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INTERVIEW: QUELLA

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

LEE: Pretty good and groovy, I thankya. Musically it’s been a pretty crazy yet productive year for Quella. We’ve pushed ourselves out of our collective comfort zones and have been amazed by the results!

STEF: Pleasantly exhausted and feeling the love.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Smalltown Eiderdown”?

STEF: Well it started out as a metal country and western song but as chance would have it when I got the music I was deep in alien country. That is, completely out of my comfort zone in the country side where I swear the grass often screams at me underfoot… I was staying with a family of 5th generation farmers and we all had our eyes and ears opened when I got back. It’s one of our most politically driven songs.

LEE: It’s the kind of song that when your walking along the street and it comes on your stride changes to a swagger, mission accomplished!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

STEF: All five generations had been driven to the brink of ruin by a succession of Turkey Barons, Cauliflower Czars and super duper market chains and each generation survived, like many in the farming community, by the skin of their teeth. Successive Governments never delivered on promises and chose to plant wind machines instead of sustainable crops. The advancements in vertical farming mean a small holding could be a viable lifestyle today as it once was if only our politicians could see it. Today the farm exports medicinal herb to the USA and so the big corporations begin to circle again. Quella wish them well.

LEE: Erm…I just play the bass, musically we were just riffing in rehearsal and things just flowed as they tend to do. We sent the music over to Stef and the above happened!?

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

STEF: Typically chaotic as we have never made one. Ideally we would like to have worked with the video making version of Lewis Johns but apparently Todd Phillips was busy filming some Joke movie so we thought how hard could it be?.. Ask Adam – he had to learn how to green screen and edit all in one go. We loved it.

LEE: The video we are creating is actually for the forthcoming single and in true Quella style is proving to be a chaotic learning experience with many a chuckle and guffaw had along the way!

The single comes off your new album Donor Fatigue – what’s the story behind the title?

STEF: It was pretty much how we felt after recording the EP. We had nothing left to give and it was exhilarating. It’s also in the first line of the opening song so that’s nice.

How was the recording and writing process?

STEF: A real eye opener. We are no strangers to the studio and we came prepared with the songs well drilled. We wanted that often elusive blend of live action and studio finesse. By recreating a natural environment to record in as opposed to a digital one we feel we managed it with Lewis at the helm.

LEE: We’ve got a pretty cool writing process which just sort of developed, it generally happens when Stef isn’t able to make it to the studio that Bean brings a riff or few and we jam out the bones of something. Then it gets sent over to Stef and that’s where the fun really begins as we have no idea where he will take it, either lyrically nor melodically. Its all seat of the pants stuff. My favourite track from this EP was only written a couple of weeks before we got into the studio, the right tracks just fall together

What was it like to work with Lewis Johns and how did that relationship develop?

STEF: He was recommended to us by Charlie Piper from Gnarwolves. A band we greatly admire. Lewis has a reputation of being a taskmaster and feeds drummers to his ferocious hound (Olive) if they slack.  He was patient, highly intuitive and engagingly professional. He explained his take and involved each player completely. In short, a joy.

LEE: When Stef came to rehearsal with the suggestion of using Lewis Johns I was over the moon. He’d been a huge part of some of my favourite albums of the past few years from the likes of Rolo Tomassi, Conjurer and Palm Reader. Seeing what he had worked with previously I wasn’t really sure what he would make of our style but after we sent him the demos and told him what we wanted to achieve he was fully on board. He’s done an amazing job of putting us across on a recording. We’ve found someone who finally understood the sound and managed to deliver an EP which I feel captures the energy of our live performances!

How much did he get to influence the album?

STEF: We gave him completely free reign with the songs and expressed the desire to capture our live character but bring the songs into their own. We took it as a massive compliment he didn’t alter a single note in either the music or melody.

LEE: I was really surprised, it was our first time using a producer and I expected disparaging looks and huge change recommendations but he seemed impressed by the work we had done on the songs already and other than a few suggestions for cleaning up a few parts there was very little change.

What role does Brighton play in your music?

STEF: Our very first gig was in Brighton at the Quadrant. 100 people packed into a tiny room . No stage, a few crap DJ disco lights and the sound of a Saturday night. We were in our element and the entire room was with us. Brighton can do that to a band like nowhere else. It’s also my home and we all draw influences from the scene.

How has In Search of Sun and Queens Of The Stone Age influenced your writing?

STEF: It hasn’t really. We have played with one and are compared a lot to the other. Answers as to which way round should be submitted via a carrier pigeon please to the offices of Vent!

LEE: I guess you are always influenced by whatever you are listening to or digging at that time and space, you may come up with a riff that’s in the style of something you heard that day or week but then you bring that to rehearsal and whatever you are playing gets ‘Quella-fied’ out of shape anyway due to the many different tastes and styles within the band. Great bands though!

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

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.

LEE: The music is often created just due to having time in the studio and no set plan for that evening, generally Bean will be tinkering with a riff or two and Adam will lay down some tasty beats for me to jam around. Once that’s sorted, the beautiful insanity which is Stef’s mind does its work. I have to say our best tunes are the ones we haven’t even realised we were creating, they just seemed to have appeared after a weeks tinkering with none of us able to recall how the hell it happened.

Any plans to hit the road?

STEF: in the process of planning our Christmas show in Brighton. We want a proper mix of bands who, like us, maybe don’t fit easy or just like the idea of taking their music and their fans to another dimension for an evening!

LEE: Currently looking at what options and time we have available so hoping to have some more dates to announce shortly, would love to do some touring in the next year so watch this space.

What else is happening next in QUELLA’s world?

LEE: Well, we have the EP ‘Donor Fatigue’ being released on the 22nd of November, that’s available for pre-order right now from all good stores…and some shabby ones probably. We are hoping to book some shows up to announce soon and will continue to write for our next outing in the studio…fun times!

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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