WRITTEN BY CLAIRE HILL
There’s a place in Alberta called Hanna that you may have heard of. Chances are you might just have heard of a band from there. No…not that one; I’m talking about CURDS & WHEY, a band that is essentially a duo, made up of Scott Rocker (lead vocals) and Greg Kisser (piano/keyboards), that also expands its numbers by adding extra musicians, notably Chris Turner, who has played at every live gig since the band’s inception and whom Scott calls a “guitar genius”, and usually Scotty Sexx on drums. Curds & Whey was formed on Scott’s 40th birthday after Greg saw him play a few songs at his party and was impressed that he was singing a song by Canadian indie-pop duo Tegan and Sarah; the pair began collaborating almost immediately. Greg has himself been playing piano/keyboards since he was just five years old.
Prior to forming Curds & Whey, Scott sang lead vocals in a band he formed in high school with Chad Kroeger called Village Idiot, whose other members included Mike and Brandon Kroeger and, later, Ryan Peake. The band gigged around a bar circuit covering a couple of states but Scott ultimately decided to leave; Chad took over singing duties and the band changed its name to Nickelback. Scott’s old pal Chad credits Scott with “teaching him everything he knows about fronting a rock ‘n’ roll band”. And far from being envious of his former bandmates’ success, Scott is their biggest fan. Last year, Village Idiot reunited to play a private charity gig in aid of Hanna volunteer fire department, and earlier this year, Nickelback invited Scott onstage with them in Germany to sing ‘Rockstar’ to help promote Curds & Whey.
‘Lit Like a Fuse’ is the band’s new single and is officially released on 21st July 2018, although it’s been available via Reverbnation, iTunes and the Curds & Whey website for a while. It’s definitely got an old school vibe about it, but without it feeling old-fashioned at all. The pounding drums and booming bass combo of the rhythm section combined with some cracking riffs make it impossible not to move to this, my head was banging to the beat, it has an easy sing-a-long lyric, and Scott’s vocals are clear. There is great use of distortion on the vocal in places. A real screaming kick-ass solo and focus on the keys add depth of texture that makes it really pleasing on the ears.
Down The Front Media (DTFM) asked the band what the reaction had been like so far, and Scott said, “People are liking it. It’s heavier than our other stuff. Chad (Kroeger) said it was derivative of Nickelback lol. I’m not thinking that’s such a terrible thing but I didn’t write it with them in mind. You don’t hear a lot of piano in their stuff. Ryan Vikedal (ex-Nickelback drummer) recorded drums for us so maybe it sounds like them more than I think”.
DTFM asked the band what the story was behind the song, and Scott said, “It’s based loosely on a girl I used to date. It’s about partying to excess and still wanting more…it’s a self destructive song, unfortunately”. The band will be having a launch party for ‘Lit Like a Fuse’ at The Roxy Cabaret in Vancouver, and will be sharing this live on Facebook. There’s a dedicated page for the event, which is here:- https://www.facebook.com/events/217479189070814/
‘Dead Sober’ (14th November 2016) was Curds & Whey’s debut single and has a really different feel from ‘Lit Like a Fuse’. It’s not as heavy and has more emphasis on the piano, which I really like. There is still a driving drum beat which makes you want to move, but with less bass. The guitars are more singing, and the vocals sound more raw. The beat of this song reminds me of ‘London Calling’ by The Clash, and it has a way of sticking in your head like that too!
Watch the lyric video here”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtcmztAbRFg
Scott and Greg co-write all the Curds & Whey material; regardless of where the seed was planted for that song or who takes the idea and runs with it, each song is a collaborative work by the duo. Says Greg, “Each song is constructed differently; sometimes, I bring a riff or some chord changes to our writing session and Scott puts a melody and lyrics to it. Sometimes Scott brings a lyrical idea and I’ll write the chord changes to work with the melody and other times Scott brings a melodic idea and I’ll help construct it. It’s a great recipe that has worked very well for us”. Scott adds, “Then we bring in Chris (Turner, guitar) and we work him to the bone and get some amazing stuff from him”.
At the moment Curds & Whey are seeking management and interest from a label, and have numerous songs for their first full-length album either fully completed or partly finished, with lots of other ideas for tracks too. Both Scott and Greg have numerous years of experience as musicians behind them, so what pearls of wisdom do they have to offer to any budding new bands or artists? “If friends and family are into your music that’s a good sign to keep pursuing it. If your friends only come to your first gig… find some new material and keep learning and refining your instrument or craft”.
Whilst he was growing up, Greg listened to The Beatles, The Doors, Rush, Billy Joel and Bon Jovi, among many others, all of which, he says, “had a huge impact on the style I play and music that I write”. He also listens to Muse and The Fray, but still mostly listens to the classics, plus a lot of jazz and classical music. Scott cut his teeth on ‘80s metal like Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Metallica and Slayer, which, he thinks, “gives us a heavier sound than we should have for these days but I don’t care. I’m not trying to write mainstream music, I just do what comes out of me”. As for current music, it’s perhaps not surprising that Scott lists Nickelback as one of his favourite bands; he also listens to fellow Canadian bands Stars and Blue Rodeo.
Looking ahead to the rest of this year, Curds & Whey are planning an ‘80s party where they’ll play a set of originals and also a set of ‘80s covers, which sounds like fun! Although both Scott and Greg have busy day jobs as television directors, and Scott also has a two year old little girl, (“little monster, lol”, he says) they somehow manage to write in any spare time they have, and will continue to work on their album. Scott added, “My chill time is music time, I’m always riff writing into my phone and refining new song lyrics. We’ll keep writing and recording, looking for a song to break into Canadian rock radio”. The band are also looking further forward, into 2019, when they are hoping to come to Europe and the UK to play some dates. They already have their ideal venues picked out; for Greg it’s The Cavern Club, as a die-hard fan of The Beatles, he would “love to play where they played when they were starting out”. Scott, however, has his eyes firmly fixed on the top prize, as he chose “Wembley Stadium…because that would mean we are at the top!”
Curds & Whey is:-
Scott Rocker - lead vocals, tambourine/finger clicks
Greg Kisser - keyboards
Find out more about Curds & Whey here:-