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10 questions with musical duo Pansy Boys

Twin brothers Kyle and Joel Curry on embracing queerness and finding community
March 11, 2021
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By Richard Burnett, BA 88

album cover, featuring Kyle and Joel Curry "Seasons of Doubt" is the latest EP released by Pansy Boys. | Photo: Charles Vary

Canadian duo Pansy Boys is capturing the hearts and minds of music fans of dreamy orchestral pop. Formed by queer Toronto-based twins Kyle Curry, BFA 17, and Joel Curry, BFA 17, the brothers’ music has been dubbed “dreamy melancholy for troubled times” by CBC Arts, and New York City’s Paper magazine praises their new album Seasons of Doubt for its “dizzying range of emotions felt in romantic relationships [and] lush electronic instrumentation.”

The Curry brothers, who came of age while attending Concordia, and share a deep bond, have reclaimed the word “pansy” and are often mentioned in the same breath as Canada's other queer musical twins, Tegan and Sara.

In this candid Q&A, they share their journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

When did each of you learn that your brother is gay?

Kyle Curry: We always knew. We were doing choreographed dances to Britney Spears and Madonna when we were very young. Then I came out when I was 16. I didn't talk to Joel about it before. I think we just assumed that the other already knew. When I came out on Valentine's Day, our older brother asked Joel, ‘Are you gay, too?’

Joel Curry: I was happy, and it also took the pressure off of me.

What was it like coming out to your parents?

artistic photo of Kyle and Joel Curry Toronto-based twin brothers Kyle and Joel Curry reclaimed the term “pansy” while studying at Concordia. | Photo: Charles Vary

JC: It was fine and we're lucky it went well. I remember saying something like, ‘You have two crazy gay kids!’

KC: We had such little knowledge of what it even meant to be a queer person. Our parents were fine with our idea of what gay was at the time. Obviously, there were moments of silence and misunderstanding along the way as we embraced our queerness. But we were lucky and privileged that we never had too much trouble.

What was it like growing up in Stittsville, Ontario?

KC: It was a bit of a spectacle to be feminine twins in the arts but it created a layer of strength within us that I think we're lucky to have. We always say that we were lucky to have each other. We always had someone to talk to even if we didn’t know exactly what we were feeling. We never felt isolated or alone. Plus, we have similar interests. Growing up in the suburbs, we also escaped by creating other realities. These are themes we explore in our songwriting.

Why did you attend Concordia together?

KC: We both wanted to study music and Montreal was a huge plus for finding a sense of community among musicians and also within queer culture. That led us to Concordia. We never thought of going separate ways, especially since we have the same goals.

How similar are you?

KC: This is the big reveal: we're fraternal twins. But we have all the exact same interests. When we went to Concordia, we basically had the same schedule. I think we're one entity. It was never, ‘Is Kyle coming over?’ It was, ‘When are the twins coming?’ We operate on the same wavelength at all times.

JC: We always joke that there’s an invisible wire between our minds. We are always interconnected. If we ever feel bad, we know something's wrong.

Where does your name Pansy Boys come from?

KC: During our final year at Concordia we had to do a capstone of our body of work and had to choose a name. No more dilly-dallying.

JC: I saw a photo of a pansy with a feminine man. I thought about what the term “pansy boy” means to people, and how our music is a bit dreamy, like walking through a bed of flowers. Then it hit me and after class, I went up to Kyle and said, ‘I think I found it!’ Today, when people ask what our band name is, they never forget it.

How does your queerness inform your work?

KC: It completely directs our day-to-day experiences and creative life. In the beginning our work was more politically charged. Now much of it comes from our personal experiences. It’s important to share queer narratives with all people — honest experiences that people can learn from and also celebrate.

When we went to Concordia we realized there is a whole queer culture and community and it has a huge history and future. We wanted to put that into our work and acknowledge this queerness and the beauty that is queerness — and shed light on that experience in whatever way we can.

JC: It's important to cherish the idea of liberating yourself rather than just assimilating and being what people want you to be.

What has the reaction been to your new EP Seasons of Doubt?

KC: It's been pretty good and we’re happy with the media attention so far. We're just hoping we can do some live shows in 2021 and get the music out there for more people. At this point I guess we are considered more studio musicians but we grew up as theatre kids and love live performance.

JC: During the pandemic we wrote 20 new songs, so it's been a very creative time.

Do you compose your songs together?

JC: We write alone, which surprises us. I’ll compose a song on the piano, or Kyle will, then we'll send a voice recording and pray that the other likes it. But we have the same sort of sonic influences. Then we come together in the studio with our production team.

How did your time at Concordia help shape you and your careers?

JC: Montreal was our biggest teacher; the city opened our eyes to who we could be. Within Concordia, what was so great was meeting and working with different musicians.

KC: We met so many different kinds of people at Concordia, not just artists. We collaborated on projects and we're still good friends with most of them to this day. Concordia helped us forge lifelong collaborators and friendships.

 

Know a Concordia grad with an interesting story? We’d love to hear it. Email us at magazine@concordia.ca.



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