Curve were an English alternative rock and electronica duo from London, formed in 1990 and split in 2005. The band consisted of Toni Halliday (vocals, occasionally guitar) and Dean Garcia (bass, guitar, drums, programming). Halliday wrote also the lyrics of their songs and they both contributed to songwriting. An important collaborator was the producer Alan Moulder, who helped them to shape their blend of heavy beats and densely layered guitar tracks set against Halliday's vocals.
Curve released five studio albums (Doppelgänger in 1992, Cuckoo in 1993, Come Clean in 1998, Gift in 2001, and The New Adventures of Curve in 2002), five compilation albums (Pubic Fruit in 1992, Radio Sessions in 1993, Open Day at the Hate Fest in 2001, The Way of Curve in 2004, and Rare and Unreleased in 2010), and a string of EPs and singles.
Dean Garcia, half Hawaiian and half Irish, had played in some small bands when he auditioned for Eurythmics. The English Toni Halliday met Dave Stewart of Eurythmics after he had read a rock magazine interview with her in which she praised his pre-Eurythmics band, The Tourists. Halliday and Garcia were introduced to each other by Stewart. Garcia had played bass guitar as part of Eurythmics' live band in 1983-84 and on two of their studio albums, while Halliday was signed to Stewart's Anxious Records label as a solo artist. The pair formed an ill-fated group named State of Play in the mid-1980s before parting ways, embarking on a no less ill-fated solo career (Halliday) and further stints as a backing musician (Garcia), and then reuniting for a more long-term partnership in Curve.
As Curve, Halliday and Garcia released three acclaimed and increasingly successful EPs (Blindfold, Frozen, and Cherry) throughout 1991 on Anxious Records. They also made an impact on the UK album charts in 1992 with their debut studio album Doppelgänger. The group toured extensively during this period, with Halliday and Garcia being supported on stage by two additional guitarists (Debbie Smith, later of Echobelly, and Alex Mitchell) and a drummer (Steve Monti, formerly of Ian Dury and the Blockheads). Highlights of Curve's live career included a performance at the 1992 Glastonbury Festival, and a package tour of the United States with The Jesus and Mary Chain and Spiritualized.
In 1992, the band released the compilation album Pubic Fruit, containing their first three EPs and an extended mix of the single "Faît Accompli". Toni Halliday also featured on two songs ("Edge to Life" and "Bloodline") from Recoil's album, Bloodline. In 1993, Curve issued Radio Sessions, a compilation album of recordings made during their two sessions for John Peel's show on the UK broadcasting station BBC Radio 1.
Curve's second studio album, the harder-edged Cuckoo (1993), did not repeat the UK Top 20 success of the band's debut. That coupled with the stressfulness of the tour in support of the record, may have contributed to Halliday and Garcia's decision to disband the group in 1994. "It got to the point where Dean didn't want to tour," Halliday told Select magazine (August 1996 edition). "We did reach that point of hedonistic head-fuckery: glugging JD, hollering, 'Where's the schnozz?' You finally get that out of your system and think, 'This is sad.' We couldn't have gone on like that."
During their hiatus, Halliday formed the band Scylla and Garcia began a solo project under the name Headcase. Scylla's track "Helen's Face" was featured on the Showgirls soundtrack. Halliday also collaborated with The Future Sound of London for the song "Cerebral" from Lifeforms (1994), with Freaky Chakra for the song "Budded on Earth to Bloom in Heaven" from Lowdown Motivator (1995), and with Leftfield for their #18 UK hit "Original" from Leftism (1995). She also featured on "Original"'s music video.
Curve returned to the music business in 1996 with the EP Pink Girl With the Blues. In the same year, Curve collaborated with Paul Van Dyk by reworking the mostly instrumental song "Words" from the album Seven Ways and also adding Halliday's vocals.
In 1997, they released "Chinese Burn", the first single to be taken from their third studio album Come Clean (1998). The album is a set of songs displaying a more pronounced influence of electronic music than earlier releases. Curve continued to do small-scale live shows in and around Europe.
The follow-up to Come Clean was an internet-only compilation titled Open Day at the Hate Fest which was released in 2001. Also in the same year, Curve issued Gift, their fourth studio album. Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine also played guitar on the songs "Want More Need Less" and "Perish". The opening song "Hell Above Water" has gained the highest public profile as a result of its use in trailers for the 2002 film Spider-Man and the 2008 film Iron Man.
In 2002, Curve released the internet-only fifth studio album The New Adventures of Curve and various download-only tracks via their official site. In 2003, Toni Halliday collaborated with the industrial rock Japanese band Acid Android on the song "Faults" from the album with the same name.
A two-CD retrospective compilation entitled The Way of Curve summarized the group's output in 2004. The first disc included the band' singles. The second disc contained a selection of B-sides, rarities and remixes. In early 2005, Halliday announced that she had left Curve for good.
In 2010, Curve published some of their most important releases as digital downloads on their Bandcamp page, including a new compilation with 39 songs entitled Rare and Unreleased.
Toni Halliday featured on The Killers' 2006 Christmas track "A Great Big Sled". This song was later included in the 2011 compilation (RED) Christmas EP.
On 27 February 2008, she introduced on MySpace a new solo project called Chatelaine. A number of tracks could be previewed, and were credited to Halliday/Dowd/Salmon, and its MySpace blog declared that a new album was being worked on.
Chatelaine's debut album Take a Line For a Walk was released in 16 June 2010. It featured nine new tracks: "Broken Bones", "Oh Daddy", "Life Remains", "Stripped Out", "Shifting Sands", "Killing Feeling", "Take a Line For a Walk", "Head To Head" and "Seen and Lost".
In 2012, Halliday contributed vocals to Orbital's soundtrack for remake of the film Pusher.
Dean Garcia is currently a member of the band SPC ECO with his daughter Rose Berlin and Joey Levenson (2007-present). In February 2009, SPC ECO released their first album, 3-D, through their website and via Collide's label Noiseplus Music. 3-D was followed by the albums You Tell Me in 2011 and Dark Notes in 2012.
Garcia is also member of the bands The Black Holes (with Jo Neale; 2007-present), The Chronologic (2006-present), Inkraktare (with Mark Wallbridge aka Vasko The Pig; 2009-present),The Secret Meeting (with kaRIN and Statik of Collide; 2007-present),KGC (with Sascha Konietzko and Lucia Cifarelli of KMFDM; 2006-present) and Morpheme (2010-present).
Garcia's newest project Morpheme is a collaboration with Perry Pelonero (Clenched Fist, Skylight, Bliss City East), and Kim Welsh (Skylight, Bliss City East). On 8 December 2010, Morpheme released their first track, Infection and on 5 May 2011, they released their second track, Stratosphere on their debut single Infection.
Dean Garcia has also released a solo album on 1 January 2011, entitled How Do You Feel?, with special guests Vasko the Pig, Todd Astromass and Jeff Beck.
Music style and influences:
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic described Curve's style as a "towering monolith of guitar noise, dance tracks, dark goth, and airy melodies". He also regarded the band's music as a combination of "shoegazer atmospherics and techno beats".
Curve has been inspired by My Bloody Valentine,Cocteau Twins,Killing Joke, Eurythmics,Colourbox,The Cure, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Toni Halliday has occasionally commented on the comparisons between Curve and Garbage, stating in an 1996 interview with Volume magazine, that she could "see bits of Garbage in what we've done, just like we see bits of Sonic Youth or the Valentines or really any band that was doing something supposedly outside the norm. In a way it's very flattering to be tied in with (Garbage drummer and co-producer) Butch Vig, not just because he's a brilliant human being, but because he's a brilliant producer, and he's worked on some of our favourite records. But eventually Garbage are a pop band, and Curve were never a pop band".
Halliday has, on other occasions, also offered contrasting opinions. Interviewed by Cosmik Debris Magazine in 2001, she reminisced on how "Curve had put records out and we always thought they were nice little pop albums full of nice little pop songs. I've always thought that Curve have made great pop. It might come in a different guise to what people presume is pop, you know, like... it doesn't sound like Backstreet Boys pop, but still, there's melody there, and there are hooks, and we've done that on every record we've ever made. ... We've been called 'goth' in England, and we've been called 'noise merchants' and the whole gamut of labels, but not once have we been called a pop band, and I'd really like to be called that".
Toni Halliday (born 5 July 1964 in Parsons Green, Fulham, England) - vocals, occasionally guitar,
Dean Garcia (born 3 May 1958) - bass, guitar, drums, programming,
Debbie Smith - guitar (from 1991 until 1994),
Alex Mitchell - guitar (from 1991 until 1994),
Rob Holliday - guitar (Come Clean era),
Steve Monti - drums,
Stephen Spring - drums,
A detailed gear diagram of Dean Garcia's 2002 Curve bass rig is well-documented.,
A detailed gear diagram of Rob Holliday's 2002 Curve guitar rig is well-documented.,
On YouTube, there's a video available with Alan Moulder working in Curve' recording studio.,
An in-depth interview with Dean Garcia and Toni Halliday from 2002 that covers their live gear as well as their recording methods at their studio, Todal Studios.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license