Interview by Ava Butera + Victoria Taglione.
Emerging out of the New York City alternative rock scene, QTY have came, saw, and conquered since the inception of the band. The Dirty Hit-labeled band consists of long-time friends, Dan Larder (lead vocals, guitar) and Alex Niemetz (lead guitarist). We had the pleasure to catch up with QTY, as well as their drummer and bassist, Alan Yuch and Peter Baumann in the Orlando, FL stop of the Love Like Revenge tour with Bad Suns and HUNNY. QTY will be embarking on yet another tour to promote their debut self-titled album for the duration of November and December, which is set to release on December 8, 2017.
Dan: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up, this is QTY doing an interview for Honey Punch Magazine. This is a Honey Punch exclusive, QTY, one month before our album comes out, on the day that New Beginnings, the album….
Alex: I don't think what you’re saying is right.
How has this tour been treating you guys and how do you feel about opening up for Bad Suns?
Alex: It’s been really fun!
Dan: It’s been great, Bad Suns are really nice. They’re really cool.
Alex: We’ve been on the road for over a month now. It’s our first long tour; it feels pretty intense.
Dan: It’s really fucking cool.
What’s your favorite part about touring?
Dan: We spend so much time together.
Alex: We get really close.
Ava: Does that get annoying?
Alex: Sometimes, but not really.
Alan: Everybody is good about going off and having their own alone time.
How did you guys meet?
Alex: I’ve known Alan for years.
Alan: [To Alex] We used to be neighbors in the city.
Alex: Dan and I have known each other for a really long time, since he moved back to the city. Peter and Dan have been in bands together forever.
Dan: Yeah me and Peter have never not been in a band together. He taught me how to play guitar. When Alex and I were recording our album, we met Alan in England, he was touring with another band.
What albums and artists have you been listening to lately?
Dan: I’ve been listening to the Bleached EP. Me and Alan have been listening to that. It’s pretty sick music.
Alan: Like as far as new bands, definitely the Bleached EP.
Alex: Yeah, we listen to Spiritualized too. Also Kacey Musgraves, we were blasting her record.
Victoria: Isn’t she opening for Harry Styles?
Dan: Harry Styles should be opening for her! She’s so good.
Victoria: Isn’t she country though?
Dan: She’s pretty fucking good; she’s the only earnest modern country pop person. She talks about Gram Parsons [of The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers] and like I’m reading his autobiography right now, so when I heard her singing about Gram Parsons as I was reading the book I was like “Ahh I am too!”
Alex: Her songs are awesome.
What musicians have inspired you the most as a band?
Dan: Silver Jews…
Alex: There’s this record label called Drag City from the 90’s and like all of our favorite bands are on there pretty much.
Dan: Like Bill Callahan, Smog, Pavement, Silver Jews, Royal Trux.
Alan: We like Dinosaur Jr. too.
Dan: They [Dinosaur Jr.] aren’t on there, but we like them too.
Alex: We listen to like anything and everything, The Stooges are also another one of our favorite bands.
What’s the typical studio process like, especially for the new album?
Dan: I have like notebooks that I write lyrics down in
Alex: Yeah I’ll keep a journal and write down thoughts. Dan helps.
Dan: Last night we were in bed together and I was writing in my notebook, and Alex was writing in her journal and Alan was texting, but like with rhythm.
Dan: I’ll write the lyrics, and then we’ll go add a melody to it.
So when you’re writing, does the melody just come to you?
Dan: Lyrics and poetry have rhythm to it in the first place. There’s rhythm to writing. That’s what differentiates poetry from just words, right? There’s usually just an intrinsic melody or rhythm to it. Anything I write, I’ll usually text Alex and be like “does this make sense?” And then we’ll meet up, develop the song, and then make it a real thing. And then when we get to the studio it’ll be super fucking easy. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.
Alex: Yeah, then we’ll like practice the song
Is the studio in New York?
QTY: No (collectively)
Alex: We recorded it in London.
Dan: The album is all done in London, but we did record some stuff in New York.
Victoria: How is it in London?
Alex: Dirty Hit has us do it there.
Dan: We recorded with this guy, Bernard Butler.
Alex: He played in this band called Suede.
Dan: They’re a great glam band from the 90’s. He’s like a legend over there [England].
Alex: He did The Libertines.
Dan: I love glam rock, like Bowie. My only published writing is like a 25 page essay…
Alex: It’s in a literary magazine.
Dan: Yeah, it’s like how when I heard each album up until 1980 and how it affected me.
How and where does the inspiration for lyrics hit you?
Dan: Life-- just like walking around. That’s like the only activity I have outdoors.
Alex: Yeah, you spend a lot of time on benches.
Dan: Benches, my apartment, back of the van, when we get to the motels. I write all the time.
Alex: When we’re in restaurants too.
Dan: Yeah, that’s like my thing. In one of the demos that got us signed it says like “I’m at a restaurant.” It was “Dress/Undress,” but it sounds different now.
Do you envision your songs being played live while writing and recording them?
Dan: Yeah. We’ve always been a live band.
Alex: We also don’t play to a track like a lot of bands do.
Dan: Everything you hear, that’s us.
Alex: It’s harder now because every band plays to a track. I mean, it’s cool; I think it’s just the way of the future.
Dan: It’s not that it takes anything away from anyone’s performance, but what you see is what you get with us.
What can people expect from your upcoming debut album? Similar to the singles released so far or different?
Dan: I feel like different. Every song has been different on the album.
Alex: Oh definitely!
Dan: Like if you listen to “New Beginnings,” it’s very different.
Alex: It’s a lot slower.
Victoria: Are the songs on the album slower like “New Beginnings,” or more intense like “Rodeo?”
Alex: The whole record is kind of like a mix between “Rodeo” and “New Beginnings.”
Dan: The album has a theme that runs through it. Everything is true shit. The vibe of the songs and the energy is written according to our life experiences associated with them. I write the lyrics, but it’s still our lives.
Alex: Everything is intertwined. A lot of the people mentioned are you or Peter’s friends that are mentioned in the songs.
Dan: It’s all true shit.
So some of the songs you played live haven’t been released, are those new or older songs not released?
Dan: Those songs are new, they’re on the album. But they’ve been around for about a year.
Alex: There’s only like four songs out.
How does it feel to be on such a big record label, Dirty Hit, next to bands such as Wolf Alice and The 1975?
Dan: It’s the same as anything.
Alex: It’s kind of cool because we have a lot of support.
Dan: We have like tour support.
Victoria: Do you guys like look up to them?
Dan: I mean, not really look up to them; we’re all adults.
Alex: I think Wolf Alice might be younger than us.
Who would be on your dream festival lineup?
Alex: That’s a really good question!
Dan: Anything? Probably like Spiritualized.
Victoria: Give us like a good 6-7 lineup.
Alex: Yeah Spiritualized would be good.
Dan: Spiritualized, Silver Jews…
Dan: Bowie, Prince, Spiritualized, Silver Jews, and Smog.
Alex: Dinosaur Jr.
Dan: It’s so hard to choose though, I want everyone on there. Like Gram Parsons maybe. There’s so many. It’s like your entire life of loving music.
Ava: You would need one for every stage of your life.
Dan: I would need one for every month of my life.
Ava: It could be like a week long festival, like SXSW (South By South West.)
Dan: It would be more like a month long, at least
Besides releasing new music, what’s in store for you guys. Any upcoming shows after this tour?
Alex: We have our little headlining tour that we’re doing, it starts in California. Then we have like one week off and then we’re doing Chicago, DC, East Coast.
Alan: Also, New York.
Dan: We’re playing a big New York show. Nothing else has been announced but we’ll definitely make it to like Europe.
Were you guys happy that you went with Dirty Hit?
Alex: Yeah, I like it so far. It’s been chill. They’re really nice.
Dan: They turned on my electricity again! But we text them non-stop.
Alex: We text them like every day.
Dan: It’s been going on for like two years now. I wake up with a text from them every morning. Jamie’s [founder of Dirty Hit Records] pretty good. I got a phone call one day from Jamie when I didn’t know anything about the label. I was like “I don't believe this, like what are you saying you have a record label?”
Alex: We didn’t know because this was before The 1975 were really big. We saw them play at Terminal 5, which is big, but nothing like Madison Square Garden.
Dan: Yeah, I remember seeing them at Bowery Ballroom, and kids were lining up even then. And we were like “What the fuck is this damn 1975?” We thought that they all showed up for our show.
Alex: We were opening for The Drums.
Dan: The Dirty Hit guys are like my best friends that aren’t in the band. They’re genuinely good people.
Victoria: I wish I could work for them one day.
Alex: They have a really small team, like five or six people that work there.
Dan: The Dirty Hit office was literally a shared office when we first got signed.
Alex: Now it’s giant.
Victoria: Yeah, I’ve definitely seen the office before on Jamie’s Instagram with the neon lights
Dan: They’re very good people.
What can we expect in a year from you guys?
Dan: Record more, tour more, write more. We definitely want to come back to Florida (after we made a comment about it.)
Alex: Write more!