Philadelphia-based indie rock band The Quelle Source has been under renovation, so to speak, since the release of last fall’s The French Rapture EP.
“Recently we’ve sort of been influx with members,” says guitarist/vocalist Dan Wisniewski. “We’ve got a bunch of new music, but we are finally getting our feet on the ground in terms of having a full band again. For a long time we didn’t have a bassist; we were relying on friends to fill in for us. Now we have a full band, and we’re looking to make a new record soon.”
Besides Wisniewski, the band’s current lineup features veteran members Kevin Ryan (guitar/vocals) and Dan Comly (keyboard) joining newcomers Kevin Comly (bass) and Mark Rybaltowski (drums).
Founding members Wisniewski and Ryan formed the band in Spring of 2005 while attending St. Joe’s University, playing local spots like Kung Fu Necktie and Manayunk’s Grape Street Pub. In 2008, they released their self-titled debut EP; the following year brought their debut LP, Enjoy the Ridge. While they’ve enjoyed playing local favorites such as Johnny Brenda’s and MilkBoy in support of The French Rapture, they’re itching to record with their newest lineup.
“We all like the new [songs] that are going to be coming out. I’m really looking forward to working on songs with this group, [they’re] really awesome.”
Drawing influences from bands like Radiohead, Guided by Voices, and My Morning Jacket, the band won the title of “Best Indie Rock Act in Philadelphia” at Origivation Magazine’s 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards. Despite this title, they say they don’t try to cultivate a “Philly sound”.
“We’re totally huge into Philly, but we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves,” Wisniewski explains. “We are who we are, but we’re still really proud of being from Philly.”
Their love for the city is evident in their latest music video, “The French Rapture.” It features Ryan sitting with his girlfriend at local Fairmont bar Brigid’s. While there, he reminisces on the times he’s cheated on her via various dates around the city, including at the mini-golf course in Franklin Square and along the Schuylkill River.
The band’s lyricists, Wisniewski and Ryan, claim the song isn’t autobiographical. With the exception of their newest songs, Wisniewski says his lyrics are mainly inspired by “unrequited love…I’ve never written a love song in my life, and I’m sort of proud of that. For whatever reason, being negative and sad is an acceptable emotional state.”
“Especially for a rock band,” Rybaltowski adds.
Their songs aren’t just about love (or lack thereof); for example, the apocalyptic “That’s’ What Bees Said” off Enjoy the Ridge was inspired by a dream their former keyboardist had.
“Usually I’ll come up with a title or the first couple lines, try to parse out what that means, and go with it. I sort of let my muse pick where I need to go and try to follow through to the conclusion,” Wisniewski explains.
As far as the rest of the song goes, the band has a very collaborative approach.
“I think in a song you need melody, lyrics, and music. It’s a real challenge to marry all three of those together, and it’s not anything that we’ll probably ever stop trying to perfect. This specific batch of songs [we’re working on] now, I’ve been trying to concentrate on melody, because I think some of our [past] songs have been sort of lyrical but lacking some melodic hook.”
“Trying to fit those three components in becomes a group effort,” Dan Comly says. “We record every practice, which helps. [Wisniewski] takes the recording home and stews on it, and we resume where we left off. I think [it gives us] a better sense of direction.”
“That’s something I’ve been working on too, the idea of ‘What does the song need?’ We don’t all need to be playing every second of every song. If we keep that in mind, I think the songs come out really well,” Wisniewski finishes.
The band recommends newcomers get a taste of their diverse sound through tracks such as “Climateers”, “State Line”, “OT5”, and “The Silence Is On.” Unanimously, the band shares Ryan’s enthusiasm in playing more shows and working towards a new album together.
“I’m really excited about the new songs we’ve been working on, to the point where I’m obsessively listening to them,” Ryan says. “I’m really excited about the direction the band is going in. We have a solid group of people who seem willing to stick around and work hard.”
Written by: Dana Giusti