Around the Fur: A Conversation with Shower Curtain

Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay
Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay
Shower Curtain’s Victoria Winter talks about coming to America, meeting her bandmates through Brooklyn’s bustling DIY scene, their warm and fuzzy new single, and grieving over her cat.
by guest writer Will Yarbrough
Stream: “edgar” – Shower Curtain

Shower Curtain has come an awfully long way.

Victoria Winter recorded her first EP in the bustling city of Curitiba sometime around 2018. Following an abrupt stint in Southern California, Winter returned to Brazil’s southern coast right in time for the pandemic. Luckily, an acceptance letter from one of the world’s top-ranked schools for art and design sent her off to New York City. But it wasn’t until the beginning of this year, during a short visit back home, that she found the inspiration for her fuzzy new single.

“My family’s dog was smelling underneath this bench that I was sitting at in the park,” Winter says. “Then these little kids ran up shouting, ‘There’s a cat!”

Winter knew right away that her snow-white companion was an instant keeper, though she only planned on mending the poor little guy’s injured paw before tracking down his rightful owner. Of course, her mind changed once she learned he was a stray and that it only cost $200 to bring him stateside.

“I had been wanting to adopt a cat in New York, but I didn’t feel in my gut like any I’d looked at were the right one,” she says. “I’ve had so many pets my whole life, but this one is different. I already loved him so much.”

Scratching Edgar’s wrinkly belly isn’t the only way that Winter stays in touch with her roots. When she’s not mixing baile funk into her own sweaty DJ mixes, she’s been slipping her native tongue between pillowy dream pop. “Me Engole” was released by Brazilian label Balaclava and features fellow countrymen Banda Beto.

But a lot has changed since we last heard from Shower Curtain.

Despite two years of radio silence, Winter has been making plenty of noise at DIY venues alongside Cyrogeyser, Computerwife and other up-and-coming Brooklynites. In the process, what started out as a neat bedroom recording project has grown into a well-oiled band. She’s now joined by drummer Sean Terrell, plus the duo of Jillian Olesen (bass) and Ethan Williams (guitar), who make sweet, fleeting tunes together as Punchlove.

Any band that plays footsie with an effects pedal counts as shoegaze nowadays. I could say something even snarkier about slowcore, the other ’90s subgenre that’s re-emerged thanks to TikTok. You could shove Shower Curtain under either of those trendy streams, but the new and improved version of this band doesn’t remind me so much of Duster or My Bloody Valentine. “edgar” does start off at a belly crawl, but the purring reverb is cut off by a riff that crushes with the same grungy, melodic force of Smashing Pumpkins. Shower Curtain aren’t shy when it comes to laying on the distortion, either. But like Built to Spill, they know how to channel all that hairbrained fuzz into a clear hook. When the chorus hits, the song bursts into a smear of technicolor that could outshine the Big Dipper.

My fraternity was dumb enough to think we could rescue a stray cat. I regret letting Crackers wander outside whenever he wanted, but I hope he had the time of his life like Edgar does in this video. Unfortunately, it’s pure coincidence that our titular feline shares a name with the most fair-haired crooner in all of ’70s blues rock, but he sure does enjoy taking us on a free ride of New York City. Heck, he even manages to score some weed.

But “edgar” is also tailed by a pervasive paranoia. While he’s out sticking his wet nose into all kinds of trouble, Winter searches her apartment late into the night.

We watch her pull back couches, as she rechecks under the bed. She’s not a wordy lyricist. Whether pining after a new crush or running away from long-held ambitions, she’s always let her singing do the talking. Her voice is still soft and sweet, only now it’s also a bit sickly, stretched into a stressed-out sigh.

It’s time to say goodbye,” she resigns, pausing with each breath.

Edgar - Shower CurtainWhile he survived his first trip to the hospital, Edgar now lives with terminal cancer. “It’s like a ticking time bomb,” Winter says. The song buckles under this anxiety, spiraling out of control over a loss that’s inevitable but hasn’t happened yet. “Stay here,” she pleads, straining against a rising tide of noise, as if trying to claw her way back into a dream.

“edgar” might be the first song Winter wrote with her new bandmates, but it’s definitely not the last. While a title and tracklist are still very much in the works, Shower Curtain are almost done recording their debut album, which they’re hoping a label will put out sometime next year.

In the meantime, Winter sat down with me to talk about the evolution of Shower Curtain, life in The Big Apple, and the fateful story behind “edgar.”

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:: stream/purchase edgar here ::
:: connect with shower curtain here ::
Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay
Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay


Edgar - Shower Curtain

Atwood Magazine: Shower Curtain has grown from a solo endeavor into a full-on band. Was that always your intention or did this just kind of happen?

Victoria Winter: I was never really trying to make Shower Curtain into a band. Honestly, it was more just circumstances.

I had already released two EPs, but I played with a band for the first time at a show in Los Angeles in 2019. I was really shy, and I wasn’t confident that it would be good, but I had a lot of fun doing that.

When I moved to New York, I didn’t know anyone. So I started this band really as a way to get to know people. That’s my favorite part of making music. I’ve always liked having friends in the scene and collaborating. It’s really cool now to see everyone’s influence on Shower Curtain. I’m really happy where it’s at right now.

This marks a new era for Shower Curtain. But you've been releasing music for a while now. When did you start?

Victoria Winter: It hasn’t been that long — like, 2015, maybe? But my parents always encouraged me to take music lessons. I played piano and some violin when I was really young, but it never really stuck. I was a hyperactive kid. I didn’t really want to learn how to read sheet music at age 10.

I don't blame you!

Victoria Winter: But around the age of 15 was when I really took a genuine interest in making music. I started with drums. I also wrote music on keyboard. It was easier for me to see the chords.

That's a pretty advanced age to be writing your own songs.

Victoria Winter: I would just research something like “how to play C on piano.” I’d sing into a phone tuner and then transcribe the notes into what I wanted the song to be.

Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay
Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay

How did you decide on the name Shower Curtain?

Victoria Winter: Oh my god, it was so stupid. [laughs] Initially, I wanted to use a fictional name, like Frankie Cosmos or Jerry Paper. But my name is already kind of like that. So I googled “most common nouns” and curtain was one of them. I’m very much not a perfectionist. In a lot of ways, I’m just like, “Okay. Cool. That’s gonna be it.”

Your older sister Samira also makes music. Did the two of you start writing together?

Victoria Winter: It’s been a while since we lived in the same place where we can really write music together. But we always send each other demos and live recordings or songs we’ve discovered.

She told me to learn Zentropy by Frankie Cosmos, because the songs were easy to learn on guitar. I would randomly pick up my instruments and put my fingers places I thought sounded good.

My sister also encouraged me to put the songs I had onto an EP, which I was scared to do. I didn’t want to post anything or promote it. But she’s always super encouraging.

Have you sent her the new album yet?

Victoria Winter: Oh, definitely. Like all of it. As soon as a song is done, I’m like, “Send!”

“edgar” is a lot noisier than your EPs. Did your new bandmates have something to do with that?

Victoria Winter: I’d been trying to make noisier music. “edgar” was written before my guitarist, Ethan, joined, but it sounded different. Ethan is a big shoegaze person, and he’s also my biggest collaborator. His influences helped make the song more dynamic.      

Sean, my drummer, is really into jazzy, experimental music. He comes up with more complex parts than I would. Just being open to his ideas gives the music more edge.

I also played bass on a lot of the tracks that I put out before, but the parts were always very simple and stripped down because that’s what I listen to normally. But my bassist Jillian is super classically trained and also a total shredder.

How did y'all meet?

Victoria Winter: I’m a pretty extroverted person, so thankfully, it’s kind of easy for me to talk to people and get to know them. When I first moved to New York, I lived in the city. It was before the vaccine, so I got these crazy COVID prices. Then I moved to Brooklyn and started going to more shows, like New Colossus. I tell people at that festival that I literally owe them my life. Because that’s where I met people who are really important to me.

When I first got here, a lot of people were in the same boat of having just moved here and not really knowing what’s going on. I see the scene that I’m a part of now as a lot of post-pandemic bands. In 2022, I was just playing shows and meeting people, but I’m really glad that this year I was able to figure out my scene and what’s actually productive for us to do as a band.

I went home at the beginning of this year. But when I came back, I went to a show and it reminded me of when I would write in my journal about how I wished that I could just go to a venue and know people already. Because it was exactly like that. I was like, “Damn, I was really able to do this.” I was able to feel like I really belonged somewhere.

Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay
Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay

Have you collaborated with other artists outside of Shower Curtain?

Victoria Winter: I’m featured on the new single by terraplana, who are a Brazillian shoegaze band that I’m friends with back home. They showed me the original idea and I helped a little bit with the song structure, which isn’t something I normally do. It feels more like a collaborative effort, which is super cool.

You're also a DJ. Did that help you get in with the DIY scene, too?

Victoria Winter: I feel like the scenes are almost entirely separate. The people who go to the DJ stuff don’t go to the other shows. But I love that. Sometimes, when you’re part of a DIY scene, it feels like you see the same people all the time. So it’s an escape for me, to have the DJ stuff.

It’s kind of like my alter ego. I love dancing and I really do like electronic music. DJing is so fun. It’s also a lot less work. [laughs] You just carry around a USB. And honestly? You make more money.

Has DJing influenced the way you're building Shower Curtain?

Victoria Winter: I keep them separate, though I do really want to merge the two together somehow. Lately, I’ve been getting into remixing more songs and using samples. I want Shower Curtain to have the same aesthetic influences that I love from DJing. I don’t want to be in a box of “shoegaze/slowcore band.”

I’m not classically trained at all. I couldn’t tell you what the chords are to my music. I’m just sort of intuitively writing stuff. So I do worry about my songs being too simple. As a musician, you want to be intellectual, especially when your other friends are musicians, too. Sometimes, I’m like, “Ugh, I’m not complicated enough.” I’m being too simple, too pop.

But that’s the kind of music I love listening to. I love pop melodies. I also just love indie rock. So even though there are hazy distortions [in Shower Curtain], what I really love is just indie.

You do bounce around a lot - literally. What made you move to the US?

Victoria Winter: I moved to Los Angeles for college. I went to Occidental but didn’t like it. I was really confused. I felt like I wasn’t adapting to LA because I was raised in Brazil, that maybe things were just too different culturally and I would never adapt to living in the US.

At that time, the only thing happening in my life that I felt happy with was a relationship I had in Brazil. So I said “fuck it” and dropped out of school and moved back home to pursue this romantic interest. But then the pandemic hit and I ended up staying in Brazil for a whole year.

Like a lot of people, I had this feeling of “Okay, what am I going to do now?” I figured I wanted to get my Bachelor’s in graphic design. I ended up getting into Parsons and was like, “Oh shit.” It wasn’t like I couldn’t go. It’s such a good school for design. So that brought me to New York.

I had never really thought about living in New York. But when I got here, I felt like this is totally where I belong. It’s a great match. I love living here. Obviously, it’s a really stressful city and it’s expensive. But I love the chaos! [laughs] I’m a big extrovert, so [New York] is like my playground. I can do something really exciting every day. It’s kind of addictive, all the stimulation that I constantly get. If you’re somewhere else, you kind of have crazy withdraw vibes.

I know what you mean. I grew up outside Philadelphia. When I moved down into the city, the noise was overwhelming. There's a lot more people and they're always heading off to go do something. I got used to it. Eventually, you find a way into the slipstream. But now that I'm out in the suburbs, I notice how quiet everything is. It's almost unsettling.

Victoria Winter: There are so many bands that I love in Philly. We’ve played there twice so far. I just want to keep going back there and get to know more people.

Philly is bubbling with bands that are also part of this shoegaze/slowcore revival. Knifeplay, full body 2, TAGABOW — none of those bands sound exactly like each other, but they all seem to put more emphasis on vocals. I've listened to “Sometimes” a hundred times, but I still couldn't tell you what Kevin Shields is singing. But with this new wave of shoegaze, I feel like more of the emotions come through in the lyrics. The vocals aren't just another texture, especially with bands like Hotline TNT and feeble little horse.

Victoria Winter: I love feeble little horse.

Me too. I was so bummed when they canceled their tour.

Victoria Winter: I know! I had tickets to see them in New York.

What else have you been listening to?

Victoria Winter: I love bar italia and Double Virgo, also Wednesday. The new Truth Club album is really awesome. I found this new artist, Eterna, who I think is friends with the bar italia people. He’s really cool. I’ve also been re-listening to Otto’s Clam Day. He’s someone I’m trying to dissect. He’s somehow able to sound really cohesive while doing that electronic, genreless-type of music.

Your vocals are more prominent on “edgar.” I can feel the pain in your voice, this kind of soft but lingering ache. The way it bleeds into the music sends the whole song spiraling out of control right there at the end. I love that. It's really cool. But was this a hard song for you to write?

Victoria Winter: In terms of the production, Ethan is totally the mastermind behind that. I can’t even say that’s what I wanted. He put [“edgar”] like that, and I was like, “Yep. That’s awesome.” But this song is really difficult. It’s very emotional for me.

It was hard enough when I wrote it [Note: Edgar was initially diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder]. My cat didn’t end up dying, but now that he has cancer, there’s a new layer to it. It’s the second time I’m going through this process.

This song is a moment for me to be very cathartic, but it takes a lot for me to do that. You really need to be vulnerable to show those genuinely sad parts of yourself. It takes maturing. I think the harder, heavier songs are coming from my own personal growth.

When I started Shower Curtain, I was 18 years old. Now, I’m 23, and I feel like I’ve evolved a lot as an artist. It’s less cutesy, which I felt like I had to be when I was younger. I’m exploring the edgier sides of myself. The harder sound comes with adulting.

I've got two cats. They're both healthy (knock on wood), but I do think about how hard it's going to be for me and my girlfriend when they die.

Victoria Winter: My boyfriend told me that you can’t practice someone not being here.

That's true.

Victoria Winter You can’t prepare. That’s the thing about life. We all know it’s finite. Our pets are probably gonna die before us. But you can’t practice what that’s going to be like.

Anytime Edgar’s behavior changes, I’m like, “Oh, shit. Is this the cancer?” Because he’s not really showing symptoms yet. It was kind of a fluke that we even found out. I live on so much hope. I was told he was going to die in a couple of months back in March 2022. So there’s always the hope that since he’s been a miracle once, maybe he can be a miracle again.

Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay
Shower Curtain © Juliette Boulay

After all, luck is what brought the two of you together in the first place.

Victoria Winter: The whole thing was super weirdly spiritual.

When I was back visiting in Curitiba, one day, I woke up and journaled about how I hoped that I would get a cat that I have a connection with. Then I closed my journal and took my family’s dog on a walk. And I found [Edgar] there, the day I journaled about it.

I thought he had an owner. But then the guy who sells popcorn in the park told me that he was dumped there as a kitten. I cried so much. I already loved him. I feel like we’ve had a past life together. It’s this crazy transcendental soul connection. Once he dies, this song is going to take on a new meaning.

* * *

Shower Curtain celebrated the release of “edgar” with a show at Trans Pecos, Brooklyn’s go-to DIY venue. They just headed back to Brazil for the holidays to join Unknown Mortal Orchestra and American Football at Balaclava Festival!

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Will Yarbrough lives outside Philadelphia. He’s still praying for Pavement to get back together. E-mail him at or follow him @willyarbrough15.

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:: stream/purchase Edgar here ::
:: connect with shower curtain here ::
Stream: “edgar” – Shower Curtain

— — — —

Edgar - Shower Curtain

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