The Curious Mystery 


Though stationed in the green wilds of Seattle, it's time, Indiana, that you got to know The Curious Mystery. This is not due to their March 20th show at The Bishop Bar, but because they're about to take over the world.

As you can imagine, this soon-to-be dominant power began as most do.

"Nic [Gonzalez] and I started the band as a duo, we have pretty similar taste in music; especially 60's blues and soul, Eastern music, and we're into some of the same classical composers and jazz. We like a lot of the same rock groups too, but we probably differ about rock music more than any other genre. Then eventually we added a drummer and bass player so Nic could focus on shredding," said vocalist Shana Cleveland. "We've been a fan of Johnny's [Goss] bass playing for years; as part of Cock and Swan, and The Pica Beats. Marian [Li Pino] also plays drums with Johnny in the Pica Beats; she's the newest member and she's amazing."

The strange brew of sounds Cleveland touches upon find their way into The Curious Mystery's odd motif: a combination of modern pop layered with decades of musical influence.

"Nic's into more experimental stuff while I go more for catchy garage nuggets, the Stones, the Velvets," said Cleveland. But how do four individuals playing quirky, experimental pop go from quaint Seattle secret to global power? A large part of that falls in the hands of the band's equally unique videos - notably "Night Ride Reeling" from last year's We Creeling, and recent single "Be Still" from the band's forthcoming 7-inch on K Records.

"If I'm really into a band's visual aesthetic I usually assume I'll like the music, or I'll at least be more likely to give it a listen. For all our videos so far we've been lucky to have our friends at So Spun We Spun West put them together. My artistic know-how does not extend to video, and my video ideas are usually limited to trying to recreate an episode of 'The Monkees'," said Cleveland. "For the 'Night Ride Reeling' video, the concept was to kind of cover the New Edition video for 'Cool It Now' but with a character called Space Worm in place of the pretty girl."

And when Cleveland isn't writing fan fiction dedicated to Guns 'n Roses, she's hard at work on the band's visual aesthetic.

"I do a lot of drawing and painting so I end up making most of our posters and designing things that need designing. It's pretty important to me. I've bought records before based entirely on their covers and song titles," said Cleveland.

The Curious Mystery sustains a heavy tour schedule, which includes a month-long residency at New York City's Ace Hotel.

"We played a show at the Ace on our last tour. It has this beautiful lobby and they have a Sunday music series which is booked and DJ'd by this guy Chris, who dug our band and asked if we'd be interested in coming back to do a residency for a month," said Cleveland. "So we choose April so we could stop by SXSW on the way. In between Ace Hotel shows, we'll be touring around the East coast and a bit of the South, playing a string of shows with Calvin's band, The Hive Dwellers."

They've got good memories of the Ace, too.

"Last time we were there, Tre Cool was throwing a birthday party for his girlfriend at the hotel and it was "pimps and hoes" themed. We're hoping to meet lots of famous people there who will give us money and buy us meals," said Cleveland.

Clever pop musicians willing to tour much of the U.S. and accept free meals whenever they can - The Curious Mystery is indeed a frightful foursome hellbent on taking over the earth — or maybe just rocking out for people looking for some fun.

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