On Devil’s Curse – the follow-up to Kat Bryan’s recent single Circus of the Living – the Vancouver-based singer-songwriter explores the complexities and boundaries of unbridled passion. A meditation on the thin line between love and lust, desire and obsession, Devil’s Curse sees the Canadian singer, songwriter and producer take inspiration from society’s ongoing fascination with those who walk only at night.
The story behind the lyrics on Devils’ Curse is one that is deeply personal to Kat, but the song is also partially based on a very modern cultural movement.
“Devil’s Curse is a sexy, dark love song about obsession and how passion and lust can feel like a curse. It is one of the more story driven songs I have written, that exists in its own kind of universe. It almost feels like the title song of some kind of vampire story. By playing around the edges of that vampire theme, the lyrics and smoky vocal create an atmosphere of temptation and danger, thick with needing and desire but also a sense of helplessness to powerful emotions.”
Expanding on these themes, she adds, “I have always had a complicated relationship with love and the emotions that come with it, so I often find myself retreating into fantasy and these hyper-dramatic situations in an attempt to rationalize how out-of-control and extreme these feelings can be. So, in some ways Devil’s Curse is a work of fiction, but it is also an extension of something real.”
The cinematic nature of the track absorbs some of the sonic and visual styles of two of the world’s greatest auteur film directors:
“The sound and aesthetic of this song was partially inspired by one of my favourite films – Only Lovers Left Alive – with Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, and a little bit of David Lynch’s Lost Highway. Only Lovers Left Alive is a quietly mesmerizing story of two vampires existing through time together. It’s morose yet sexy and that’s the kind of tone I wanted for Devil’s Curse.
“I relied heavily on a strong synth bass line that along with the first lyric, ‘Midnight, in the tempest of my mind’ sets the atmosphere. The slightly broken drumbeat and the synths were a small nod to Michael Hutchence and Trent Reznor, who’s work on Lost Highway really helped establish that dark underbelly of the film. By keeping the verses, particularly the first one, quite spare I wanted to elicit a lonely scene. In my mind this song is the auditory equivalent of the abandoned road on the wrong side of town at 3am when monsters start emerging from the shadows.”
That cinematic influence bleeds into not just the sound of the song, but also its structure.
“When the chorus comes in, I wanted there to be a clear shift in vibe between the opening verse and the chorus, as the story perspective shifts from one of a cold-hearted hunter to someone who is a victim of their own need. With the addition of soft piano chords, a slowly ascending piano melody and melancholy backing vocals, the chorus is distinctly softer in tone with a sense of longing and wistfulness in the words. The last line however comes back in with a vengeance, so we know the hunt is back on.”
“The push and pull throughout the song is what I think makes it special and one I keep going back to. There is a clear battle for the main character who is happily hunting, or seducing depending on how you want to read into it, her prey one moment, and then regretful of her actions the next. The sheer drama and over the top eccentricity of Devil’s Curse makes it one I love performing. It’s a juicy bit of escapism that speaks to the dark corners of my soul.”
Devil’s Curse was released on the 29th of July via AnalogueTrash in digital formats, available to stream and download on all major stores and platforms. The track will feature on Kat Bryan’s upcoming album which is due for release later this year.