Quartered Discuss Their New Album, Massive Crowds and What It's Like To Be A Metal Band In Vancouver.
Band Photo: Quartered (?)
Vancouver progressive metallers Quartered recently sat down with Metal Underground to talk about their recent tour of the Philippines, playing in front of 25,000 people, opening for Lamb of God and Testament, the recording of their new album “Walks Like A Ghost” and their beginnings in the varied Vancouver metal scene.
The_Avant_Garde: Thanks for sitting down with metal underground. First off, what are your names and what do you play?
Craig: I’m Craig and I play bass.
Todd: I'm Todd and I play guitar.
Scott: Scott and I'm on drums.
Jeff: Jeff, guitar.
The_Avant_Garde: So a couple of months back you guys played the Pulp Summer Slam metal festival over in the Philippines. What was that like?
Craig: Intense! 25,000 Filipino people staring at you. It was a pretty awesome experience. You know we’re used to playing the pub scene in Vancouver for a max 200 people a show so having 25,000 people, it was quite the jump.
Todd: Not to mention it was our first time playing in an overseas country and have that along with a handful of shows, it was really cool. Its something we’ll never forget.
The_Avant_Garde: You guys opened for Lamb of God and Testament. How was it, playing with those metal legends?
Todd: It was a dream come true. Probably the best time of our lives for sure.
The_Avant_Garde: Were you able to learn anything from them?
Craig: Well they were mostly busy doing their own thing so we hung out with the other bands playing that show. Lamb of God and Testament were the huge, big acts over there so they did their own thing. We talked to some of the Testament guys for a bit. Our friends in Slapshock were there, so we kicked back with them.
The_Avant_Garde: So where did the show take place, in an arena or a mall? They have some malls that are bigger than stadiums over there right?
Craig: Yeah! It was the Rosario Mall. There were also some other smaller gigs and a few other shows. A Hard Rock cafe gig in Manila as well.
The_Avant_Garde: So it was like a mini-tour then?
Todd: For sure. We ended up playing six shows in eleven days. It was great!
The_Avant_Garde: So you have a new album coming out right? “Walks Like A Ghost”. How is that coming along?
Craig: Good! Its actually done. We’re just working on getting the artwork done, pressing it and then we’re going to go on tour. Then hopefully release it in early August.
The_Avant_Garde: What can your fans expect from the new record?
Todd: Well, its a bit more low key. Its not as “ADD” as the last couple of releases we’ve done. We tried to focus on making the absolute best songs possible. Bringing out the best of everyone in the band and bringing it all together into one sound. So we’ve pretty much found our sound now and we’re looking on taking that forward. It really turned out great in the end.
The_Avant_Garde: You’re working with Ben Kaplan on this new record. He’s worked with some big bands. What has he done to help improve your sound?
Craig: Oh, he just came in and cleaned it up so much.
Todd: Kind of like the thing I was saying about the “ADD”. Trimming the fat basically. He helped us out by telling us this is great, this is great, cut that, change that. He just brought out more of whats in us that we hadn’t really tapped into before. He made the sound and songs better. Structured them.
Scott: and Ben is awesome because he didn't play us around. He tells it like it is and if it sucks he’ll tell us it sucks and that was really great for us.
Todd: Its the first time someone has actually come in and produced the music and its helped our sound so much. He told us what we needed to do, in order to take it to that next level.
The_Avant_Garde: For those reading who aren't familiar with Quartered, how would you describe your sound?
Craig: Progressive Metal. We’re basically focused on bringing in a wide variety of stuff.
Scott: Everything from the really heavy stuff to something sort of like what the Deftones do. Other influences are in there, but there is still a sound that is our own. Yeah, just, progressive.
The_Avant_Garde: Recently you debuted 3 new tracks from “Walks Like A Ghost” on the stepping stone podcast. Why did you choose those tracks?
Todd: We felt they were the best all around songs from the new record that displayed our new sound. They were more single orientated and instead of focusing on just what we want, we want to get all the fans into it and give them something to sing along to. Its different from the stuff we’ve done in the past. We wanted to get that out there for sure.
The_Avant_Garde: Does the rest of the album follow the same vibe?
Todd: Yes, very much so. We really tried to make a full CD. A record you can play from start to finish and all the songs sound the same in terms of energy and vibe and they all flow throughout the album. Then at the end you get the complete experience.
The_Avant_Garde: So no hidden Celine Dion cover tracks then, right?
Todd: No. None of that.
Craig: Its a very solid and focused record. It comes in waves. The songs build up into these intense heavy parts and then they come down for a bit, then go back up. They’re structured properly and that is what makes the difference. You know, now its the first time we made a record. An actual record. Before we made CDs and just slapped some songs together. And that was a big thing for us, making that next step up. Now we can say we’ve made a record.
The_Avant_Garde: So you guys have some big things planned for the future. A cross Canada tour is in the works I’ve heard?
Craig: Yeah. From here in Vancouver, all the way east to Montreal and then back again.
The_Avant_Garde: So any of the east coast fans might have to wait a little longer?
Todd: Yeah, I mean, it all comes down to money right. We’d love to get over there but its an expensive trip. Canada is a very large country!
Scott: Hopefully next year we can make it over there. It will happen eventually.
The_Avant_Garde: So you guys are performing tonight as part of the Thorny Bleeder Records showcase. How have they been for a label?
Craig: Awesome. They’ve been amazing. They took us in, pointed us in the right direction and gave us the insight on the industry that we normally wouldn't have.
The_Avant_Garde: They are also a very diverse label right? Punk, Metal, Rock?
Todd: All of the bands on the label are very talented. They bring all of us upto the same level, bring out everyone’s potential and help to give us a career. Brian [Thompson, founder] takes us in, lets us know what we can do, what we cant. They re great guys.
The_Avant_Garde: Quartered are a Vancouver band and Vancouver has a very eclectic scene. How did you guys start, where did you start playing?
Craig: White Rock, South Surrey. Down on the beach.
Todd: Yeah, its not really what you’d call a scene.
Craig: We started in the Ocean Beach hotel. Then moved on to do some shows for the Supernova Promotion people. We got sucked into the whole battle of the bands thing.
Todd: You know, we were alot younger and they [Supernova] get everyone with that “we take all of the ticket money, you get exposure” thing. So we started with that.
Craig: Then we eventually moved on to the pub and bar scene, doing those kinds of shows.
The_Avant_Garde: Did you ever get a chance to play the Cobalt before its unfair demise? That was Vancouver’s only true source for underground metal.
Todd: We’ve never actually played the Cobalt, unfortunately.
Craig: Yeah. The Cobalt and Pub 340 are basically the only two venues of that sort that we’ve never had a chance to play yet.
The_Avant_Garde: What do you guys think of this attitude from Vancouver City Council, shutting down all of the underground venues and trying to stomp the scene out?
Craig: It sucks!
Todd: It really sucks.
Craig: Its making it harder for everyone. There are so many talented metal bands in Vancouver. There are so many bands in general.
Todd: Yeah and now you’re looking at longer wait times between shows. When they’re closing down venue after venue after venue it really makes things extremely difficult to find places for exposure, for all of these new young bands. No one wants to see the same bands every weekend. They want to switch it up. Like, there are enough places still running to support a scene but if a few more get shut down...then who knows what will happen.
The_Avant_Garde: Any bands you guys want to give a shout out to here in the local scene?
Craig: Ninjaspy, Slapshock, Calihan. A Textbook Tragedy, rest in peace. There are just so many talented bands here its amazing.
The_Avant_Garde: Well I’d like to thank you guys for sitting down with me today. Is there anything else you’d like to say for the final word?
Todd: Find us on Facebook. Check us out on myspace, www.myspace.com/Quartered. Stay tuned for the new record, “Walks Like A Ghost” somewhere near you soon and be on the look out for us on the cross country tour!
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