Noise rock, math rock, post-hardcore, call it whatever you want, but if you dig bands like Shellac or Hot Snakes, you are definitely going to get into QunQ.
The LA rockers fill their latest full-length – Esctatic Doubt – with the aggression and thrash of the above mentioned bands and the artistry of a band like Tortoise.
The eight songs here are built from complex arrangements with heavy fuzzed out bass, raging guitars and pounding drums, all brought together by Ben Heywood’s stentorian vocals.
As an album, Esctatic Doubt is immense. It’s heavy (La Trucha, Anxiety High), melodic (Esco), ferocious (Everything Cuts), moody (Close Enough For Yazz), and contemplative (SnowVis 2: Shorts in NY).
We checked in with vocalist/guitarist Heywood to find out what makes QunQ tick.
Brandon Hardy plays drums, Sean Foye plays bass and handles the recordings, and I play guitar and “sing.”
How did you become QunQ and what’s the story behind the name?
We started as the touring band for a solo record I put out. We realized that, while the band wasn’t necessarily right for the solo material, we were having a blast playing together. So when we returned from tour we started writing new jams together. We originally wanted to be called Quote Unquote, but the internet told us 284 bands were already called that so we shortened the name to QunQ.
Tell us about the scene in LA…
Much like the topography of the city, which sprawls outward and is home to countless micro-communities and climates, the LA scene can’t be summarized succinctly. I can say the people we hang out with all play in multiple bands, work in bars, and go to each other’s shows. LA shines with diversity, which is its strength. LA’s weakness is the amount of careerist bands that exist here, but even that isn’t surprising. LA is an industry town and attracts people as such. We just happen to be part of scene that wants to watch the Industry burn.
Describe your sound as a cocktail – what’s it called and what’s in it?
It’s a Islay Scotch.
Tell us about your live show…
We plug-in, turn up, and hope we all count correctly.
How does your songwriting process work?
Generally I bring in pieces of riffs, more jumping off points than anything concrete. We then spend weeks, sometimes months, developing the song. The only rule we have is that we try every idea, no matter what it is.
I see inspiration comes from Stanley Kubrick, philosophy. How does the band approach lyric writing?
The lyric writing is fairly collaborative. We’re interested in the intersection of chaos and meaning.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
Ignoring the fact that at any other time in recorded history life was extremely difficult for almost everybody, I’d want to go back and listen to symphonies as they were originally performed, before recorded music. We have an idea what Bach or Mozart’s work sounds like because they wrote it down, but we don’t truly know how they intended it to sound. This is what makes modern classical so intriguing to me. It’s so interpretive, much like the relationship between words and ideas.
What tunes are currently on heavy rotation for you…
We were just talking yesterday about how as we get older it’s harder to really love anything new. Foye hasn’t really loved anything in a long time, but the man listens to music for a living, so that’s understandable. Brandon liked the latest Sorority Noise record. I love the record FACIAL put out this year. For me, they’re the most exciting band in LA. I was also inspired by Dawn of Midi’s Dysnomia from a couple of years ago.
If you could tour with any band right now who would that be and why?
Fugazi, because I never got to see them.
If you could only bring ONE record in the tour van/bus/plane what would it be?
Ha. Tour plane.
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
Bartending at The Mandrake.
What’s up for the rest of 2016?
Trying to drink away the anxiety caused by the possibility that Trump might soon possess the nuclear codes.