In 2002, Janet Simpson-Templin (vocals, guitars, and piano), Brian Moon (bass and vocals), and and Chance Shirley (drums) spontaneously formed the band after a late night at the old Barnstormers in Montevallo. Fiddle player Kevin Nicholson joined a year later and the current lineup of Delicate Cutters was born.
“Well, the name is something I sort of threw on for our first show - we needed a name quickly so I could make some fliers. I don’t remember really consulting anyone about it, now that I think about it. But I chose it as a tribute to my favorite band, Throwing Muses, who have a song by that name. Digging deeper, the term delicate cutters, which refers specifically to gendered self mutilation (i.e. cutting) seemed to fit the music, which has a lot to do maybe with some psychic self-mutilation. It’s a little tongue in cheek, but it seems to fit,” Simpson-Templin says.
Musically, the band draws influence from a variety of rock, pop, and soul, such as The Beatles, REM, Prince, Throwing Muses, and the Talking Heads.
“Lyrically, I’m drawn to imagery from nature and the weather, so you’ll see a lot of the moon in there, a lot of months and seasons, because I’m very aware of that connection. A lot of the songs deal with familial subjects - I’m very close with my family - but the subjects are often a blend of family and friends,” Simpson-Templin says.
So far, the band has released two solid recordings, last year’s Some Creatures (which garnered an award for best album by an Alabama artist from Moddy’s, Mobile Bay’s arts and culture publication) and 2010’s We Are Not Lovers. They are also signed to Birmingham’s Skybucket label. Both of these accomplishments have helped propel the band forward.
“I don’t know if people realize what an accomplishment it can be just to make an album. It took us three years each to do our first two albums. Once we signed to Skybucket, we got a lot more motivated. I’m so glad that we’re finally getting heard outside of our little sphere, and we owe that in part to Skybucket. We’ve also made a couple of music videos in support of Some Creatures. That’s been a lot of fun,” Simpson-Templin says.
The band has taken their live shows to several great venues, such as The Basement in Nashville and The Tavern in Jackson, as well as cities like Athens, Austin (South by Southwest) and New Orleans. They have opened for some of indie’s biggest bands such as The Low Anthem and Margot and The Nuclear So and So’s.
They’re currently recording their third album, Ring, with Les Nuby III of Ol Elegante Studios.
“The sound of the album is quite different, too, because it’s a different room, a different set of ears behind the board, and a different production style. But it sounds like us, to the core,” Simpson-Templin says.
“Over the last nearly ten years, we have all grown as individuals. Marriages and divorces and losses in our families have happened. We bring all that into our creative process, I think. But even more importantly, we’ve grown together, grown to know one another instinctively. I think that knowing one another more deeply translates into a more holistic sound. Things are less contrived and more organic,” she says, reflecting on the band’s eventful history.
For more information on Delicate Cutters, you can follow them on Twitter (@delicatecutters), become a fan on Facebook, or visit their website at www.delicate-cutters.com.
The band will be opening for Dare Dukes at Bottletree on Wednesday, February 1st. Doors for this 18-andup show open at 8 PM and the cost is $8 advance, $10 day of show.