I don’t get awestruck but it is pretty big to get to interview a band that helped shape the genre that you spend your life on loving. QUARTZ where there from the beginning. Answers from MICK HOPKINS (lead guitar) and DEK ARNOLD (bass guitar) original and founder members of QUARTZ talking about their new album release “Fear No Evil”. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
You release a new album decades after the last one. Is it any different releasing an album today compared to when you released your first one?
MICK – With the advances in current technology in this day and age releasing an album can be done and literally around the world in seconds. Years ago it took a lot longer and was more difficult because you were more reliant on others who controlled your dreams and destiny as such. The equipment for recording today is mostly “digital” and computerised whereas back in the 70’s it was all “analogue” with producers, sound engineers and assistants. However that being said we are very happy with what WE have produced and that’s the main thing.
DEK – With the internet everything has changed. Before when we started out the record companies and the publishers seemed to have a stronghold or even stranglehold on most things that were done or not done. They along with our management would provide the finances for recording costs and money for tours but that would come as a big cost to the band indirectly.
It is natural to progress. You do so as people and as musicians. You add to your baggage. Was it important that this new album sounded in anyway like your old albums?
DEK – Hopefully as you say a progression occurs. With the same line-up everything will take its own natural course given time. We feel the new album sounds fresher and more exciting which is all down to the chemistry in the band.
MICK – What we always want to do is make the album as powerful and interesting as possible and if we can improve on what we have done in the past.
Your latest album prior to this was different to the ones released before. Was there anything from that album that you liked and that you have kept with you ever since?
MICK – We have used Geoff’s (Nicholls) keyboards again on this one but with “Against All Odds” we had a different band line-up at the time with different ideas and a different producer etc… BUT being as we are back to a five piece outfit again containing four of the original five founder member ideas just came flooding back from previous recordings.
Today you compete with a hell of a lot of bands on the internet. Does it help to have a history to get people interested in your band? I know that there are people who have discovered you through their parents record collection.
DEK – Having a “history” can help in many ways but can also be a burden. Let’s hope the legacy of the ritual of passing of music from “Father to Son” does the trick for more exposure as well.
MICK – It is brilliant that people young and old are showing interest in the band. We saw that at first hand at festivals we played in Germany and Sweden back in 2013. It makes everything worthwhile and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of the fans (young and old) for their interest and support.
We live in an age where restlessness seem to be the word of the day. Do you think we will ever see the days when you were loyal to a band come back again? My feeling is that those days are long gone
MICK – I don’t think it’s all that bad, There are still bands today that have a loyal following with fans going to all their gig’s and festivals all over Europe and the rest of the world.
DEK – Many of the “older” bands have made great comebacks recently. I hope with the new album enough people will enjoy it and bring us back into the fold and the limelight again.
I don’t know if you had any sort of recurring theme to your cover art work but is the art work as important today to sell an album when people download instead of buying physical CDs
DEK – You still need good artwork today that is also eye catching. AMAZON and iTUNES etc will use the album/cd front cover as a thumbnail to advertise our product and to grab any potential customers’ interest and to encourage them to delve further. Makus Vesper (the artist) has done a remarkable job in mine and the bands’ opinion. It’s done tastefully and is a slight departure from the usual shock/horror/gorge album covers that you see from most bands these days (nothing against them though that being said).
MICK – The album cover artwork is our drummers (Malcolm Cope) idea. It includes all elements of the songs featured on the release like a Stalker, Zombies, Holy Water and so on. I still think the artwork is very important and relevant today…. more so than say a “brown paper bag” if you can remember that far back? It’s nice to have something to hold in your hands and look at the photographs and read the credits etc. I have to say High Roller Records have done a great job with everything and done us proud.
Is it important as a band to have a message?
MICK – YES it’s simply …… “Quartz stand up and fight against all odds AND fear no evil.”
DEK – We do what we do and try to draw on our own experiences. Not all bands put themselves in a bag to have a message …. Although some bands do have great success by doing it.
What is it like to go out and play the old songs live and see an audience young enough to be your kids sing along to the songs?
DEK – It’s fantastic to see young people enjoying our music and singing the lyrics to our songs along with our vocalist David (Garner). It gives us a great feeling too!!
MICK – There is nothing better or rewarding than to see and hear fans singing along to your songs and for them to come up to you afterwards and tell you how much they have enjoyed the show!
What kind of touring will you do for this new album? I personally feel like we are back to the 80s when it was bloody hard to see a band without having to travel. Nowadays it all seems like it is only festivals and package tours.
MICK – We are prepared to play anywhere to promote this new album. Obviously festivals are good because you get to play in front of more people at any one time and the majority may not be fans of your music when you begin to play your set but maybe by the time you do your encore you might have converted them to YOUR fans which is always a bonus and very pleasing for us. However, it is also good to play smaller more local venues where the atmosphere is more intimate and you are closer to the audience.
DEK – We will be doing a lot of promotion ourselves and hopefully a European tour in the New Year fingers crossed. The album needs and deserves as much exposure as possible and we hope others will share our thoughts and beliefs.
What lies in the future
DEK – A new project is already in its infancy stage and we hope the future will bring us closer to both our ever present and new fans alike.
MICK – We are in the middle of recording another album as a follow up to ‘Fear No Evil” BUT who knows what the future will bring?