STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
Out of New England comes the four-piece psychedelic indie rock band “Quilt.” Featuring Anna Fox Rochinski (vocals/guitars), Shane Butler (vocals/guitars), Keven Lareau (vocals/bass) and John Andrews (vocals/drums), Quilt’s latest album release “Plaza” (2016) represents the evolution of one of the more interesting bands to emerge in recent years.
Influenced by a variety of musical genres dating back to the late 60’s, Quilt delivers a polished presentation of their avant-garde style on “Plaza.” Offering what Andrews considers a selection of straight up pop, Plaza delivers a collection of well-crafted songs featuring tantalizing harmonies, cool guitar riffs and dreamy synthesizers. Standout tracks include “Passersby,” “Searching For,” “O’Connors Barn,” “Something There,” “Padova” “Your Island” and “Own Ways.”
“We thought, ‘how are we going to make a record while living so far apart?’” says Andrews, from his home in Barrington, New Hampshire. “We weren’t living near each other anymore. So we all flew to Atlanta, Georgia for about a month together and just worked on songs. Then we had a week in upstate New York when we finalized a lot of the songs before we went in the studio to record in Brooklyn New York. The last record was our first time working in a professional studio. Having had some experience, we got through the awkward part of figuring out what we were going to do in the studio. We were more comfortable this time. It was a fun time.”
“While every song is different, we all, for the most part, write together in one way or another,” adds Andrews. “We used to improv a lot, just jamming together and coming up with stuff that way. This time people wrote individual parts and we regrouped and we sat with them and worked together. It was very much a collective effort between the four of us to write the songs.”
“As a songwriter, there’s a magical moment when a song that starts in your head becomes verbal when you’re singing it and then goes through a microphone and onto a record and back into the air and then goes into someone else’s head,” says Andrews. “It’s like this never ending stream of thought when people make or listen to music, and we’re all part of it.”
Formed in 2008 by Rochinski and Butler while the pair attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Quilt made its first SXSW festival appearance in 2010. Following their “Agents of Play” EP release in 2010, the band was signed by Burger Records. Releasing their self-titled debut album in 2011 (which featured the single “Cowboys in the Void”), the record was later picked up and rereleased by Mexican Summer Records.
Garnering praise from critics and attention from indie music fans, Quilt followed up with a sophomore effort, “Held in Splendor,” in 2014.
Extensive touring throughout the U.S. and Canada found the band sharing the concert stage with “Young Magic,” “The Fresh & Onlys” and Laetitia Sadier. Quilt made its national television debut in the fall of 2015 by appearing on NBC’s late night entertainment program, “Last Call with Carson Daly.”
Rapidly becoming seasoned veterans of the road and the recording studio, Quilt’s merging of unique vocal harmonies, skilled musicianship, improvisation and visual presentation have resulted in a memorable live show and a growing cult following.
“We all sing,” says Andrews. “We all had our bands and projects before and we were all the singers of those bands. So, it only made sense for us to all sing. I think we blend very well together. We work a lot on harmonies. We try to incorporate what’s on the records, the songs that people recognize and hear. We also try to incorporate some jamming and improvisation. I know I can’t speak entirely for the group, but I’m a big Grateful Dead fan. They are the kings of the jam. It’s a balance between satisfying yourself and satisfying the audience. So jamming is a way of keeping the audience satisfied and keeping yourself satisfied. We also include a visual element to our show. It seems to work pretty well ‘cause everyone comments on how much they like the visuals.”
“I couldn’t be happier,” adds Andrews. “We’ve had a very gradual growth. We’ve been a band for a while. We put our time in playing shows to nobody and in basements and weird bars and stuff. We’d done that for a long time. We have a modest cult following. We’ve been able to support ourselves playing music and that’s the dream. We’re all very optimistic for the future.”