Emerging band Subtle Curves are anything but subtle. Formed in Ottawa only a year ago, they’ve been making waves with their unique sound best described as alternative soul. They released their first single, “Rage Without” in December 2017, and since then, have been on a non-stop ride of sold-out gigs, songwriting, industry meetings, and are currently in the studio recording their first EP, due this fall. Their latest video single, “My Mind” (June 2018), is a cover from a very new artist named Yebba, and it will take your breath away… watch it below.
Their music is a unique whirl of hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and rock that resonates with lots and lots of soul. Whether it’s a slow searing number or one filled with energetic rhythm backbone, every song grabs you instantly. The core songwriters are guitarist Gent Zaplluzha, and lead vocalist Megan Francoeur. Their live shows include members Devon Swords (drums), Jaden Allaire (keys), and Josh Hillier (bass).
The idea for the band’s name came during a conversation in which someone used those words to describe design features from some of Gent’s guitar collection. Those words resonated immediately with the rest of the members and instantly stuck… although there is nothing subtle about their sound.
Apt613 reached out for a chat with the band before their show at Pressed on Saturday, July 14.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Megan Francoeur: “We like to go from what I like to call these really sinful rock moments, and then back to more sultry elements. I think I bring the soul with my voice and Gent with his guitar. The alternative comes from the overall background sound. Everyone in the band likes different music, and we all connect somehow on middle ground.”
Gent began playing guitar at 13, developed an avid interest in music production during high school, and followed up with an audio engineering music business program, which has proven more than helpful with the band’s own recording. His attraction to multiple genres of rock, blues, hip-hop, R&B, and jazz influences has lent much to the versatile and creative colour in their songwriting:
Everyone in the band likes different music, and we all connect somehow on middle ground.
Gent Zaplluzha: “When we started, we realized genres such as punk, hard rock, soul, and R&B all make people move a lot. There’s different types of movements ranging from a very sexy wavy back-and-forth dancing, to jumping around and punching things, which is equally as liberating. We want to almost confuse people by bringing all these things together. Movement is great—if you’re listening to something that makes you move, it’s doing something right.”
The truly exceptional and elastic vocals of Megan Francoeur, which are front and center, I would describe as an instrument, moving seamlessly and effortlessly between highs, lows, and textures ranging from full-on register to the strong and beautiful tones of her falsetto. Megan has had no formal training… she talks about that and her many influences:
“I like to take the smokiness of Janis Joplin’s voice and pair it with clean pop and soul voices like Christina Aguilera and Etta James. I listened to a lot of music in my room growing up. I was super shy and didn’t step onto a stage until I was 17—I’m now 22. But that first time I stepped on, my shyness disappeared and I felt at home onstage. I wasn’t confident enough to even talk to people but I loved being on the stage.”
Subtle Curves has just finished performing at Quai Des Brumes in Montreal as part of a showcase of emerging Ottawa artists through the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition. Paired with mentors, they are being groomed for touring and other business aspects of the music industry. This is a band to definitely watch for as they prepare to zoom out of their germination stage.
Catch Subtle Curves on Saturday, July 14 at Pressed (750 Gladstone Ave) at 8pm. Admission costs $7 at the door. Visit subtlecurvesband.com for more information.