QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Ryan Hegefeld & Jon Yadon Jr. (LIFT THE CURSE)

witten by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello guys. Thanks for your time. First of all, I wish you all the best for 2023. I hope you had a good start into the new year.

 Ryan: Howdy from Texas! Very excited for this year.

Jon: Hello Pix666! Thanks so much for having us. Happy New Year to you as well!

Pix666: Your band Lift The Curse was formed in 2022. Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences?

Jon: Yes! Lift The Curse is a rock duo hailing from Central Texas. We started Lift The Curse in April of 2022. Ryan and I have been writing songs in other bands together for about 8+ years, and last year came the perfect time to start our new project, Lift The Curse.

Pix666: What kind of experience have you had before in other bands and projects?

Ryan: I personally have been in a few other bands spanning all the way back to 2003. I very much view the band environment to be like a relationship; something built on trust, communication and an overall enjoyment of being together. Without a healthy dose of that stuff the music suffers. And if the music suffers, what’s the point? I learned so much from previous bands and projects and that knowledge has been put to good use since we started Lift The Curse. I love my old bands but the confidence and excitement I have for this one is incredible.

Jon: Ryan nailed it! Haha. I totally agree with everything he said. I started playing guitar when I was 12-13 years old, so back in about 2002-2003. (Ryan is almost exactly a year older than me so he will always be the old man of the band lol). I started playing in a metal band with my best friends in high school (shoutout Manala), then gravitated to more hard rock (shoutout Cloud to Ground), then some country, then played guitar for a singer/songwriter friend of mine (shoutout James Nagel) in college. Ryan and I met in 2014 (I think) and have played in a few projects together like TrineATX and our secret country project, Black Star Sunset. More recently, I’ve done some session guitar work for James Durbin and I currently play guitar live for Metalcore/Electronicore band, The Browning. I also play bass for Austin, Texas based rock/grunge trio, Empty Trail. We just love music!

Pix666: You have already released a few singles in the time that your new band has been around – how were the reactions to the songs and will there be a full length album soon?

Jon: We stayed very busy in 2022. We have released 15 songs since April 2022. The reactions have been awesome! We’re extremely thankful to anyone who takes time out of their day to listen to even a second of our LTC music. That is a VERY relevant question for us haha. We recently decided that we want to package our 15 singles into our first ‘album’ so it’d be easier for new fans to find all of our songs, rather than never seeing an older single. We’re planning to release the album in a week or two (should be available 1/13/23). We are already hard at work on our 2nd album, which will come out in the Spring 2023. We’ll be releasing the first single from that album on 1/27/23. We are shooting the music video for “Love Wins” tomorrow actually (1/11/23). Lots of new music coming soon! 🙂

Here’s an early look at our album art coming out 1/13/23!

Pix666: What do you think of the strategy of some bands not to release albums anymore, but to ‘supply’ the fans with singles and video clips in relatively short intervals?

Ryan: I think both perspectives are just fine. The goal of getting music heard is the same but it’s the work behind the scenes and the timing that are different. I generally get more excited for albums because I love the rollercoaster effect music can have on you but at the same time singles can be dealt out quicker so that’s a plus too.

Jon: We are about to be proof that we support both strategies. The singles approach has worked really well for us in Lift The Curse, but now that we have so many singles out there, we think it makes sense to put those into an album so that our fans can consume our songs as a body of work. Our second album will be more of a planned traditional album format, releasing a few singles & videos leading up to the album release in Spring 2023. We just love making music! 🙂

Pix666: What inspires you to write your music – where do you get the ideas for your lyrics and who is responsible for what in the band in the songwriting process?

Ryan: Super cheesy answer here but music in general I think is the spark. I’ve been writing music since I was 11 so at this point it’s like a habit. I can be doing something totally unrelated to music and then I get a melody or guitar riff idea in my head. Next thing you know I’m taking that idea to my recording set up to build on.

Lyrical ideas are spawned one of two ways. The first is after hearing the songs rhythm and melodic structure, what kind of feeling does it give off? I use notebooks and my phones notes to jot down fresh ideas from those feelings and just like the music it’s a building process. The second is by emotion. Writing lyrics is like a tap straight from your heart/most raw feelings; sadness, hurt, determination and the excitement of dreams. It’s therapy to be able to share that. Jon and I both have brought what we call “ideas” to each other to start the songwriting process. These are the spark and initial starting point for each song. Usually it’s a guitar riff and progression that gets us going. We will work on these together over video calls until we get a structure down. After that, whoever’s idea it started off with, that person then records and “roadmaps” the song. We share large project files back and forth to record our parts and build the song to its final form. We do this all virtually since we live about 90 miles from one another. It’s so much fun! 

Jon: Ryan covered most of it! We really do have so much fun writing music together. It’s just really easy for the most part because we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses really well at this point. We are on the same page and agree 99% of the time. If one of us have an “unpopular” opinion, we can always talk about it and ultimately decide what is best for the song. In terms of recording, like Ryan said we do it remotely in our separate home studios. In most of our songs, Ryan does vocals, his guitar tracks, drums, and any extra piano/strings. I’ll do my guitars, bass, and background vocals. We are very thankful for Apple Logic to record in the same DAW and Google Drive to share all of these files back and forth until songs are complete.

Pix666: I saw that your songs have found their way to listeners in 100 countries via Spotify – really not bad for a new band! I love statistics of all kinds – do you also look at these numbers on Spotify and YouTube regularly?

Ryan: We do! We try to keep up with our progress and love to see the music travel to all the different places. The fact that people from around the world have tuned in is a dream come true for us.

Jon: Wow! Thanks so much for looking that up. That means a lot to us. We love statistics of all kinds too! Yep. I definitely look at the stats a lot. I love the Spotify for Artists app and YouTube has incredible analytics too. It is amazing to see that many countries are listening to Lift The Curse. It means so much to us!

Pix666: Are there already any plans for concerts or a tour in 2023?

Ryan: We have talked about doing numerous shows starting in the Summer of 2023. Can’t wait for that!

Jon: Yes! We only played one Lift The Curse show last year, and it was awesome. We are definitely excited to play more concerts in 2023!

Pix666: I know some bands from Germany that started as a duo but are now a three-piece. Do you think Lift The Curse will remain a duo?

Jon: Yes, I think we will remain a duo. We have a drummer and bass player perform with us live (shoutout to amazing drummer Kyle Vanderhoof from Dizzy Bangers and incredible bassist Rick Lambert who also fronts a rock trio called Empty Trail), but we will most likely remain a duo for everything else. Ryan and I have a songwriting chemistry that is very fluid, productive, and always inspiring.

Shoutout to our mega talented friends Rick (right) & Kyle (second from right)!

Pix666: What have been the milestones so far in the first nine months of Lift The Curse and what plans, dreams and wishes do you have for the future?

Ryan: Just the fact that we have started this off so strongly is massive. It’s all about the music so getting to write, record, release as much as we have has been the greatest accomplishment.

Jon: A huge milestone for us has been just consistently writing, recording, and releasing all the music that we’ve wanted to whenever we wanted to. Ryan and I have been helping each other grow in departments that we’re both passionate about. For example, I’ve been singing backup vocal harmonies & backup screams, Ryan has been playing piano on some songs, and Ryan has been playing more guitar leads (check out his guitar solo in “Believe”. He takes the first solo!). It feels so good to help encourage each other to become better musicians with each song that we write and record. We’re also splitting a lot of our video work. We have a couple good friends that we hire for some music videos, but we also do a lot of our own video work. The plan for the future is really just to keep doing what we’ve been doing and do more of it! It hasn’t even been a full calendar year of Lift The Curse yet, which is extremely exciting. We are aiming to have our second full album done right around the time of our 1st year anniversary as Lift The Curse.

Pix666:  In which locations or at which festivals would you like to perform and if you could tour with any bands, who would they be?

Ryan: I have long dreamed of playing in Europe. Whether that be a small indoor venue or huge outdoor festival, I’ll take it. I would love to tour with Breaking Benjamin or Story of the Year. They look like they have so much fun out there and I bet we could get into a lot of shenanigans together.

Jon: EUROPE!!! South America too. Crowds looks insane there! We’ve both never even been to Europe, let alone play there. I agree with Ryan in that we’d happily play small or large venues. I’ve always dreamed of playing huge festivals like Wacken (I used to watch a Wacken DVD all the time when I first started playing!) Download, Hellfest, Graspop, Summer Breeze, etc. I would love to tour with bands like Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, Bad Wolves, Five Finger Death Punch, Motionless in White, METALLICA! Lol. I could go on and on. We’re both just huge music fans. I think what’s nice and a bit unique for Lift The Curse is that we can cater our live setlist to sort of fit the bill, meaning we could choose more of our metal leaning songs OR choose our more Rock leaning songs, depending on the show or crowd. Ryan and I would happily play anywhere! 🙂

Pix666: Do you have any other news about Lift The Curse or some interesting personal things about you that you would like to share with the fans?

Ryan: Just be ready for new music. I’m so grateful to have Jon as a music collaborator and I promise you that there is never a shortage of ideas. I think one thing I want people to know is that Jon and I don’t just say that we are excited about this stuff. This is our art and the feelings it gives us drives us hard and fast. We are chasing our dreams. Thank you all for being a part of that.

Jon: Ryan said it extremely well! We are just so excited to be able to create new music for you all to hear. There will never be a shortage of song ideas for us. Ryan is my brother in this amazing musical journey, and one of my best friends on the planet. There is no one I’d rather be doing this with. We plan to keep writing music together until our dying days.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck for the future and stay healthy!



photos © by Lift The Curse and Hela Pictures