To say Hellions had set some pretty high expectations for themselves with Opera Oblivia would …
Comeback albums are everywhere all of a sudden. They’ve begun to shake our expectations when announced.
Bands with “seminal” (ew – Ed.) status deciding to reunite in an effort recapture their spark can certainly be precarious – especially when they are blatant attempts to cash in on modern-day love for nostalgia or vintage culture. However, in the case of Quicksand, the legendary post-hardcore act stepped all over our initial trepidation, and have brought their classic sound with a worthy amount of bite and force on their latest album Interiors.
Quicksand were a spearheading force in that wave of alt-metal that reigned the underground of the mid to late 90s. Dominating after-hours rotation on MTV’s token rock programming, with the likes of fellow unsung heroes Helmet and Jawbox, Quicksand rode the wave of forward thinking hard-rock that is held in high regard to this day.
Now for their return, the absence of television programming based around independent music has called for the band’s efforts to be channelled towards touring. Coming off the back of consecutive nights playing in the US, the band are heading down to Australia, hitting all cities with fellow comeback kids Thursday for a night of aggressive, sweaty, and nostalgic sing-alongs. We were lucky enough to chat with the very insightful Sergio Vega (yeah, name looks familiar hey?) to talk about the release of their first album in 22 years, coming to Australia, and a lot more.
Hysteria: Were you aware you guys had such a strong following in Australia?
Sergio I don’t think we even considered it. I think that it’s a place we, you know that we’ve enjoyed going to sometimes, but Walter and I myself going touring with the other bands that we’ve been involved with. I do feel that coming from the scene that we come from that people are tapped into that and are at least aware of us. But we weren’t really clear about why, at least speaking for myself, I wasn’t clear if there was really … what kind of deal we were. I was just happy for the opportunity to be a part of Quicksand. And play some shows and get a chance to become a bass player there.
Why did it take a couple of decades to get you guys down here?
Well I think firstly that we didn’t exist for a while. Yeah, that really did it. But I think- prior to that in our first tenure we stopped playing around the time that we were starting to set our sights on Australia. So, if I remember correctly we had like, we were starting to etch out plans to make that later and we just kind of like, dissolved for a time. So, you know that’s really it.
Staying away from social media and things like that we kind of protected ourselves from any pressures that might undo us again.
So releasing an album after so long must be a special experience?
Oh, it definitely is, you know- for us in the way that we approached it was really- was really nice. When we got back together and played a couple of shows, we just kind of- kind of really rekindled our appreciation for the band and we’ve always had an appreciation for each other and, you know, we had a lot of respect and a lot of admiration as people as players.
Not existing as a band didn’t impact that, but when we started playing again, we just were really having a good time with it. We decided that we should leave it at that and not put any pressure on ourselves. Just kind of have fun. And we took that time, we played shows when our schedules permitted and every time we would get together we would jam and kind of record it and kind of, like, stockpile a bunch of ideas over a time. And one thing that we were really clear on was not to put any arbitrary pressure on ourselves, like we’re making an album, like we’re doing this, like we’re doing anything, at all. We just wanted to have fun with it and keep it that simple.
Over time we developed, all this material and kind of didn’t really realise it until we sat down and listened to the folders of stuff that we had on hard drives. And that kind of gave us a sense that we actually had something that we were kind of psyched on.
You kind of Beyonce-d your album. One minute it wasn’t a thing, next minute it’s there.
Yeah! I mean and that’s- you know like it actually makes me curious as to, you know, the process that other people go through who do such a thing. Because one of the things that I have noticed in, you know, coming back together is that a lot of bands were starting to come back together after some time and in taking cues from how a lot of bands were approaching things. We kind of took like, essentially a polar opposite approach. In that we weren’t overly romanticising ourselves, that we certainly weren’t dwelling on our past incarnation and our past times together. We just were really kind of like, enjoying each other and having fun playing and kind of updating our catalogue. And in updating our catalogue to make it enjoyable to us now, it kind of informed what our new material could be like. What avenues we could take to develop new songs.
Staying away from social media and things like that, we kind of protected ourselves from any pressures that might undo us again.
Where did the new material come from? Was it a tapping of the same well? Or something else?
It’s a tricky situation. And what we did consciously was, besides to take our time and not to- not to kind of frame it out in any way. But for me the challenge was to create a body of material that- that sounded like the band, that represented the band’s name and what the band’s history was, but we also knew that it couldn’t really sound like a third album a couple of decades later cause that just is pointless and we’re not in the same place. And it also has to kind of just come together organically. We didn’t want a contrived batch of songs that we were overly conscious of it’s construction.
So, that’s kind of a challenge you know, like what we had to do with- what allowed us to develop something organically was by not saying that we were making a record. Not telling- not admitting to ourselves that we were making a record. So, it’s just more like, having fun and developing things.
Again, you can’t think about it too much, that’s the thing. You know what I mean? Like if you think about it too, too much it just doesn’t sound like organic, I guess. You know, for lack of a better term.
The more details you add, the more challenging it becomes, it seems.
In a sense what you have to do is when you turn that off than it becomes kind of easy. You just have to take your time. Which is why I think we put ourselves in a good position by not having any social media accounts.
We did a Twitter but we didn’t do much with our Twitter. We had like a secret Instagram account that we used as kind of like a mood board for ourselves. There had like 10 followers but it was just us mostly, that we kind of, posted pictures that kind of inspired us and kind of framed out, you know, what our songs could be visually. But it was just for us. We never spent any time romanticising us in the 90s or anything like that. Or our past shows, our past exploits. And we were conscious enough saying we’re going to do x, y and z. When you don’t add those arbitrary pressures, you give yourself a chance to just have fun and develop over time.
WATCH > Cosmonauts
Quicksand will be supporting Thursday on their Australian tour in March 2018. Click here for tickets.
THURSDAY AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018 WITH QUICKSAND
METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY – WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH
MAX WATTS, BRISBANE – FRIDAY 9 MARCH
THE CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE – SUNDAY 11 MARCH
THE GOV, ADELAIDE – TUESDAY 13 MARCH