Introducing Interview: Curse Of Lono

Formed in 2015 by Felix Bechtolsheimer, following the break up of British roots pioneers Hey Negrita, Curse Of Lono create cinematic Americana filled with harmonies and eerie undertones.

Following the release of a four track EP last year, and much acclaim for their vibrant live shows, Curse Of Lono are now set to release their debut full-length album.

We caught up with Felix from the band to find out more… 

Hi guys, welcome to Gigslutz! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are?
Hi there! I’m Felix, and I sing and play guitar in Curse Of Lono.

Which band would you say has most influenced your sound?
We have so many influences that it’s impossible to pin it down to one band. The three that we’ve been compared to the most are The Doors, The Velvet Underground and The National.

You’ve played lots of live shows, which has been your favourite gig so far and why?
We opened for Alabama 3 a few weeks ago and that was definitely one of the best shows so far. The sound was great, the hall was sold out and we just clicked with the audience. It can be hard to open for bigger bands as the audience isn’t there to see you. It’s up to you to convert them. When it works, it’s the best feeling in the world.

You’ve had reviews from sources such as Shindig Magazine, Classic Rock Magazine etc. Which one have you been most shocked by?
Last week we got an incredible review from a very influential music journalist in the US, a guy called Jim DeRogatis. He said that our album is “A cinematic journey down the rabbit hole of Americana… A stumble through hell and high water was never so alluring.”  He used to be at Rolling Stone until he famously got fired for writing a bad review of a Hootie & The Blowfish album. He was asked to testify in the R Kelly case and he had a public row with Ryan Adams when he published an angry voicemail Adams left him following a bad review. I have books this guy has written about The Velvet Underground and Lester Bangs, so it was a massive honour to have him write about us!

Do you think the break up of  Hey Negrita has influenced the sound of the new music? If so, in what ways?
Hey Negrita was a much more rootsy affair. I love the four albums we released but when the band split up, I wanted to do something new. I started working with producer Oli Bayston (aka Boxed In). Oli loves Radiohead and Krautrock, so he saw the songs I’d written from a different angle. We threw all the old templates out the window and followed the songs wherever they wanted to go.

Which track from your new album would you classify as your favourite?
That’s a really tough question. ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ is the catchiest, ‘London Rain’ is the coolest; ‘Just My Head’ is the deepest and ‘He Takes My Place’ is the saddest. You decide which one you like best!

Out of your whole music career, what would you say has been the greatest achievement for you and why?
In 2008 my mate Alex Walker and I grabbed a camcorder and made a music documentary called ‘We Dreamed America’. The film premiered at SXSW Film Festival and we curated a showcase out there with Alabama 3, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Hey Negrita, The Barker Band and a bunch of others. It was mental. But, if you’re talking about pure music, then the new album is by far my greatest musical achievement. You can bury me with this record!!

Do you believe that being from London has influenced your sound?
Definitely. There is a cynicism and a darkness to some of our music that could only have been brewed here. London can be the greatest city in the world, but it can also be a very lonely place. It’s easy to feel isolated and abandoned in the crowd.

What made you think of the name Curse Of Lono? Were you influenced by the book by Hunter S. Thompson?
I was reading the book when we were cutting the first demos and I loved the madness and the crazy Ralph Steadman illustrations. The name seemed to fit the mood of the music, so we borrowed it.

What does the future hold for Curse of Lono?
Our album Severed comes out 7th April, and we’re excited about our next London headline gig at Water Rats on 20th  April. After that we’re hoping to play The Great Escape in Brighton followed by some other festivals. We’ll also be heading out on our first headline tour later in the year.

Huge Thanks to Curse Of Lono for answering our questions!

Severed, the upcoming debut album from Curse Of Lono, is out 7 April via Submarine Cat Records.



Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.