RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON BAND QUIET TONGUES
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Quiet Tongues: Thanks for having us!
What made you decide to start the band?
Seth Tonkin: I’d recorded a little song on a rooftop (filmed by Dan) and Dom took a shine to it! He asked if I’d be interested in a bit of a jam, Dom roped Dan in, I got Jack involved and the four of us haven’t really stopped playing together since! Having all met working at the Royal Albert Hall and seeing bands play there I think there was also a part of us all that kind of thought “I could do that …”
Dan Nunan: We’d all worked at the Royal Albert Hall together and one day Dom told me he was rounding up vagrants and misfits to play music. When I realised who it was and heard their music, I was in.
Jack Ewins: Seth pestered me to jam with him for a while as he knew I played guitar. I’d wanted to get back into playing music as I’d put that on the backburner for a few years.
Introduce us to all to the members and your musical history?
Dom Wootsch: Born in Budapest, Hungary I was fortunate enough to grow up in a music loving family. My uncle and parents all managed to get their hands on pirated Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and Zeppelin cassettes, so I was brought up with the good stuff. From the age of 8 or 9 my mum sent me to learn the piano. My brother also played (ridiculously well) and he introduced me to the guitar too. I was always drawn to drums though, but that was a no go for my mum. Eventually, as a graduation present she bought me a kit and at the age of 18 I started teaching myself. I am fortunate enough that the others in QT put up with the absolute absence of technique, rhythm and skill.
ST: I kind of fell into music, even though it feels like it’s always been a big part of my life. Growing up my parents always had music playing in the house or in the car so I think a lot of it sunk in through osmosis! They got a full-size acoustic guitar for a small underdeveloped 14yr old boy (honestly still looked about 8 years old) and they let me make a lot of noise which made me want to keep doing it.
DN: I’ve always been a guitar and keyboard player primarily, and to this day have no idea what I’m doing behind a bass guitar. Much like a toddler at the wheel of an F1 vehicle, no one is sure how it got there, and it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.
JE: I don’t have a musical background at all. I can’t remember why I asked, but when I was about 8 or 9 I decided I wanted to learn guitar. I think I might have asked to play the drums first, but my parents said it’d be loud… which is probably fair, Dom’s far more suited to that.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
ST: Do you know where the toilets are??
JE: What kind of music do you play? I never really feel I can give an adequate answer to that.
DN: This is the first interview I’ve done and I’m very much enjoying it! But in general conversation, pretty much what Jack said..
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
ST: The Queen’s either dead or a lizard! Both Maybe??
JE: There’s no difference between a mandarin, a satsuma and a tangerine. There’s only oranges and slightly smaller oranges.
DN: That Jack is a stooge covertly employed by big apple (aka the apple industrial complex) to erode overall consumer confidence and sow the pips of mistrust in citrus fruits, leading people to look for other more trustworthy alternatives.
DW: Metallica is a crude, practical joke on the music industry.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
ST: Quite a few guitar pedals! (I’d argue they were a necessity though)
JE: I thought I’d be worldly and hipsterish by reading the Trial by Kafka, but I mostly felt confused. I didn’t need that.
DN: I bought a compressor pedal for an embarrassing amount of money and I’m pretty certain my sansamp does what I need the compressor to do anyway, however I’m too proud to now admit that out loud or to sell on the compressor.
What useless party trick do you have?
ST: I can do a pretty good Chewbacca impression …
JE: I can clap one handed.
DN: I can recite the entirety of ‘Forgot about Dre’ while hanging my head in shame.
DW: I do a god awful Chris Walken impression.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
ST: It’s hard to choose, but I think it came at The Amersham Arms last year. We were in a battle of the bands type of situation competing for a spot at Isle of Wight Festival. When we initially got on stage the floor was pretty empty but as the gig went on the floor started to fill and by our last song it felt like the whole room was jumping. We didn’t win but by that point, it felt like it didn’t matter!
JE: It’s been great being back on stage post-pandemic; there’s relief and joy on our part as well as audiences.
DN: Pretty much every gig is a joy (and on the rare occasion it isn’t it’s at least a learning experience), but as Seth said the Amersham Arms was a real highlight and it was all thanks to a cracking audience – they were just incredible.
DW: For me, it’s every single gig. I never thought I’d be able to play the drums in a band let alone in front of people.
What was the worst experience on stage?
ST: Early on when we first started I had a tendency to get in my own head a bit, there was a show we did at Nambucca which springs to mind where I became really self-defeatist. It wasn’t a good experience for anyone involved.
JE: I regularly forget to unmute myself after I’ve tuned. Luckily no one has noticed yet.
DN: There’s been a few but they all usually stem from fixating on the tiny slip-ups. Your thoughts get snagged on mistakes and then can’t catch up with your motor skills and then it snowballs. So I just tend to overdo it on prescription medication and vodka now to prevent it from happening.
DW: For me, it’s every single gig. I don’t think I am able to play drums in a band let alone in front of people.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
ST: Dom’s first name is Domokos not Dominic and he loves a bit of reality TV! (Still the most rock and roll out of all of us though)
JE: Dan’s a pretty great cook. He spoon feeds me, Seth and Dom sweet ragu when we’ve been recording.
DN: Seth is lovingly referred to as ‘two-hug Tonkin’ as he always hugs people twice when saying goodbye.
DW: Jack freakin’ loves the tube, trains, transportation, tunnels, bridges, Victorian engineering, and quirky London history.
If you had to describe your bands music to an alien how would you describe it?
ST: Glittering guitars with abstract lyrics. We’d probably need someone to translate that into a series of bleeps and bops though!
JE: Beep boop, followed by my impression of the internet start up sound.
DN: Guitar goes brrr.
What makes you stand out as a band?
DN: Our legs mostly.
ST: From the get go our biggest strength as a band has been our wide array of different influences. I think we’ve combined all of our different musical tastes and backgrounds, found all the right cross overs and created something that’s truly unique! It’s either that or the boiler suits!!
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
ST: BoJo the clown & the rest of the circus.
DN: Wow, so much. But right now it’s Priti Patel’s Rwanda Asylum plan. It’s shameful and disgusting.
JE: My cat keeps jumping on my lap even when he knows it’s not food time. That and the cost of living.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
ST: It’s got to beEnnui at the minute, usually opens the set and sets the perfect precedent for the rest of the gig.
JE: We’ve got a newish song called Woolly Mammoth that bops. It’s loud, it’s groovy, it’s fun. Probably most importantly, I can wiggle my bum to it on stage.
DN: Peripheries. It’s like a self-hypnosis tape on repeat.
DW: Our song, She’s Velvet. It’s a non-stop 2 and half minute, high energy song that I love playing each time. It’s a good cardio workout.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
ST: Yes we do! It’s called Ennui, it’s our debut and we think the readers of RGM are going to love it.
JE: It’s riding in a convertible in a suit and tie, pretending nothing in the world matters. It evocates perfume adverts and their ridiculous premises. A horse on a beach galloping? Abstract imagery? Whispering? You betcha.
DN: It’s about boredom, but delivered in a not-boring way.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
ST: I was introduced to the word after me and a good mate of mine watched our beloved football team on the tele. We got battered. I asked my mate what he thought about it all and he replied with “Ennui”. After I had it explained to me I couldn’t get over the fact that there was one word to describe something that seemed so complex. The song became about using Ennui as a risky coping mechanism. When something is constantly dragging you down the only way to cope is to care less and less until you don’t care at all.
JE: Seth came with the vocals, guitar riff, and basic structure…, and the “seagull” sounds! Dan’s bassline coupled with Dom really holding it down really perpetuates it.
What was the recording process like?
ST: I think it’s safe to say that it’s the most fun we’ve ever had as a band in a studio setting. We got to stay above where we were recording so we were able to live and breathe with what we were creating. It was the first time we’d worked with Andy Nichol at Pistachio Palace and he got the best out of us. He gave us the room to play with the song and we learnt a lot about ourselves in the process. On top of that he was also annoyingly easy to get on with!
JE: It was pretty much in the shape it is now before we got there, which was helped a lot by rehearsals and then gigging and demoing. Needless to say Andy really helped us refine and better it into what it is now. For me personally, most of my guitar parts were altered or rewritten with his help.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
ST: I think it’s one of the first songs that we had to start out with online because of the pandemic so that was a bit of a learning curve for me in terms of home recording. It also highlighted the importance of paying attention to detail. Ennui is the song that it is because of its dynamics and that’s something that we had to work hard at to get right.
JE: One of the biggest lessons I learnt was that rhythm and arrangement are key from turning a great idea into a great song. A lot of time was spent converting Seth’s idea into a narrative that expands on its original parts and rewards the listener with each new section.
DN: Getting rid of the bits you find interesting as a player in order to better serve the song. I often find myself clutching onto things like some kind of demented magpie.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
ST: Not at the minute no. Ask me again in a year or so I might come back with an answer then! It’s a song I’m really proud of.
JE: Some of my parts could be more interesting… but that wouldn’t serve the song quite as well as they do! Writing basic parts serves the song, kids.
DN: Always. We love this song as it is, but you’re never really finished – you just have to know when to draw a line under things and move on to something new.
DW: I am incredibly proud of this song. Of course, I would change, refine, and rewrite my part if I could but I am glad I can’t.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
DW: Our second single, This Water Is Wet will come out later this year. We will certainly head back to the studio too in the autumn and we have hopes to embark on a short UK tour in September/October.
ST: So keep in touch, follow us, watch this space, all of that noise!! Been a pleasure!