by Sebastian Mackay
Step aside Justin Beiber, The Wanted and One Direction because there’s another outfit (and they’re a real band) that want to be known for their “great looks” and it comes with more than healthy (doesn’t that make it unhealthy? Who knows?) dose of musical talent that’ll leave you yearning for Woodstock and the hippy 70s of sun and group love.
For drummer John Andrews what connected him to Quilt’s style of music is one of life’s great unknowns. But you get the impression that with an analogy like this he’s far from bothered.
“When you smell something good like cookies being baked in the oven, it makes you feel good. When you see something beautiful, like the Grand Canyon, it makes you feel good. So I guess when you hear something beautiful it makes you feel good, too.”
Music is as much about the six senses as baking and eating cookies. At the time of interviewing Andrews is absorbed in his own atmosphere of a fire, falling snow and Dan Melchoir’s Christmas For The Crows and it’s all about generating as much of that feel good feeling as possible.
Quilt’s latest offering, Held In Splendor, is a “good, eclectic record” and there’s an experience factor that goes with Quilt’s music. Andrews explains that, much like the cookies, there’s more to music than just the sound. “When I make records I always want it to be a similar experience to watching a film. I want there to be different scenes, things that surprise you, different emotions portrayed, all that stuff.”
Of his three favorite tracks from Held In Splendor, he says “Eye of the Pearl”, “The World is Flat” and “I Sleep in Nature” (he noted also that “Just Dust” and “Secondary Swan” are ace) cover the basis of the album. The first is a simple but solid pop song; the second is an improvised instrumental (which harks back to Quilt’s improvisational days) and the third is exposè of their combined song writing – a collage of three individual songs that each of them wrote.
Their songwriting comes from a background of them jamming and recording the sessions then expanding on what they loved. These days, it’s a little different and they brought their own songs in for each other to work on, the result is “Eye of the Pearl”, “I Sleep in Nature”, and “Arctic Shark” and Andrews says they all had equal input with the music.
Held In Splendor is a departure from their 2011 self-titled release in that it comes from a different approach, “the new album was recorded in one month…we had demos this time and thought we knew what we were doing.” (The last record was written and recorded at the same time). They’ve added bass and it also marks the first record that Andrews has played on its entirety, having only played on three songs on the first one.
After a three year break, Held In Splendor is a triumph for a band that were abandoned last minute and pulled themselves up by their boot straps. Catch Quilt on February 27th at Boot and Saddle in Philly.