The Qwarks had us thoroughly hooked to their sound with the fun perfection of ‘Terrible Boo Boo‘. With their debut album, The Qwarks Are Cancelled, they expand on this for an engaging, fun and rather thought-provoking listening experience. Including the single that got us hooked, the album brings some psychedelia to big riffs and topics that leave you pondering. We were able to have a chat with the humble bassplayer of the band to talk about the album, potential thematic links, influences, special launch events and much more!
OSR: You all have played in different musical projects over the years, but what made you come together as The Qwarks?
Humble Bassplayer: All the different musical projects we’ve played in made us come together as they convinced us that The Qwarks must happen immediately.
OSR: When you first started making music together, did you know what sound you wanted or has this evolved over time?
Humble Bassplayer: We wanted the sound of all our equipment working properly without smoke billowing out the back, which given its cheapness is not guaranteed. This has evolved into a recurring nightmare.
OSR: After releasing five singles from your debut album The Qwarks Are Cancelled, what made you decide to release the album as a whole now?
Humble Bassplayer: At least two of us remember albums as a thing, a wonderful thing, and what fun they were. It’s like taking the young’uns on a steam train or introducing them to plum duff.
OSR: Is there a story or theme that links the 13 tracks of the album?
Humble Bassplayer: I didn’t write them but as far as I can tell the theme is our singer/composer’s joyful mental and social deterioration, fall from professional grace, and inability to conceal a raging frustration with his fellow beings over the first year of a pandemic.
OSR: Included in the album are four spoken-word phone calls. What made you include them in the album?
Humble Bassplayer: Because Jeannie would kill us if we didn’t. She wanted her side of the story heard, for people to understand what she was up against, and why things turned out in the unfortunate manner they did.
OSR: There is a touch of ridiculousness woven into some of the tracks of the album. Was this something you actively tried to achieve or did the fun just spontaneously occur?
Humble Bassplayer: It was inevitable, we are ridiculous people.
OSR: If people could listen to only one song, which do you feel best captures the essence of the album?
Humble Bassplayer: Uh oh, toughy, my choice would be ‘Inefficient Bondage’
OSR: You draw on a wide range of influences for your sound, but what would we find if we looked at your favourite playlist?
Humble Bassplayer: You’d find all the cool stuff at the front to impress my friends, On The Corner, Tago Mago, Revolver, and the stuff I really like hidden at the back, Blodwyn Pig, Cardiacs, Gilbert O’Sullivan.
OSR: The tracks of the album tend to take on the dilemmas and challenges of modern life, but what do you feel was the biggest challenge of creating the album?
Humble Bassplayer: Creating the album was easy as they all came tightly packed in a big box, but the main problem creating the album was knowing when to stop. Saying, with conviction, “it’s too late now, now put it down there and go to your room to think about what you’ve done”.
OSR: You had a special launch event for the album, can you tell us a little more about this?
Humble Bassplayer: Yes, it was a party launch circus extravaganza with dancing, poetry, lights, t-shirts, prize giving, and smells with the dual launch of a wonderful new Perfumery, Brighton Perfume. All the senses were pleasantly assailed and a new collective noun had to be invented, “wonderments” (thanks Pao Pincerna) to describe the combined effect.
OSR: If people could only feel one emotion while listening to your music, what would you like that to be?
Humble Bassplayer: There is a German word, “Fernweh” which is a longing for a place you’ve never been, and may not exist, which is a beautiful poetic construct. It’s a shame that there isn’t also a word for a sort of ‘satisfying indigestion’, ‘cos it’d be that.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the next 12 months?
Humble Bassplayer: More of the same and less of the other. To that end, an EP is out this month and a new album is half done, the easy half. More gigs if we can get any!