The Quiet Ones... It's always them
Showcase: The Quiet Ones
Published on October 11th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
We found ourselves loving the melodically dissonant, delectably psychedelic noise-pop of The Quiet Ones’ recent Molt in Moments album, so we fired our Showcase Q&A over to John Totten – co-singer/songwriter/guitarist alongside his brother David – to find out more about them.
This section’s usually for new acts, so please excuse the absurdity of asking a band that’s been around for ten years whether they’ve got an album in the works. The perils of template-dom.
Now, have yourselves an earful of Molt in Moments, because it’s superb…
How would you describe your music, if pushed?
I’ve gotten to the point where I just describe our music as “rock.” And then if someone pushes more I say, “I don’t know. Um, I guess it’s classic rock influenced indie rock, whatever that means.” And then if they push more, I say, “We get described in all kinds of ways: indie rock, pop, Americana, psychedelic…One critic called us pop-punk.” So I don’t really know how to answer that question other than: rock.
Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?
We are based in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, United States. Where we recorded our most recent record using a combination of computers (Pro Tools) and tape.
Are you signed to a label? If so, how did you come to their attention?
We are not technically signed to any label. I have a label of my own that I stamp on our records. It’s called In Advance Records. I’ve been using that since I was 19. At this point we’ve put out 8 records or so, including some side projects.
Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like…)
We just released an album in April. It’s called Molt in Moments. Let’s see, it consists of twelve songs written mostly by myself and my brother David. It’s probably our darkest record we’ve ever done. I mostly wrote my songs about weird dreams that I had. There are lots of songs about death.
I was really happy with the accident that our last record Better Walk Than Ride Like That was primarily about geography and space, while this one ended up being about time and how quickly it passes. As for how it sounds, you should go listen to it.
Where can we hear your music online?
Our website has all kinds of links.
Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?
Wow. We’ve been around for ten years so there are too many to think of. We’ve opened for all kinds of amazing and famous bands. I think at this point, our excitement about a gig is directly proportional to the degree that we are friends with the other band.
This summer was perfect for that. We went on an American tour with our friends Blitzen Trapper. That was fun because those guys are like older brothers to me and I learn so much from watching them play. Plus, they are all hilarious in their own way so it involved a lot of laughter.
Then we ended the tour by coming home and playing the album release show for The Moondoggies. I need to play shows with guys like the Moondoggies and Blitzen Trapper because they are kind, talented and funny. It kind of restores my faith in humanity to play those shows.
Got any more coming up? (Gigs, that is…)
Actually we don’t. We will in the late autumn/early winter but at the moment we are all playing with side projects. David is on tour with his band, Hand of the Hills. He and our drummer Baine have another project called Scriptures. They’re really good.
Our bass player John Herman is recording with his other band, Steradian. Our piano player Nate has a band called Friends and Family. And I’ve been recording a new solo-ish project. So we’re busy, but we’ll probably pick up a show soon.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
We’re probably the most obscure band we know, so you are doing the good work there. It’s actually a really good time for music in Seattle and my friends are playing in more bands I really like than ever. Our friends La Luz are well on the path out of obscurity. I’m really loving the new record from the aforementioned Moondoggies. Another local band that we love playing with is Hounds of the Wild Hunt. They remind me of a punk Bruce Springsteen.
Oh, and don’t forget our friend Ben’s band, Lonesome Shack. They’re a really good blues outfit that puts on great shows. I’m thinking of more now: Low Hums and Gabe Mintz. We’ve played with those guys a good bit and they always impress me.
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
Okay, so this is a different way of phrasing the question. I’m used to it being on a desert island. That changes things. Sonic Youth is one of my favorites but I rarely want to listen to them on a sunny beach. But in solitary confinement they’re perfect.
Realistically, my answer would be really boring, like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, etc. But I’ll try to give you the personal answer, in order:
1. Jim O’Rourke
2. Neil Young
3. Guided by Voices
4. Sonic Youth
5. The Silver Jews
John Totten, thank you.