bittersweet moment in his songwriting career. On the one hand, he feels incredibly happy to have worked with producer Paul Milner and couldn’t be happier with the contributions from his bandmates Bryan Ham, Curtis Smith and Lindsay Brin. But on the other hand, putting his music out into the world brings with it a great deal of anxiety.
“I ended up having a really hard time wanting to release these songs,” he said. “I had a bad case of anxiety about it to the point where I didn’t want to release it at all. I always had the thought in my mind that I could do better with my songwriting, and I still do. It’s also been four years between releases and my tastes in music have changed. On the other hand, I didn’t want to fail the people involved in it so I made a compromise with my bandmates and proposed to release the songs I was most comfortable with. I am happy that this chapter is done, even though it was a tough process.
“If two people listen to it, great. If nobody listens to it, that great too,” said Emond. “I just work on songs in my studio and will release new songs when I feel they are ready. Cursees Connect was a studio project that ended up being a live band, and it may stay a live band in the future, but for now, it’s just back to the basics of me in the studio writing songs.”
Cursees Connect is available now as a digital download via Bandcamp as well as through all major streaming platforms.