The members of local band 4th Curtis are fresh-faced and irritable. They’re obviously young, and their music is concerned with the political.
“We do bill ourselves as an all-trans band,” said singer and keyboardist Ty Gale. “To us, that was not initially important. It was more coincidental that we were three trans musicians. Lex [Noens] just wanted to find people who were good and vibed well.”
But as time wore on, the group’s impact on the lives of other marginalized groups informed their creative process.
“We started getting all of these messages on Facebook,” said singer and guitarist Lexington Noens. “They were from other trans kids saying that our songs were helping them get through hard times. I never wanted the band to be focused on topics that would divide people, but then I started to realize that helping get a positive message of these people out there was the least I could do.”
4th Curtis started in 2014 as Noens’ solo project. Noens, who was born in central New York, moved to Minneapolis to attend McNally Smith College of Music for songwriting.
A couple weeks after meeting Gale at orientation, the pair became friends. Noens began showing Gale songs.
“By the time I joined the band I already knew every song,” Gale said. “For a while, [Noens] would show me songs when they would write them and I would just listen.”
Eventually, Noens met drummer Maddie Morley. The group was formed.
“4th Curtis is the best project I’ve ever been a part of,” Morley said. “Without a doubt.”
Once the group was complete, they began to create proper studio recordings with Noens’ stockpile of songs and demos. Their newest record, “I Won the Pageant”, was recorded with Andy Halverson at McNally. A record release show is set for Feb. 26 at 7th St. Entry with Tony Peachka, Lydia Liza and ahem.
The record’s songs cover disabilities, queer identity and mental illnesses — reflecting Noen’s growing cynicism with the status quo.
“[Noens] writes the songs, obviously,” Morley said. “[They’re] a monarch of disgusting beauty. There’s a line on the album that says, ‘I ate my words and they gave me the runs.’”
The band is as hands-on as possible when making their music videos, records and building hype. This control serves as an important rallying cry for artists who are marginalized.
While the group hasn’t released their debut record, they already have the next few written.
“It was great working with [Halverson],” Gale said. “But I would like a little bit more control over our recordings. I was a production student, so I at least sort of know what I’m doing.”
Other future goals? To blend their political leanings with a creative world all their own.
“We want to make a complete narrative with a lot of different media components that makes a cohesive world around 4th Curtis. And we want to stress the idea of a found family, because that’s what we are, a family,” Gale said.