INTERVIEW: Keith Curtis

Hi Keith, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hello Vents! I’ve been great, very stoked to be releasing this EP and get back into the gig playing mode. I started this project last Fall and it feels amazing to finally share the results of all the hard work with other music appreciators.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Taking Off And Landing”?

I think “Taking Off and Landing” captures my songwriting ability and showcases the sound I’m going for when it comes to songwriting in general. It’s in open tuning which I love to play in, it gives the song a deeper softer feel that I’m striving for. The idea behind the song was to strike a balance between a smooth finger picking pattern and lyrics that were relatable, but also allowed for the listener to come to their own conclusion about what they might mean. This is my first single and EP and I’m really proud of how they both turned out.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

More than any one event I think it was a summary of events that inspired this song. It wasn’t until long after the song was finished and I had some time away from it that I was able to reflect on the lyrics. Without question this song was inspired by the growing pains I think many of us experience as we go through life. It’s what makes me proud of this song, the fact that I feel it’s relatable to many people.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Right now we’re in the pre-production stage of the video, we hope to have it available online by the Fall.

The single comes off your new album Happiness Is Hard – what’s the story behind the title?
Ultimately I was looking for a true statement to package these songs, and once I came up with this idea I imagined everyone could relate to it.  I have a lot to be thankful for and in general consider myself a pretty happy person, however the feeling of being content or happy has only been possible for me with hard work. While I think of myself as happy, I’ve had to work hard to get here and it’s undoubtedly a work in progress. I definitely think each of us has to earn our own happiness and it’s not always easy to get it.

How was the recording and writing process?

We recorded these songs in two different locations; Winterland Studios in Plymouth, MN and Tonal Control in Columbia Heights, MN. Matt Guertin was the producer for this project and owner of Tonal Control. He and I were pretty selective on which location to use based on the instruments we were recording.  This was only my second time in a professional studio setting which created a very cool learning experience. One big take-away from this recording experience was the importance of doing several takes in order to have the luxury of choosing the one take that we thought fit best for any given part of a song, that way we weren’t stuck with only one or two takes. Thankfully, most of the writing was done before we stepped into the studio, this took a lot of pressure off me as the song writer and allowed me to enjoy the process of recording it.

What role does Minneapolis play in your music?

Thanks to the thriving music scene in and around Minneapolis many national artists want to play here as they can draw a legit size crowd. That’s made it easy for me to see some of my favorite artists both national and international at places like First Avenue, The Armory and Target Center. Minneapolis has carved out venues for new artists to share their music whether it be at an open mic, coffee shop or brewery.  It’s becoming much easier to find new and local talent around town. All this in mind, knowing that there is an appetite for good music helps keep me inspired to do the best work possible.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I can pinpoint specific moments in my life I was reflecting on when I wrote these lyrics. The first verse is all about my inner being that undoubtedly has a voice of it’s own, I suppose you could call it my gut. On good days it sounds like “little birdies on the ground” and on bad days I suppose it means I need to grab to eat. Also during this time I was meditating on moments of personal growth, like falling in love and the desire to travel, while at the same time considering the chaotic time we live in. All together these ideas provided a true representation of what life has been like for me. Thankfully I had a soft, smooth fingerpicking riff in open tuning that would accommodate these types of lyrics and provide a warm soundscape as the backdrop.

What else is happening next in Keith Curtis’ world?

I really enjoy playing gigs and intend on playing smaller shows throughout the Summer and into the Fall in support of this release. In addition to playing gigs I’m teaming up with Matt Guertin of Tonal Control again to help finish up my next single which will be available in the Fall.



About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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