Interview: Quinn Archer
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:25:32
The title of Quinn Archer's new EP Dark Places might just be a little deceiving. Now, she certainly tackles some heavy emotions head-on with bravery and boldness. However, the collection's melodies and lyrics prove so poignant and poetic at points that it's a rather uplifting catharsis when all is said and done. That's her real genius though. She can tackle darkness and turn it into musical light, and she's only starting to shine now that the EP is out today [iTunes link]. Quinn remains one of the most exciting singer-songwriter's to emerge this year...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Quinn Archer opens up about Dark Places and so much more.
Lyrically, I’ll tend to write the relationship and breakup, relationship-gone-wrong songs. The theme is always there on my end. I wrote with a couple of different people on the EP. We picked those five songs. They were the five frontrunners. When we were putting it together, I was surprised. They all are slightly different, but they have a cohesive sound and story to them.
What’s the story behind “Save You”?
That was the last song we did before we went in to finalize the five songs. We gave ourselves a deadline to choose the tracks and decided to get on with the final production at that point. One of the guys from the studio came in with that guitar riff. I thought it sounded so cool. Sometimes, somebody plays you something, and it just happens. Suddenly, the lyrics and melody will come very quickly in that case. It doesn’t happen every time. There are lots of songs I agonize over lyrics or melodies for weeks and longer. Literally, with all of those songs and “Save You” being one of them, it was written in a day, and we said, “We love this. It’s going on the EP for sure”. I’m happy you asked about it.
What’s it about?
All of the songs are little pieces of people for me. They’re not all necessarily about one person. They might be a moment in time during a relationship or a breakup. You’ll listen to a song, and a memory will be sparked even if it isn’t necessarily about what you feel. You’ll interpret in a certain way. When I hear a guitar riff or someone plays me something, I’m reminded of another memory, and it inspires me to write. Certain people in my head give me inspiration. I’m a little bit angry at them [Laughs]. It’s all good therapy though.
Where did “Dark Places” come from?
That’s my favorite. That’s one of the early songs I wrote. It was one of those afternoons. I heard that piano line, and it immediately triggered something. I began writing lyrics. Sometimes, you get shocked yourself when it happens so easily because it doesn’t always happen so easily. I was really lucky that I wrote with a lot of people who took the time to collaborate with me, and they triggered things in me. It was a really exciting project.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
I love that question. I’m not particularly arty [Laughs]. When I write, I do think of a lot of imagery. I do write that way. I love words. It’s all art. I like when it triggers that in people.
What artists shaped you?
It’s a lot of people. Voices will really touch me. Janis Joplin will always be my go-to. I love her sound and the emotion in her voice. Etta James and Aretha Franklin are great singers. Stevie Nicks is another huge inspiration for me. Anyone with an interesting, powerful, or emotional voice normally gets me. I always loved The Bangles and Roxette. When I was little, I loved the female rock sounds. So many different artists have inspired or influenced me. Adele’s awesome now. I love Florence + the Machine. Janis Joplin is my number one though.
If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Apparently, there’s a movie called Dark Places coming out! Maybe it'll work with that [Laughs]. It’s difficult to settle on a title, but it would have to be quite a tumultuous love affair [Laughs].
Does this open the door to more music?
I hope so. My plan is to complete the full album, hopefully. I’ve got a bunch of songs I want to put out there, and I’m continuously writing. We’ll see what happens with this. I’ll be playing a bunch of shows and getting out there. My goal is to keep doing this for a long time. Hopefully, I can.
Check out the official "Dark Places" video: