Monday, June 3, 2013

Quiet Loudly Rocks It Proudly

Quiet Loudly is one of the most sonically deep indie acts in NYC right now. They have an ability to work up an aural tsunami, and then corral it into a tightly written pop song. To hear what I mean, check out "Go Into The Light Smiling" on Bandcamp.  We are extremely lucky to have them performing at the Hearts Bleed Radio Northside Showcase. I sat down lead singer/guitarist Max Goransson, and picked his mind about the band, the album, and the future. Enjoy!

Hearts Bleed Radio: You recorded "Go Into The Light Smiling" with Tony, Sal, and John. But you're going to have a fill in at the 6/14 show. I assume for John?

Max: Yes. Well, John's still going to be away on tour with his other band Naam (who are great). BUT, that's not the only change to our lineup. We will be playing our first show as a five-piece for your showcase. We've made a pretty big change-- Tony has moved over to guitar for all our songs and we've brought in Jonathan Pilkington Kahnt to play bass for us permanently. And he is amazing. And as far as keyboard goes, our good friend Kurt Schneider is going to be filling in for John. And from now on, whenever John is in town and can play with us, he will continue to do so. But, whenever there's a show we want to play and he is on the road, we're going to try to have someone filling in whenever possible. We've been rearranging all our songs to accommodate the change. So, if we ever have to play without keys, we can, and we can still have a nice, full sound. It just might be a little more guitar-centric.

HBR: Looking back on that album, I guess almost a year after it came out... AND going through those changes, like, how has your perception of the album changed? Do you like certain songs better than you used to? Some less?

Max: Well, to be honest, I have a really hard time listening to my own work. I go through phases throughout the process of making an album, as I'm sure most musicians do. There's that first phase when you've just laid down all the tracks and you are super, super pumped and you're convinced it's the best thing you've ever done. Then, you reach a boiling point during mixing the album where you've heard every single detail under a sonic magnifying glass and anything that's not perfect is totally jarring and infuriating. Then, once the album is done being mixed, there's usually a lull when you can take a break from it and you get it mastered. Then, once it's mastered it feels like gold again and you're obsessed with it for a week. And then you go back to nit-picking and finding it intolerable and you need distance. That's how it is for me, anyway. So, I haven't actually listened to the album for a long, long time. But, if I wait for another year before I do, I'll probably love it again. There were definitely a couple songs that weren't my favorites before recording, that became favorites AFTER recording, like Your Wedding/My Funeral.
If you don't wear glasses, you have wear a hat. If you don't wear a jacket, you have to wear suspenders.

HBR: I think "Deleting People" and "It's Not The End of The World" are my favorites, but you kinda had to know those were the catchy-ist ones when you were writing them... What's the QL songwriting process like?

Max: Well, it depends on the song. Deleting People Is Easy, You Were The Leaves, and Your Wedding/My Funeral were all very collaborative. Those all began with really great guitar parts from Tony, actually. He had really, really pretty, interesting fingerpicky guitar parts that he didn't really know what to do with. So, we kind of put our heads together to write the rest of those songs and then I wrote lyrics and vocals once all the instrumentation was done. The other songs, I wrote on my own and brought to the band once they were totally solid with all the parts worked out already. We ended up booking our recording time before I had finished writing the album, which I think was Sal's idea and was definitely a smart move--- having that deadline really lit a fire under my ass to stay productive and finish writing everything before we went in to lay it down. So, a few of the songs were written within a month of going into record, and It's Not The End Of The World was actually one of them.

HBR: That's awesome, but it's only a smart idea cause it worked! "Leaves" is really pretty, "Wedding/Funeral" is an epic... What are you using pedal-wise during those long jams? Like, a delay, distortion obviously... anything else?

Max: I update my pedal line-up from time to time. I use a lot of reverb from my amp on top of lot of reverb from a Holy Grail pedal. And then, for noise freak-outs, I use both an overdrive pedal and a fuzz pedal. My overdrive pedal is the most disgustingly mammoth-sounding pedal I've ever owned. It really makes my guitar sound huge and crushing. And my fuzz pedal, on top having just having really great fuzz tones, has a sort of crazy oscillating effect with enough toggling, as well as a second "momentary effect" function I can slam on and off for crazy rushes of sonic madness. I also have a brand new homemade pedal I just ordered from England called The Bone Collector that is a kind of fuzz/wah/synth/oscillator all in one and is just the most revolting thing I've ever heard. That will only be for noise passages, but it will be startlingly insane. I do use a delay on top of the overdrive and fuzz, too, for a lot of my lead work. And on top of all my pedals, Tony has his own collection now and he also piles on some pretty crazy sounds. I think he uses overdrive, tremolo, and phaser. 

HBR: You guys have so many heavy pedal moments, but you never lose that feeling like you could pull it off with just acoustic guitars if you had to...

Max: Thank you! It's definitely very important to me that the basis of everything we do is the songs themselves and that the songs are memorable and interesting. I am definitely pretty obsessed with the "wall-of-sound" thing", but I never want that to be the primary focus of what we do. It's a great thing for dynamics, which are important to me, but the song is always king.

HBR: Are you playing a set on 6/14 entirely from "The Light"?

Max: Yes, I think so. Although, we're probably going to throw in a fun cover, too. But we haven't decided which yet (we have a bunch at this point). We're definitely very anxious to get to work on new material, but we owe our kickstarter donors a covers album, so we're focusing on getting ready to record that this summer, which we'll be doing with Jeff Berner.

A more fun summer fun shot, me thinks... IDK, maybe they just committed a crime...

HBR: Nice, I can't wait for that. Other than Northside, and the covers album, what's next for the band?

Max: Well, we're going to be playing a really fun show down at Rockaway Beach in August with bands that we're good friends with-- Heliotropes, Dead Stars, Eastern Hollows, and The Meaning Of Life. But, getting ready for the covers album is definitely our primary focus right now. We don't want to phone anything in. We want to do really interesting interpretations of the songs people requested-- some of which are clearly well-suited for us, and some of which are way out of our comfort zone. So, that's actually quite challenging. But, we're definitely looking forward to the end product. Plus, everyone in the band has a lot of other things going on outside of Quiet Loudly-- Tony is finishing up a new record with GunFight! and he's also playing with Miniboone now (plus, he's getting married in October), Sal is playing out a lot with pow wow!, JPK is playing with Flying Pace, and I'm getting ready to record a new album with Clouder, in addition to playing with both Black Salad and an 11-piece Supremes cover band.

HBR: Where in the Rockaways?

Max: It is way, way south of here. Also, more towards Queens, I think. It's basically at the end of the Brooklyn side of the A train. But, that might also be wildly incorrect information, (at least) some of it. I've only been once and it was by car. It's real fun, though!

HBR: Not Rippers though?

Max: Yes, Ripper's!

HBR: YAY! I was certain that place was destroyed by Sandy, just from looking at maps of the area.

Max: It was demolished in the storm, but they are feverishly rebuilding it right now and getting it ready for this summer. There will be at least four or five great shows down there again this year.

HBR:That's awesome! I had such a great time down there last summer at the Clouder/Dead Stars show. It's incredible that they're rebuilding. This is the kinda good news that we like to end interviews on, so Max, thanks for taking the time, and we'll see you on 6/14!

And there you have it! I'm sure most of you have seen the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy last year. It's so incredible to see places reopening this summer, but it will be years before all the damage is repaired. The best way to help is also the most fun way to help... just go spend some dough. Visit the Jersey shore, Long Island... or, if you need me or Max, just head down to the Rockaways and walk towards the music.

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RSVP to the HBR Northside Official Awesomeness Spectacular ---> here.

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