Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Tequila Sirens

Artwork for ‘Fast Clouds.’ Courtesy of publi*sist.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Already known for singles “You’re Gonna Face Somebody” and “PVD 6/20,” which have drawn comparisons to the likes of BJM, Velvet Underground and The Dandy Warhols, Somerville/Providence-based psych-pop project Tequila Sirens debuted the sophomore EP named ‘Fast Clouds’ earlier this March.

The musical brainchild of former Soft Pyramids member Shaun Curran, ‘Fast Clouds’ is very much a collaborative effort, with assistance from his Soft Pyramids bandmates, as well as Boston music scene veterans like Sarah Borges and Jim Leonard and even his wife, Marisa Curran.

‘Fast Clouds’ was engineered and mixed by Curran at Napoleon Complex in Somerville, Massachusetts and Pugilist Recording in Providence, Rhode Island. Dwight Hutchenson, his former Soft Pyramids collaborator, handled the mastering.

The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with the songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer about ‘Fast Clouds’ and more.

Music Bugle – How did you decide the project name? 

Tequila Sirens – While writing songs, sometimes, I’ll give them working titles just for reference. Just mash together a couple of words that fit the vibe, so at rehearsal, you’re not like, “Let’s play the one that goes boobity bop shoopy boom.” Tequila Sirens was the title of a demo I made for Soft Pyramids. The title actually stuck for that song, but I stole the name back for my new band. I like Tequila and I like the image of sirens singing and luring their victims. I like the way the two words sound together. I don’t generally like bands with a liquor word in the name, but I think the word tequila is exotic-sounding enough that it doesn’t sound like it’s just a bar band or a Jimmy Buffet cover band. As far as the name of the EP, time has been pretty bizarre over the last year. I’ve been out of work since March 2020. Sometimes, the days seem to go on forever, especially if you wake up early, which I don’t like to do. Other times, weeks go by and I wouldn’t be sure if I’d even done anything. ‘Fast Clouds’ represent the passing of time. I liked the image of the sky being a strobe light, representing time passing before your eyes.

Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your ‘Fast Clouds’ EP? 

Tequila Sirens – It was strange. Before the pandemic, I had a group of people that I considered to be the band, but then everything shut down. People had to figure out how to be safe and what their priorities were, so I was kind of left alone for a lot of it. Dwight Hutchenson was my rock. I don’t like making music by myself. I love to collaborate and having him encourage me to keep going was essential. I had Dave Brophy record the drums remotely in his apartment, which was very strange. I’ve never done the remote recording thing before, but he did a great job. Other people that I would usually have come into my studio to track would send me things. I also moved from Somerville, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island in June 2020, so I was working on things in my studio in Somerville and my apartment. In the end, it came out sounding cohesive enough, but I am really looking forward to making music with people in the same room again.

Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from? 

Tequila Sirens – I grew up in Portland, Maine. I didn’t know too many people into music where I grew up in North Deering. I felt like a freak. When I started playing in bands, we never fit in. We’d be the indie band playing a ska or hardcore show. Portland was not the same place it is now when I moved to Boston in 2015, but around the time I moved, the music scene was really great in Portland. Everyone I knew was in an awesome band and there were great shows with awesome after parties. A lot of the people I know from Portland are incredibly creative, interesting and humble. There was a local sound and it still inspires me today. 

Music Bugle – What are some challenges that come with playing the music of your genre? 

Tequila Sirens – (Laughs) I remember hanging out at the Middle East Upstairs while metal shows were going on and the place would be going crazy. Packed room. People up on the stage. I wish I was into that scene and felt that energy. I think people who would be interested in my music don’t want to go to a 9:00 show on a Tuesday at Great Scott. They probably need to take the dog out, put the kids down, make a Manhattan and watch “Forensic Files.” Also, Tequila Sirens doesn’t really fit into popular indie rock, which is, like, a mix between Steely Dan and My Bloody Valentine. It’s rough.  

Music Bugle – If you had to, how would you compare Tequila Sirens to that of Soft Pyramids? 

Tequila Sirens – Soft Pyramids was extremely collaborative. The core of the band was a unit. Any one of us could play whatever and it could become something. 99 percent of the sound was Dwight’s voice, though.  He was the main lyric writer. Tequila Sirens is me finally wanting to have complete control of how I want it to sound. For Better or worse, I have a tone that is unique to me. I try to be a little more personal, I think. Maybe be a bit more provocative.

Music Bugle – What made you want to release “You’re Gonna Face Somebody” as your lead single? 

Tequila Sirens – I probably didn’t want to so much, but was told that I should. I don’t have a problem letting go and taking other people’s advice. By the end, I was too close. I know my taste doesn’t reflect what other people might actually like. I’ve never written a song like that. I don’t strive to write songs like that, but it sure is fun!  

Music Bugle – What are your three favorite all-time albums? 

Tequila Sirens – That’s basically impossible, but I’ll try. In no order. Bob Dylan’s ‘Time Out Of Mind,’ Madvillain’s ‘Madvillainy’ and Wilco’s ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.’

Music Bugle – How else have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Tequila Sirens – I’ve been an Audio Engineer in the live events industry for 14 years. We still have some time before we’ll be back in full swing, so I’m actually looking to change careers. What a weird year.

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape? 

Tequila Sirens – Sometimes, I escape to Napoleon Complex, my studio in Somerville, Massachusetts. Sometimes, I need to escape there, so I go to the loading dock. When I need to escape there, I don’t know where to go. I wish I was more of an outdoorsman. Basically, there’s no escape. I am forever a prisoner of my vessel and this godforsaken Earth, but I’ll take “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” a classic 70s movie or a strange book by Tom Robbins or a biography.

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

Tequila Sirens – Maybe some Nick Cave lyrics from “Jubilee Street,” off of ‘Push The Sky Away.’ It goes, “I am alone now, I am beyond recrimination, Curtains are shut, the furniture is gone, I’m transforming, I’m vibrating, I’m glowing, I’m flying, look at me now.”

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