photo via Quilt
“I think kids from the ‘80s have an interest in people and music from the ‘60s in the same way that kids from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s have an interest in people and music from the ‘60s. It was a time when there was an incredible shift in consciousness all over the world, and thus there was a heavy load of incredible music, art and writing…The ‘60s showed us possibilities that have been emulated in every age since, yet with every age the influence gets modernized.”
Introducing: Quilt. The best underground band about to be tossed into the spotlight. They write “disco music for trees” and perform in inner city basement parties; they are the reincarnation of Jefferson Airplane with an acknowledged respect to their forerunners, observed above by guitarist, Shane Butler; and they are antithetical capitalists, who take lead from Teddy, a 10-year old protagonist in J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories. As Butler quotes the author, “Logic’s the first thing you have to get rid of…what you have to do is vomit it up if you want to see things as they really are.”
Quilt selected its name sort of from an idea that stuck, and sort of from the conception of a patchwork identity. “We jam a lot and then take a bunch of parts from the jams and patch them together to make songs,” explains Butler. “Also, I am really into the idea that quilts have been used in history as hidden languages (most commonly in the underground railroad) to tell stories, spread news, and have conversations through form.”
The group is a trio of art school kids, who went to college in Boston, played music and experimented in bands, and mulled around until eventually the right creative formation clicked. While they are split now between New York and Boston, they are aiming to make their official home base in Massachusetts within the next couple months. Also on their to-do list, the group has an album coming out in a few weeks, and will be prepping for an upcoming tour this spring. If things go as planned, drummer John Andrews alternately has intentions to “write a book, and have a TV show based off that book, have a movie based off that TV show, have a theme park based off that movie, and start a band inspired by that theme park.”
Whatever the wind may bring for these modern free spirits.
The music of Quilt harkens back to the flair and burning undertones of a fiery era that preceded their generation. The group relies on instrumental basics to create a sound inspired by artists such as Dusty Springfield, Simon & Garfunkel, and Janis Joplin, using little dramatic post-production techniques to complete the acoustics. Their harmonies, vocal effects and unique ability to transcend layers of sound to uncover a past context sets them apart from a lot of bands now who try too hard to be some contemporary version of The Doors. Tracks such “Penobska Oakwalk” and “Cowboys in the Void” bear reflections of classic records like Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” and the overall vibe of a group such as The Mamas & The Papas. Never forced, Quilt’s motto is all about “inner revolution, inner freedom, love, fun, change.”
Frontwoman, Anna Fox Rochinski, adds her take on the content of their records, and the somewhat bizarre titles to their songs.
“When writing the new album, we were all thinking and talking a lot about…journeys, loss/gain, home, choice, attachments, language, love/relationships, light/dark,” she recalls. “Being a cowboy in the void is kinda like when you (the cowboy) are wandering in an empty darkness (the void) with a conflicted sense of purpose, and then a beam of light cracks open the ceiling, and you rise upwards and start living in cyclical rather than linear times.”
Butlers adds, “Penobska Oakwalk is not from any language, yet it is a reference to the Penobscot; a group of indigenous Americans who actually aren’t so foreign; they are from the same area we call New England. Some of the others [titles] are from writers we reference (The Silver Stairs of Ketchikan is a poem by Richard Brautigan), and sometimes we just make up words (Gome Home) cause it’s fun.”
Quilt seems to be in the game for all the right reasons, and for that, they will likely stand the test of time. They enjoy the road and the studio equally; their goals are step-by-step and simple. Most importantly, they’re not impressed by any gimmicky trend to sidestep the holistic power of sound.
“We learn a lot about ourselves through the songs we write, so it will be cool to see how much more we discover about ourselves and our surroundings as we continue to jam,” Butler points out. “We also are really into song-writing and lyric building, which in the age of so much computer based music, sometimes gets lost. I don’t know much about promotion, but the Internet is easy and free, and shows are more fun than the Internet.”
Live or recording, you can catch Quilt, as per Rochinski, “tiger-ballin’, tiki-bombin’, sniffin’ carpets, and eating poisonous frogs;” and most definitely making music.