Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Interview: The Quiet

Editor's Note: This interview was written and conducted by Greg Scelsi. He is a Baltimore musician who occasionally writes features for the site.

I am not a member of The Quiet, but I am an admirer. I asked Kevin, a guitarist and bassist in the band and Chad, their drummer, a couple of questions about defining what a “band” is and their thoughts on the business. They play in the Baltimore, Maryland area and their music speaks for itself. I wanted to get to know them at a more conscious level. They gave me some really honest answers and I think that you will enjoy reading the interview. As a band, they really are growing and testing their boundaries. The Quiet (or whatever they change their name to) definitely has a dark moody side that artists like Joy Division, The Smiths and even Duran Duran could tap into. The vocals can be angelic and always add to the musical landscape. There are solid rock elements that can drive the bass and drums into tempered storms. Musically, they fit on stages with post brit-poppers and creators of Mogwai-ish tension twisters glistening with Icelandic drifts (as Pitchfork as I want to be).

What are the core concepts that bond you four independent individuals into one band? Is it politics? Is it a career? Is it just for fun?

Kevin: No concepts really. We just want to make good music, that we like. We have pretty different backgrounds, so we all bring something a little different to the group. Even though it’s rock music, there are certainly different types of rock music. A good song is a good song, so if there’s a concept, that might be it. At this point, it’s more of a personal enjoyment thing, but making a career at it would be very welcome.

Chad: I think its rather simple actually. Aside from just a basic need to play, we all love music and want to create it. We all have very different tastes at times, but I think this tends to create a friction that only enhances our sound. When you draw from various genres of music, you tend to get a more original sound. If I had to describe our common ground, it would be a love for melody. Melody transcends styles of music. It speaks to a person directly.

I noticed there are several other bands on myspace with the name The Quiet. Has that caused any issues with other bands or lawyers?

Kevin: No, not yet.

Chad: Well it's an issue with us internally, if nothing else. I think that we could have a better name, personally. We are very capable of coming up with something more original. We all like The Quiet to some degree, but at this point it’s a common goal to perhaps change it by the time we put out our first record. Which is currently in its final stages.

Under what circumstances would you sign to a major label?

Kevin: They’d have to be offering some real support and not just signing us to an extreme amount of debt. Unfortunately, being good and selling music have little to do with each other. Anything that starts out helping smaller bands, usually gets corporate pretty quick. MySpace is a good example. Do the Foo Fighters really need to be the featured band (that’s who was on there today)? It’s their right to be, but they sure don’t need it. It’s not like it’s Dave Grohl logging in to see how many friends he has. Actually, that would kind of make it ok if he did. I’m not knocking the Foo Fighters. I’m sure they have nothing to do with it. I guess that has nothing to do with the question, huh? Short answer is that we would sign, if they could make us the featured band on MySpace.

Chad: I have never had this opportunity, so it is difficult to answer. It would have to be a label that enjoys our music, someone who really believes in what we are doing. I would definitely want a manager at that point for sure, someone who could make good business related decisions. It seems like I can barely balance my checkbook.

What are your thoughts on effective touring?

Kevin: I think you need to have a somewhat successful record, a good manager and great marketing. You could also get lucky and get on a good bill. I can’t see touring otherwise. Who wants to drive 13 hours to play at a dive, with no one watching? Maybe “paying your dues” that way used to mean something, but I don’t think it does anymore. Clubs don’t do anything to get people there, so they put all the pressure on the bands. There are even clubs that make the band buy the tickets to sell. So if you don’t sell as many as you buy, you’re losing money. They make it sound as though the band is making the profit. It’s really ridiculous. You might as well invite your friends over to watch you practice and tell them to bring a six pack and save yourself the hassle. My point is that without a record, manager and marketing, you could be stuck playing these kinds of places and what’s the point of that?

Chad: I have never gone on tour. I would love to have the opportunity at some point. It's any musicians dream... but like most dreams, it requires a ton of hard work and sacrifice. I think that just being in new and different environments, would be enough of a reward to make that sort of commitment. Although I'm sure that walking away from a gig with gas money and just enough food to hold yourself over for a day, can be really frustrating as well. Either way, I would definitely like to experience the reality of what a tour brings. I have a lot of respect for people who can take that chance and just go for it.

What was your favorite record when you were 13 yrs old?

Kevin: Metallica, Master of Puppets

Chad: I would have to say that it was probably Bad Brains’s Live.

What is your favorite song right now and why?

Kevin: It changes daily, but I just saw Mew last night so they’re the favorite today.

Chad: I'm really enjoying a band called, Daylight Dies. They are a doomy metal band from the states. They have a new record called Dismantling Devotion. I can't stop listening to the title track. The album is full of old school growls which is half comical to me these days, but the song writing is flat out brilliant. I'm also digging on Paatos. They have a song called Won't Be Coming Back, that I really enjoy.

Do you think there is a Baltimore “sound”? Why or why not?

Kevin: I don’t think that I’ve seen enough bands to say. It wouldn’t be fair to the bands I haven’t seen, that may be really great. I certainly have my favorites that may be of a certain sound, but that’s because those are they shows I look for. I don’t go to see hip-hop or country or metal bands – I’m sure they’re quite different sounding.

Chad: No, I don’t actually. I think Baltimore is full of some very creative and original folks. The problem with Baltimore, is that most people are too lazy to pursue their dreams as musicians. This could be due to the fact, that it’s a very small city and it's extremely hard to be recognized here. A lot of people who are serious about what they do end up moving away, but I really think that we have a lot of really creative people here. It’s a shame that a lot of them throw in the towel, due to being discouraged by these limitations.

Anything you want us to know about the Quiet, new shows, recordings, mandates of truth?

Kevin: We just finished recording seven songs that we are very excited about. We hope to get it ready for release soon, so we can get a record deal, effectively tour and make a career out of this. Thank you, Greg.

Chad: We keep trying to push ourselves to a different style of writing. I think that we have been able to take more risks as of late and I hope this trend continues. Whether people love or hate our sound, I think that we have something pretty unique going on here and that’s not an easy thing to achieve these days. Thank you.

The Quiet - Memorandum


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