8. May 2014 By Walter Price 0

Q.U.I.L. !

Into The Fire

By Walter Price

“throwing punches in the air
cause i’m mad as hell
you could hold me down now
but you wouldn’t dare”

The sweet Tulsa Sound of Leon Russell, The Gap Band and JJ Cale instantly comes to mind when I think of Oklahoma music and it deservedly so.
Southwest of Tulsa and smack dab in the center of The OK State is Oklahoma City. From the hometown of Gene Autry, Bob Wills, Wanda Jackson & Opie Taylor comes something completely different. Q.U.I..L.. A right-on indie-pop/rock duo, Alexis Quinn and Troy J Brainard, creating darkly vibrant tracks delivered via a threesome of rapidly released EPs Sister, Brother and just recently Into The Fire.
Alexis’s keenly poignant exploitation of the world around her allowing tracks to convey intriguing tales that has this listener deeply compelled. Lyrics secured tightly in a cocoon of perfectly matched, warm and invitingly lush lo-fi sounds. The duo’s progression from each EP to the next is evident in the budding complexity of the arrangements yet keeping it uncomplicated, keeping the story in sight. A rare ability to get it right and stay on sonic point. 

Oh yeah, I dig the hell out of this music. 
If you think about the fact that these two are currently students at Oklahoma’s The Academy of Contemporary Music, the word impressive comes to mind. The world is wide open for Q.U.I.L., a stellar two piece band that has everything they need to make it. 

Oklahoma’s long and versatile history of great artists is in good hands with Alexis Quinn and Troy J Brainard.
You two formed Q.U.I.L. from the ashes of another group, what is the sorted history with that?
Troy: We were in a punk band, The Fluorescent Lines, before. When our drummer left to join the Army, we thought it was time for a change, so we changed our style and our name.
Although there have been some great artists from OK state, Oklahoma isn’t normally thought of as a hotbed of music activity. How’s the scene there?
Yeah, it’s not like Nashville, but Oklahoma City and Tulsa have always been centered around music. We have Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa and it’s a pretty historical venue. Oklahoma City has always had an artistic culture around it but our school ACM@UCO has, in our opinion, expanded the range of music in the area. There’s always been country in Oklahoma City, but now there are several other genres thanks to the efforts of artists that have attended ACM@UCO.!
Three EPs in a relatively short period of time, Is this due to conceptual reasons or you just like to the shorter freedom an EP offers?
We decided on EPs because we were essentially trying to start over. Everything was new and we wanted to find out what music we were creating, to really pin down what our style was going to be, and we needed the creative outlet to do so. We wanted to find our style and doing EPs gave us the freedom to switch to whatever style we wanted to and still be growing along the way.
There is a lot of heavy life in the first two mini-EPs Sister and Brother, whose memories/experiences are woven into those four tracks?
Alexis: So far, at least, I’ve written all the lyrics to our songs. Although, I can’t say any of these lyrics are pulled from personal experiences. My personality is more of the observer, the listener. When I write I pull from what is going on around me, from experiences my friends or family are going through. I think some of it also comes from my love of storytelling, so almost without thinking my goal is to tell a story with each song and allow it to relate with the rise and fall of the music itself.
Troy: For me when I write the music I’m just thinking of the over all vibe or sound that I want and Alexis does a great job of matching up what I’m thinking to what I could say if I had the words.
I can’t help but go to dark and sad places listening to “Ghosts”. Thanks. Can you explain your thoughts with this track?
Alexis: You’re welcome, first of all “Ghosts” is sort of about abandonment. It’s about being pushed to the point where you can’t even recognize who you are, you’ve totally lost your self-identity. I view it as not so much person against person, but person against society; feeling like you have to be all these different things and eventually not knowing what makes you, you.
I’m not sure if ‘ethereal textures’ is a term, it is now. How much time do you spend in the studio getting this lush, dreamy and really heavenly but darkish sound?
Creating the ‘ethereal textures’ is probably the easiest part for us. We know it when we hear it, because it’ll just feel right.
The both of you, multi-instrumentalists, wouldn’t it be easier to work with others? Is being a duo providing more creative freedom?
It is more creative freedom in the fact that you don’t have to bounce ideas off several people and get their approval. When you find someone you work well with you don’t want to add an extra step or person to that creative process. Although, for live shows we have friends that play with us. We also try to mix things up for live arrangements so we’ll bounce ideas off of them and get their input, but for the actual studio recordings we enjoy that freedom.
Let’s dig into your recently released Into The Fire, here we find you two giving us more an indie-rock feel. Is this do to getting more comfy in your abilities or was this ‘progression’ in the cards all along?
Alexis: When we were doing Into the Fire I was really reliant on what I was listening to at the moment. So I would filter things and put subconsciously put these little elements I liked into our music. At the same time, this EP was about growing musically and just becoming more familiar with what style of music we wanted to create.
Troy: I feel like Into the Fire wasn’t as planned as the others. We wrote the song “Into the Fire” the day before last day of recording it and recorded it all the next day. Feeling the pressure of that EP and looking back on it, I feel, has helped us define what we want to record when we go back to record again.
Going Rogue is one of the best pop-rock songs I’ve heard in some time, tell me all about it.
Alexis: “Going Rogue” is interesting. I was watching Skyfall with my mom, and I remember us discussing how being a spy would be really cool, and she said something like, “But look at all this shit you’d have to put with.” Later, I was listening to the tracks and it stuck out to me. The original track that we did in the studio had an element to it that made me think of like the ‘60s era spy. So I thought I’d just write about that, the dark side to having to remain mysterious.
Troy: I had been listening to Kings of Leon and Band of Horses a lot. “The Funeral” is a very touching and emotional song for me and has memories attached to it. I was trying to switch over from writing punk music to writing indie rock music and this was actually the first song that came out of all those first twenty five songs that actually sounded like indie rock to me.
Will you one day assemble all of these EPs into an album or will there be something new yet to come?
We will leave them as EPs. We may pull one song and put it on an album if we think it fits, but compiling them all together isn’t something we are thinking of doing.

There is no doubt that you two are deep thinkers leaning on the darker experiences life has to offer or at least expressing them in song. What do you do for fun?
Alexis: Movies, definitely. Everything about movies. If I wasn’t making music, I’d be making movies, but I also like going to the lake, and laser tag. Supporting local music by going to shows. I write a lot. Not just music, but stories. And I love traveling, although I rarely get the chance.

Troy: I make terrible puns in the moment. Music is really the ultimate fun thing for me to do, but I love making websites. It’s awesome to make a website for a band and see that they love it and that their fans love it. Really just hanging out with the guys that I work with is always a good time. I’m at work most of the time anyway.

How often have you actually been booked for a gig with dinner as payment?
Never. Still waiting
Besides your sounds, who are you listening to?
Alexis: The 1975, The Smiths, The XX, The Arctic Monkeys, Noah Gundersen, Daughter,
Alt-J, Andrew Belle, Animal Kingdom, Doves, The National, Tallows

Troy: The Naked and Famous, Wolfmother, Beady Eye, The Yelling, The Strokes, Angels &
Airwaves, Cage the Elephant, Lana Del Ray, Smashing Pumpkins, Eels!
There is a bit of mystery with Q.U.I.L.. Very few band shots etc. What does the world need to know about the band and the individuals behind the band?
Our music sounds sad but we’re not sad people. We’re not depressed or anything.
Alexis: I still struggle with social anxiety so maybe that plays into this mysterious element. It still takes me longer to warm up to people compared to, say, Troy. I had never performed in front of anyone until I made it into ACM@UCO two years ago. I had never been in a band. So this whole thing is still a learning process for me, and has been a catalyst to the growth of myself as a person. I think it’s not only been an important lesson for myself, but could be for others as well, for those facing the same issue. It’s a life-changing moment to prove to yourself that you can do something you thought you never could, and knowing with a lot of work and determination, you can do anything.
Troy: We are pretty chill people. We can get on each other’s nerves at times but we know when to back off. There isn’t anyone else I’d rather be making music with.

Thanks for chatting with me and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the mighty Q.U.I.L.!
Thanks for interviewing us! We look forward to doing another one with you soon!
 Q.U.I.L.: Facebook. Website. Bandcamp
From Sister:

From Brother:

From Into The Fire:

What Say You…