Fredericton’s Cursees Connect working towards a busy 2015.
In a city the size of Fredericton it’s always a little surprising to discover an established band that tour and perform throughout the province yet remain relatively unknown at home. In a way, it’s nice to know the city’s musical output has grown to a level where a situation like this is even possible. On the other hand, it might also indicate long-established divisions that exist within the local and provincial scenes on account of genre or target demographic. Despite all the challenges faced by any group struggling to find its place, Fredericton’s Cursees Connect have been hard at work performing their own blend of rock and roll at venues across the province for the past few years.
Last summer the group released their debut, self-titled EP and landed a huge gig at the Congrès Mondial Acadien (2014 World Acadian Congress) in Edmundston, joining popular Quebec rock band, Les Cowboys Fringants, in performing before thousands at the event. “The organizers were looking for musical acts from all the Francophone diaspora,” said Mathieu Emond, guitarist and vocalist for the group. “I am originally from St-Jacques, a small town next to Edmundston and they knew me from back when I was in a somewhat successful band called Random. They wanted to promote not only well-known Francophone artists, but also the up-and-coming artists that were not necessarily singing in French, but were from French origins.”
Exceptional opportunities aside, Cursees Connect follow the same provincial performing circuit used by just about everyone. This includes Moncton’s Plan B, Pepper’s Pub in Saint John and the usual hometown stages at The Capital and The Cellar Pub. They’ve even performed at the Hollywood Star Room in Ripples. “The greatest thing about doing all these shows is the growing chemistry between the band members,” said Emond. “Even if you’re an experienced player you still have to learn how everyone reacts on the stage and before you really feel the chemistry, it takes some gigging to get there. Every gig is fun, being a packed place or not, and the response has always been positive.”
Despite the many challenges, the band is fortunate to include Edmundston as part of its performance circuit, making in-roads at Le Deck, a small restaurant and bar in the city’s south end near the Madawaska River. The small, predominantly French-speaking city minutes from the Quebec border has never really been tapped as a stop for touring NB acts due in part to its location far outside the province’s tri-city comfort zone. But Cursees Connect still have a long way to go in establishing themselves among other acts in the province. Finding and growing an audience remains a challenge, even at home. “As a starting band, it’s really difficult to get our name out there when the opportunities are limited, especially for bands like us that are not natively from Fredericton. Networking is a huge challenge for some of us in the band.”
Emond recognizes the incredibly supportive community that exists in Fredericton but feels there are other opportunities that could be explored to further reveal the city’s collective potential citing other events that exist within the province like Music NB’s annual MNB Week and Edmundston’s annual weekend event, Edmundston en Musique. “It is not only a way to play in front of an audience,” he said, in reference to the Madawaska county event, “but it also has some workshops and networking meetings during the weekend. I could see something like this happening in Fredericton with a meet and greet with other bands, jams, and networking with some people in the industry from home and away. Fredericton has some great music and it needs to be shared more.”
Looking ahead, Cursees Connect are doing all the right things. Writing, recording and continuing to play the circuit they’ve worked to establish for themselves. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, they’ll be able to build the 2015 they’re hoping.
“We are currently working with renowned producer Paul Milner,” said Emond, “doing some tracks at my home studio and some tracks at his studio. We have some other shows booked and we’re hoping to get some opportunities in the different festivals in the province. We had our first video shoot with Steam Powered Studios for our song In the Meadows and it should be released as a single in the upcoming months. We will try a radio campaign to see if the song catches up. It’s a long process.”
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Verse The Sun + Cursees Connect + Mrs. Hippie | The Capital Complex | April 9, 2015 | Event
Plan B in Moncton – May 1, 2015
Hollywood Star Room in Ripples – June 19, 2015
Le Deck in Edmundston – August 21, 2015