Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Quill - Bring it on!

The Quill is without a doubt one of my favorite bands. I really had the revelation in 2002 when "Voodoo Caravan" came out. This pure hard-rock gem is probably one of my all-time favorite records. And then the band stunned me again with it's most successful record "Hooray! it's a deathtrip"; as they explored a heavier and more aggressive territory.  
This band's always had everything a hard-rock band needs to give you the chills: energy, blues, feeling and great hooks. However, after the release of "In Triumph" in 2006, everything collapsed: singer Magnus Ekwall left the band and The Quill pretty much disappeared. Very suddenly last year, they popped out back, from out of nowhere, with a new singer, a new record and a whole new load of energy. "Full Circle" is a fantastic way to introduce the new singer, Magz. The man has got huge boots to fill as many fans didn't know what to expect from The Quill without one of it's biggest assets; former singer Magnus Ekwall. 
More than enough for me to get in touch with The Quill to find out more about that great return. 
Now you all say thanks to Rob Triches (bass) for beeing kind enough to answer these questions!

First of all, the new album, Full Circle came out last summer. How was the feedback like?
The response has been very good. Good ratings in European and American press and we’ve sold reasonably good. We’ve also had som really good promotional work done for us both in Europe and in the US, thanks to our new record company Metalville.

Did you get a chance to tour to promote it?
Oh yes, we’ve played about twenty or so shows in Sweden, we’ve also been touring in Holland and the UK. We just got home from a ten gig tour in Germany and Switzerland and are going on our first ever US tour in March. We’ve also played a few festivals, both in Sweden and in Spain. We will also return to Holland (in April) and do summer festivals in Europe. Hopefully will find time to tour even more in the autumn, but that’s not definite yet.

Now a little bit of history: What happened after the release of In Triumph, the band seemed to be doing OK and all of a sudden, you guys called it quits!
Well what happened in short was that our previous singer Magnus Ekwall didn’t want to get on with the band. That led eventually to The Quill being put on ice for about a year and a half. Jolle joined Hanoi Rocks and both Christian and I worked in other musical projects. But by late 2009 it was Quill time again, and we joined with our current singer Magz Arnar.
I also understood that the situation was pretty tough for the band, in terms of “sales” and “touring”.
Well yeah it was, but not any more for us than for any other band on our scale. I mean downloading has changed the music industry and salesrates completely. In terms of touring we had the chance to kick our work up a notch or two, but Ekwall wanted to quit instead. Now there’s a whole new energy to the band, and we’ve never played so many shows on one single album before as now.

I always considered you guys as one of the most talented band in your domain, seeing you almost quit really pissed me off! 
Well, thank you very much! It’s appreciated. My personal view is also that we’ve been ”underestimated” a lot. Some of that can be blamed on our selves, too, of course, but now there’s a new dawn.

I wrote a blog last year about the “misunderstanding” of hard-rock bands these days, because they seem to be stuck in a “no-man’s-land” between mainstream rock and Metal audiences…
Yeah, I read that. It might be true in some sense. But I believe our music can reach everyone.

And I also felt that you got closer to the “Metal” audience with the very heavy "In Triumph" record, which is VERY different from "Voodoo Caravan" for instance…
Well, yeah, maybe that’s right. Those two albums are no doubt really different from each other but it all comes down to the natural development within the band. It’s nothing that you can stop and change deliberately in any other direction, at least won’t we try to do anything like that. We write music that we love and we put our hearts into every little bit of it. It’s really clear on Full Circle, I think. There we’ve shared many of the writing duties that used to be Ekwalls responsibility.

This is one of my all-time favorite records. Amazingly warm, groovy and elegant hard-rock. 

Voodoo Caravan is my personal favorite record from The Quill. Which one is your personal favorite, and why?
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Hooray album. But Full Circle is more… competent, more fulfilled.

Are there any decisions you “regret” over this period? Maybe a record deal, or a tour you might have missed…
Absolutely. There’s always things like that. Some you can blame on other people, some you can only blame yourself for. Like when we missed out on a coast-to-coast tour in the US supporting a big band back in 2007. That really sucked big time.

And when & why did you guys decide to come back?
It all re-started when we found out about Magz. We heard some of his work on MySpace and decided it was gonna be him or no-one. The first time we approached him he was busy with other professional and personal things. But when we presented some new songs to him he was hooked ;-)

 Did he play in a band we might know before?
Well, he used to play in a band called Lawnmower, but that never took off really. He’s been involved in a vast variety of projects over the years, it’s really interesting to hear him talk about everything he’s done. But he says himself he never played in a better band than The Quill.

He had huge boots to fill; Magnus Ekwall was really popular among the fans…
Yes, very true, and we totally respect that. And of course we’ve lost some of those fans along the way. But there’s really nothing that we can do about that. They are very welcome to listen to the old stuff and enjoy that, but we’re gonna press on and write new music and make new history instead. We’ve also found a whole new audience with Magz, actually we see more kids on our shows today than we used to, which is fantastic. And the hardcore Quill-fans are still there. As we are…

I think he does a good job on the record though, because he doesn’t try to sound like Magnus Ekwall at all…
Nope, he would never try to mimic anyone. And if he sounded different we wouldn’t have been so impressed with him as we were when we first heard his work.

What was your main purpose when you started to work on Full Circle?
To show everyone that we’re still around and can deliver a kick ass album and do kick ass shows. The revenge factor was high... But of course it all boils down to our love for the music, the brotherhood in the band and the connection to the fans. We really missed them!

And how would you compare it to the previous ones?
It’s more of a straight rock'n'roll album. And as I said earlier it’s also one where all four of us has taken responsibility for writing both the music and the lyrics. In my ears it’s more diverse that the previous ones. But I’ve heard people say differently.

I love the bluesy songs that you guys compose, what are the bands that have influenced you? They go as far as Americana and even country I believe??
We’ve always acknowledged the blues as the foundation for our music. Yes, we took it a bit towards the countryside on a song or two, but that worked out nicely as well, I think.

I think it’ll sound fantastic on stage!
Yes, under the right circumstances it does fit it’s place in the set.

Generally speaking, do you think we need to see the band on stage to fully
understand it?
Hmm, thats a difficult question. I can only answer that if it were me, the answer would be yes. This band is all about live and the nerve and the spark.

I’d seen you on the tour with Monster Magnet in 2004. I think, was it your biggest tour?
We toured with Gluecifer and Monster Magnet in 2004 and yes, it was the longest tour we did so far – forty shows in a row. But all together we will play many more shows supporting Full Circle than any of the older albums. Right now we’re totally psyched about going over to the US – it’s gonna be great!

Rob, all I have left to say is Thanks for that great Interview!
You welcome Yath, thanks for your interest and keep rockin'!


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