Murci Warm Up “Hearts Gone Cold” In Hollywood Curt Barlage and Pablo Murcia Speak About Latest Album Prior To Rocking The Madame Siam Stage
LOS ANGELES, CA- On July 14th, Blurred Culture and No Season was able to host a special performance by an L.A. based band that’s bound to get your feet moving to their synth infused rhythms: Murci.
Formed in 2015 by music producer Curt Barlage and vocalist Pablo Murcia have been cultivating their pop infused, synth sounds in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. It’s the perfect soundtrack for an evening out at the clubs, and before they took over ours, I had a moment to chat with them about their latest album, how the two came together to create music and what they hope for in the future.
You guys are in multiple music projects… you guys came together for this one. How did Murci originate?
Curt Barlage: I’ve been in multiple projects, Strange Phases is another band, though a record label Respectful Lust Records, and I’ve been [playing] in bands for years […], but Pablo and I actually met because we worked together at a restaurant in Silver Lake[.]
Pablo Murcia: Yeah. I moved to LA from New York about 10 years ago, and we met like what, 6 years ago? Then about 2 years in to being friends and knowing each other, we started working on music. I have a musical theater background, andI was doing Broadway stuff, national tours, and stuff like that, and I kind of got disenchanted with that whole world and I […] had started writing music. [Curt] was someone that I looked up to and admired and his project Bixby Knolls was really great. I had a couple songs that I had been working on and he seemed like the right person to work with, to produce the songs. Right away we saw that we had chemistry together in the studio, and we started working on this project.
So it was about 2 years ago that you guys started collaborating on music?
Curt: This is like closer to about 3 years ago at this point. Then this debut album, “Hearts Gone Cold”, was basically done all downtown in a rehearsal space just throughout a year. It was about a year of us just recording it on a laptop, like on an old mac. I mean, that’s how we did it. But we spent so much time, I was able to sit there like all fucking night. man, like until the sunrise, just dialing in all the sounds and spending [serious] time [on it].
And the music that you are playing tonight, is it the older stuff or are you debuting new stuff?
Curt: This is all new. I mean, all we have is basically new stuff. There was an initial EP release in 2015. [There was] one song from that, that transferred over to our debut album, but this is our only material essentially is this debut album.
Is that a play on your name? Your last name?
Pablo: It is, yeah! My last name Murcia… But it’s also kind of a nod to sort of our influences. You know, there’s a definite RnB, Soul influence and so “Mercy” is kind of like something that James Brown you know, used to say.
Curt: Marvin’s “Mercy, Mercy Me…”
And so the musical influences, where do you guys draw from?
Curt: I mean, for me, it’s all over the map. But like, Strange Phases who played here for Zero last week, it’s a very guitar forward, very rock and roll, kind of sound that brings elements of shoegaze and other indie influences.
Pablo: My first first influence is theater, but that’s how I learned how to sing. It was like classical training and that kind of stuff, but I always loved Stevie Wonder. I’m a huge Stevie Wonder fan, so he was like a big voice teacher for me. I also had been performing in a RnB pop cover band for a couple years…
Curt: In China…
Pablo: Yeah! (Laughs) I was in one of those hotel cover bands.
Pablo: Yeah and so I sang like Maxwell, Justin Timberlake, Usher, all that kind of stuff. But yea, definitely that’s my biggest influences vocally are like theater, but I also love like Thom York (Radiohead) and all that kind of stuff. Actually, when I first approached him about this project, I was kind of going to be a James Blake, kind of like a dark Thom York type thing… but thankfully…
Now you got cowbell!
[Editor’s note, Pablos plays the cowbell for their funky cut “Pleasure Pressure”)
Pablo: Thankfully, he was like, “why don’t we make this a little bit funkier!” So, to answer your question about this particular project, I would say Nile Rogers and Chic for sure…. Rick James…
I got that vibe!
Curt: We didn’t mean it to happen. It literally just happened. It just became a very kind of very core-second wave RnB influence. So that’s where the core is and we decided to roll with it after we did “Good To Me”, that was on the first EP. It was like, “All right, this is it! It’s Rick James, it’s Prince, it’s George Michael, It’s Chic, It’s Nile Rogers!”.
So, what are your plans for the rest of the year? Are you looking to play more gigs? Record more?
Curt: We’re looking for everything, you know what I mean? It’s like, what are the hours? It’s like Spinal Tap, would you be happy doing that job? What are the hours?
Curt: I mean, seriously, we’re gonna go back and we’re gonna record, because it’s what we like to do, you know. We’re gonna perform, because it’s what we need to do, and we enjoy it. But, what’s in store for the future? Pablo?
Pablo: Well, we’re already working on the next album. We already have a few tracks in the works. We’re going to keep playing shows, hopefully. We’re excited to play tonight’s show.
Curt: That depends on how [the crowd] reacts tonight. You know? Cause if it’s just a shit storm, we might just lose all motivation and I might just go work at the shoe shop, man.
My first time hearing you guys live during soundcheck, I think you guys have got a good vibe going on up on stage. It’s definitely a party vibe, so hopefully you invited some friends to really get the party going.
Curt: I’m telling you, those words just like extended our fucking life span to one more show, at least.
Well hopefully there are many more to come.
Hearts Gone Cold, is the debut full length album by Murci is available on streaming and digital retailers.