Interviews: Quella

In this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Punk/Metal band Quella from the UK. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

STEF (Lead vocals): Against all form, Lee (Bass and Harmonies) went and organised a gig and we had to have a tag for the poster! I had been looking at a list of the most unpopular girls names in the world for a character I was generating and Quella appeared on it. When we looked at the origin of the word, it transpires it’s an old English word for, to crush, to repress to indeed quell. So she chose us really. It also has a darker connotation but that’s for another song. 

BEAN (Guitars): For me, its appeal lies in the fact it doesn’t give anything away. It’s deceptively throwaway. It says nothing about what the band sounds like, but you could say it actually sums us up well, because it’s unusual, a bit difficult and it raises an eyebrow.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

LEE (Bass/Harmonies): I don't think we really set out to play any specific genre. We really have no idea where each song is going style wise as its being written. We all have such diverse influences and styles that it’s always interesting to see how they are going to blend together. We are as surprised by the finished music as anyone else.

STEF: We haven’t set out to be deliberately eclectic. We have a very clear way of writing that always gives equal weight to all our influences. Sure, we sit somewhere between Therapy? and Alice In Chains but we are just as easily influenced by Eilert Philarm (the Swedish Elvis) or an eavesdropped conversation.

BEAN: Yeah, there was absolutely no decision made to be one sort of band or another. First and foremost, Quella is a space where four friends can upload their creative whims without the focus on a predetermined outcome. We just throw it at the wall and see what sticks. If it excites us, it stays. It’s actually encouraging how little ends up on the cutting room floor and I think that is a testament to how free our approach is.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

STEF: Only as musicians in a revolving and slightly incestuous scene. We got to know each other through Quella; both the highs and lows. Like a proper garage band should.

BEAN: We go way back. Some of us further than others, but we do have history! (laughs) 

LEE: Bean and I used to be in a band together at school, whilst Adam and Stef have worked together. Stef and Bean were in a band together later on in life so if anything Bean is the glue to us forming I guess.

BEAN: Lee is newest to the Quella fold. He came on board after our original bass player left to pursue other endeavours. Prior to that, he and I would have occasional contact and talk loosely about “doing something” musical from time to time. “Getting the band back together” type of conversations, but we both had other projects on and actually rarely saw each other. A couple of years ago, the planets aligned and the opportunity for Lee to come on board presented itself. I’m happy to say it felt like a missing piece of a jigsaw being discovered under the sofa!

4. Each band member favourite band?

LEE: That’s a ridiculously impossible question that changes each week.. This week, probably The Mars Volta, last week I think it was Lord Dying, next...who knows?

BEAN: Same. I couldn’t possibly answer that question without wanting to immediately erase it and start again. I have “go to” bands that will always satisfy. Black Sabbath, Fugazi, John Coltrane immediately come to mind… but my favourite band is usually the one that happens to be in my headphones on any given day.

STEF: I make it a rule not to have a favourite anything as I have the attention span of a Gnat.

AD: In contrast to the others, I tend to fixate on a single genre / band for months at a time, my current favourite being Architects

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

LEE: It's either that or watch the telly and our internet’s out at the moment so I guess that’s the decision made!

STEF: We don’t know or wish to really - we instinctively know when a song is a Quella song but the trick for us is to keep an open mind long enough to catch whatever drifts in. Then make it matter in a song.

BEAN: Personally, I’m like a monkey with a typewriter when I’m trying to write. I don’t know about notes and keys. I couldn’t tell you what key any of our songs are in. I just wriggle my fingers on the fretboard and wait for the others to stop wincing; but as for the inspiration behind that… I couldn’t say, other than an innate compulsion to make a noise. I’m sure many musicians, or creative types can relate to that. I’ve long forgotten what it’s like to not be in a band

AD: The songs nearly always start with Bean's guitar riffs, and that then heavily influences the drum parts, which always tend to write themselves once the song evolves

6. Where was your last gig?

LEE: We played a support slot for the Swiss psychedelic rock band, Dirty Sound Magnet in Brighton, they were great, it was a bizarre mix of bands but we tend to find that. Promoters are really never sure who to fit us in with...but to be honest; I thought it was a very good mix of styles

STEF: We got set upon by a flock of Helen Mirrens in Hove. Adam (Drums) barely made it out alive but they very sweetly bought 10 copies of our last EP and left the money in neat little piles, like gambling chips.

7. Where would you like to play?

STEF: San Diego Army Base - I promised if we ever could - check out why in our song Loyal to the Lie.

LEE: For me, I'd like to play a cool outdoor festival with a variety of styles for real music lovers. Something like 2000 Trees would be amazing

BEAN: Similarly, I wanna go where the people go! But if I had to narrow it down, I think the idea of playing outside of the UK is really exciting. I’d like to extend our reach as far as possible.

8. Who would you like to support?

STEF: Anybody huge in a country we have never been to or even have heard of.

LEE: Ideally, I guess someone like Therapy? or Black Peaks as I would never tire of listening to them no matter how long the tour lasts.

BEAN: Yeah, I mean beyond the bands we enjoy, no one specific comes to mind for any reason other than it would be fun to hang out with them and listen to them do their thing. We’d obviously like to grow our audience, so big tours would be a dream. With that in mind, I’ll say Foo Fighters, for no other reason than they would attract a lot of ears to our music and Dave’s a nice guy, so he’d probably let us have a few beers from the rider too!

9. Who not?

LEE: Iron Maiden probably, I've got nothing against them, I've seen them quite a few times but their fans can be pretty dismissive to any supports, they are a very supportive bunch!

STEF: MP4 - a band made up of members of the House of Commons. Nuff said!

BEAN: I hear the Threatin tour was a bit of a bum deal. I’d avoid that.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

STEF: Nope - It's home. Treat it like such and you won’t go wrong. Although Bean is a drummer in disguise so may have a coping mechanism for that condition!

BEAN: Yup, weather I’m playing drums or guitar, I get tremendous stage fright. I always feel uncomfortable on stage. It’s imposter syndrome really. I don’t really have any tips for that other than feel the fear and do it anyway. I’m proud of the fact that I’ll turn up and give it my best even though every ounce of me would rather be in the crowd, away from the spotlight, watching the show. I don’t think that will change, but it makes the whole thing quite a visceral experience, and that’s what punk rock is all about, isn’t it?

LEE: When I first started I used to have terrible stage fright, I'd be pale and pacing before a show. Unfortunately, the only thing I've found that got rid of it was continuing to put myself into that situation until it just felt natural.

AD: Oddly, if I was in front of a crowd for any other reason I'd be utterly terrified, but playing the drums on stage has always felt quite comfortable

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

LEE: I've always been inspired most by bands such as Mr Bungle, Haken, Troldhaugen and Twelve Foot Ninja, etc. Bands that aren’t confined to musical boundaries or a set style. I get bored of music very quickly so any tune which throws in a curve ball is going to last longer on my playlist 

STEF: That’s like asking which of your children do you like the most but Wire’s Pink flag Album for breaking the 3.30 convention and being brave enough to infuse punk with football terrace choruses and scathing attitude throughout has to be in there for all four of us.

BEAN: For me, it’s anyone who plays with sincerity. It doesn’t have to sound new or original but without wanting to use a cliché, it has to be real. There’s a lot of vanity in music. A lot of people seem happy to adopt an aesthetic and play to the conventions of a genre or emulate a successful band. I like it when you feel like the musicians couldn’t have done it any other way. I’ll mention Fugazi again…but also PJ Harvey, Motorhead, Faith No More, Miles Davis, John Frusciante, Discharge, Bjork and Napalm Death. I’m inspired by anyone who can genuinely capture their energy and offer it to the listener.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

STEF: A plaster cast of my nose. A Nasophiliac or a genuine student of Rhinoplasty? If she buys the new ep available in all good stores I may find out! 

LEE: An encore! (Laughs). Promoters never know what sort of bill to put us on so we play many shows where folk enjoy the show but stand there looking shell shocked asking themselves what the hell they just heard...when someone asks for more it's a great experience.

13. What do you think of your fans?

LEE: I think they are beautifully crazy dudes and I thank them for giving us a listen.

BEAN: I can only second that. I am forever humbled by those who take the time to listen.

STEF: They shall inherit the earth - or at least a shared good time.

14. What do you think of our site?

LEE: I have the utmost respect for any and every site which gives time to underground music. With Breathing The Core you go above and beyond with the amount of genres you cover, ‘Tis mind blowing!

STEF: It was a real education. I had no idea so many genres of heaviness existed. It's like a massive rebellious jukebox! You should have a randomiser playlist going as variety really is a precious thing in an ever ordered world. You also have a great resource and none of the salient ads of some of your competitors. It loads fast too!!!

15. Something to add?

LEE: Just that we are incredibly proud of our new EP 'Donor Fatigue.’ Its due out on the 22nd of Nvember, its a healthy mix of Progressive Punk Metal and I hope you'll give it a listen...Cheers!

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