Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?
Jamie Radford: Me and Sean met whilst both on holiday in Tingo Maria, Peru, way back in 2004. Sean was jamming his guitar at the bar and I was having the odd drink or three. We basically got chatting about music, probably The Beatles and it went from there. Sean said he was looking to start a new band back home in Detroit. I told him I wrote lyrics and if he needed any to mail me. Three weeks later we wrote our first song “Turbulence” (with help from the drummer from our last band).
Sean Dunlop: When I was a small child my parents exposed me to the songs of the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, my father would host jam sessions with friends and family. During elementary school I took piano lessons and learned the violin. When I was ten or eleven my parents got me an electric guitar for Christmas and things changed forever. At first, I struggled with a guitar teacher who wanted to teach me how to read music. I knew about the discipline of reading music, but I wanted guitar to be different for me. I didn't want to reduce my love for music to a science or a limited ability; I wanted it to be an expression of my personality. My mother found John Hall, a classically trained teacher who taught me how to learn music by ear. When I was twelve, I started composing songs that consisted of general bar chords and stupid lyrics. By the time I entered high school I was exposed to many other kids who played music and wanted to play together. The first band I was in was called No BBQ BBQ. We were a typical high school band. We played lots of shows and recorded a full length album. By the time No BBQ BBQ ended in 2004, I was in my second year of college. I wanted to start a band that was an Internet band. We would write music, pass it over the Internet, and let the members of the band add their bits. Jamie Radford was the first person I came across and as soon as we started writing together, I knew we had something very unique and something that could have its place in the history of music. From 2004-2008 we existed as a band called “Shock of the Cold.” There were five band members here in the USA and then Jim in the UK. We wrote many songs, recorded albums, and toured the Metro-Detroit area. In 2008, things came to a close for Shock of the Cold. Jim and I refused to stop writing and therefore These Curious Thoughts evolved.
If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Jamie Radford: I can't envision not being involved in something musically. Saying that, I do like comedy. I'd probably give that a go, and I would be writing pretty bad poetry too.
Sean Dunlop: Well, my day job is in marketing and printing, so I would say that I would be working a normal day job. Creatively, I assume that I would be into research and writing historical books.
How did the name of the group originate?
Jamie Radford: It was found in a cave off the shores of Italy. Nah. it was just something we came up with that sounded cool and kinda reflects the oddness of the lyrics and sometimes the music.
Sean Dunlop: Picking a band name is always difficult. You have to be original. Jim is our wordsmith. Just as he did with Shock of the Cold, he sent me various emails with crazy names in them. The first real good one we picked was taken by another band. Then Jim wrote me an email with more names and said "actually These Curious Thoughts is my fave. That sums up how I feel when I write. Wow, I am smitten with that name, that’s the f***ing one!" I told him that I couldn't agree more, and that’s how we became These Curious Thoughts.
Who would you see as your musical influences?
Jamie Radford: The Beatles, Pixies, Oasis, Radiohead and Modest Mouse
Sean Dunlop: I really love all types of music, but my biggies are the great composers of classical music and The Beatles. I love new music, too. I am currently really into Death Cab for Cutie. Personally, I do not like music that is artificially created by a supergroup of producers, writers, and lame artists. The commercial music industry has stripped music of its natural creative elements, found chord progressions, beats, and lyrical imagery that is unbearably "catchy" and packaged it like it’s a freaking soda product. It just makes me sick. If you want to hear good music, you have to find it for yourself.
What's ahead for you?
Jamie Radford: Two eyes and ears, one nose, some hair and a smile.
Sean Dunlop: Everything. Tons of music, gigs and videos. I can't wait. Because we are on the bottom, we can only go up. When we get to the top, then I will worry about falling.
I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Jamie Radford: Hmm...maybe the dudes from Phish playing Beatles-esque songs reminiscent of early R.E.M?
Sean Dunlop: Yeah, this one has always been difficult for me to answer with our music. The short answer is “indie rock.” The long one is “experimental, rock n' roll, blues, classical, psychedelic, and poetic.”
Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
Jamie Radford: How far into the future? I imagine in the future all songs will be written by robots. Currently it would be Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse, such a great songwriter and writer of great songs - and Thom Yorke.
Sean Dunlop: Oh yeah, how about Sam Roberts Band or Death Cab for Cutie. That would be fun.
Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Jamie Radford: Depends. I you’re an unknown unsigned band, then people may not pay for your music anyway as they have never heard of you. So, if people get something for free they may like your stuff and in the future pay for a CD or something.
Sean Dunlop: Well, I think that it’s no different than what’s been happening for decades. Like people buying CD and then making tapes for friends and such. I don't think you can eliminate it, but as long as some people are buying music then it’s all good. Most mature, responsible people purchase their music. I still love to buy a CD with a booklet and all that fun stuff!
In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Jamie Radford: Depends. What are they trading the shows for - goats? I think that is pretty cool. It fosters a nice little music community and gives people a chance to hear stuff they might have missed.
Sean Dunlop: That’s not really a big deal at all. That’s how you get more exposure. Now if they cut a hole in the wall and started letting their friends in for free, then I might take issue with that.
If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Jamie Radford: I would be the Burrito Beatle. I would solve Burrito related mysteries and do all the day to day admin. Oh and the bad guy would be Simon Cowell. He is a complete and utter...Well, I hate him and what he stands for: cranking out drones from his factory of s****y pop music.
If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Jamie Radford: Bollo The drum playing Gorilla from The Mighty Boosh (BBC music comedy), Flea on bass(he is dead good), Thom Yorke from Radiohead and Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse on guitars and vocals. Together that would be awesome. Three talented musicians...and a wild ape.....good times!
If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Jamie Radford: Oasis, Nirvana, The Beatles, Radiohead and Modest Mouse. They are more or less my fave bands.
What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Jamie Radford: Man Alive by Everything Everything. It’s crackers.
Have you read any good books lately?
Jamie Radford: Chew Volume 4 (it is a graphic novel with nice pictures!)
What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Jamie Radford: Bloody Hell...a long time ago. I got married this year, so not had much time. That’s sad I really can't remember. Off to see Noel Gallagher in February, though!
Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Jamie Radford: Music is too cool a thing to feel bad about. If you like it, enjoy. Who cares what other people think?
If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Jamie Radford: Steven Hawkings, Robocop and Rod Hull
What would be on the menu?
Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Jamie Radford: Thanks for bearing with me!