INTERVIEW: Curvy Sounds | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Just like Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders, Curvy Sounds is a treasure trove of finds. It’s more than just a shop; husband and wife team Jessie and Andrew have fostered a hub of creativity. Andrew customises and fixes bespoke guitars, and has an incredibly intuitive understanding of instruments and materials. Jessie runs the business and shop side, and eagerly explains what makes Curvy Sounds the ‘go to’ place for regional musicians:We were excited by the incredibly talented community of musicians in the North East and wanted to provide a repair service that set up instruments to play at their best. We had an abiding fascination with quirky instruments from different cultures and hoped to reflect and celebrate the tastes of our community.”

An important factor in Curvy Sounds’ success is that it needed to be in the heart of the community. “When we saw 31 Heaton Hall Road, we fell in love. The rent was fantastically cheap, which was obviously very appealing with us just starting our business. It was in a terrible state, so Andrew worked incredibly hard doing it up.” Having the right people involved has always been key, and that extends to the shop’s first landlord Leo Ormston, who passed away last August. “Leo was responsible for the survival of Curvy Sounds, halving our rent when Andrew was going through operations and treatment for cancer.” Jessie explains. “We would like to commemorate Leo and his incredible kindness; without him Curvy Sounds would have gone under.”

We were excited by the incredibly talented community of musicians in the North East and wanted to provide a repair service that set up instruments to play at their best.

Andrew and Jessie’s hard work in creating a hub for local music has paid dividends, and they’re thrilled to be able to cater to young musicians at the start of their career. “We love watching them grow and hearing the music they produce. We also feel very privileged to have worked on the instruments of some of the finest musicians in the North East. What’s more, we love it when we find our shop full of women, a guitar shop full of women is a rare and wonderful thing!”

Last Christmas they started an environmentally conscious scheme for the area. “We promised to plant a tree for every guitar we sold. Just before lockdown, we donated the first five wild cherry tree saplings to Hotspur School in Heaton, for the key workers’ kids to plant. When lockdown ends we plan to plant 25 oaks with the charity Living Woods North East, in their Durham woodland area.”

Curvy Sounds have adapted to things as best they can in the current climate. Customers can buy online, they’re open by appointment only in the mornings, and they’re delivering locally. “We will let people know when we are starting to take in repairs again. We hope to gradually go back to business as usual, but our shop is small and crammed full of instruments, so I think we will need to have one customer in at a time.”

Andrew’s currently keeping busy by customising a guitar which they plan to raffle or auction off to raise money for the NHS. Jessie explains: “We are working out how exactly we are going to do this and will let our customers know on social media how to join. He is carving an ornate design into the wood of an Epiphone SG, giving it a look of aged decadence that we think will look truly resplendent when it is done.”

Curvy Sounds is located at 31 Heaton Hall Road, Newcastle. Visit them online to buy instruments and equipment

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