For the first time ever Cures and Curses AKA Aaron Akpojaro has a new outlook on his musical career. It has structure and plans to it. A timeline that he can see ahead of himself is on display to help him navigate a daunting journey and intimidating industry. He sits in a dark corner of his family home in an attempt to avoid the upstairs noise, coincidentally, so am I.
We begin with his brand new EP Liberate Me which for such a fresh artist feels wonderfully complete, like a nicely wrapped present — bow and all. “Thanks I’m glad that shows, I think I have a really good idea of how a record should ebb and flow. I’ve tried to emulate it from just listening to some of my favourite records,” he says.
Cures and Curses is a relatively fresh name on the alternative scene. Still in the ‘growing pains’ stage, finding his footing amongst a sea of new music, Aaron’s writing is thick with themes of mental health and the kinds of things that spill out of someone’s thoughts during rough times. Mixing in pop melodies and succulent breakdowns makes for anthems to be screamed out loud, something that Aaron does best.
“I started out playing classical music actually,” he explains though. “I was in a bunch of orchestras where I played oboe. Then, I heard Good Charlotte for the first time and decided I needed an electric guitar,” he laughs.
“Immediately, I ditched the classical stuff for pop punk and started writing songs when I was about thirteen. I played in a band all throughout school actually, somehow I’ve ended up where I am now.”
Nowadays, Aaron tends to avoid the whole ‘labelling’ thing that us journalists love to do. His music in many ways defies definition, straddling the boundaries of several genres at once, often within a single song.
“I find it hard to label what genre Cures and Curses actually is so my friends have a running joke of calling it pop punk all the time. I mean it is probably one of my most listened to genres but there’s just too much controversy associated with it,” he laughs.
Not worried about being too commercial, too alternative or too pop, Aaron is simply doing what he wants to do: a sentiment that’s embedded in his work thus far.
On Liberate Me Curses and Curses gives everything from positive pop to tracks that let his emotions gush out. ‘Room in My Head’ is a track that follows what feels like the suffocation of Aaron’s mental state whilst ‘Hurt Myself’ – it may sound sad from the title but it isn’t – is frenetic at times and really supports the EP title. Throughout, Aaron sounds liberated. The pop elements give the album the kick of positivity that it needs and the melodies worm their way into your brain as Aaron melts his influences and experiences together.
“I used to hate writing personal music to be honest, it really didn’t feel satisfying. People say it’s cathartic but I write something like that and still feel shit after. When it came to this record though the best songs seemed to be the ones that dug deeper.”
Music is therapeutic and comforting but if you’re listening to music to therapize yourself you should probably look into actual therapy. After all, it isn’t an artist’s job to explore potentially traumatic thoughts for streams and they shouldn’t feel that they have to either…
Aaron is open-minded though: “Maybe the songs don’t have to be for me? Maybe it’s for someone else to connect to. I’m stepping outside of myself a bit there.”
Humble and selfless, Aaron speaks with a voice that shows careful consideration for his craft. Until recently, the artist was based in Liverpool: a city known for its mixture of Irish humour and English good will. Now, he’s based in the capital, where he is yet to play his first headline show: a reality that’s pushing Aaron back to the drawing board.
“I think the time invested in playing gigs right now is better put into something else,” he explains. “I want to grow my audience first and then play to those people when they’ve caught on.”
Culturally Liverpool and London are two very different places and, after living in the former for six years, Aaron’s enjoying life back living in London.
“It’s good,” he grins. “I love Liverpool and I can see myself going back up north one day, but I’m pleased to be back. It’s good to be here in London and it’s exciting because I’ve never really done this scene as an adult.”
A promising venture with a bright future down south, Curses and Curses is hitting on a lot of feel good elements. Big choruses and relatable lyrics check, Aaron’s finding his feet with a hearty offering that’s sure to lead to greener pastures.
Listen to Cures and Curses debut EP Liberate Me now on Spotify and Apple Music.