An interview with Quadrilles as they put out their debut album ‘Isotopes’

Math Pop quartet Quadrilles

Math Pop quartet Quadrilles (Photo credit – Barnabas Y)

Its rubbish. We did it for the money and chicks and clearly this hasn’t worked out at all. If anything, we’ve met more dudes

Earlier this year, London based math-pop quartet Quadrilles joined the Lonely Voyage Records roster to put out their highly anticipated debut album. Following in the footsteps of mathy contemporaries Alright The Captain, Cleft and Polymath, Quadrilles funded the production of this mini-album through Kickstarter. With an intended goal to make £1500, the four-piece smashed it with over 92 backers raising £1680! Some incentives on offer were for guitarist Ken to come to your house and cook you up a meaty feast, whilst vocalist Luke was on hand in another reward to come round your house and melt cheese on anything you like! So they’ve got the food and math-pop market covered….

Isotopes’ is described by the group as ‘six well-crafted math-meets-pop anthems that conjure up memories of long summer days and misspent youth’ and it’s a pretty spot on assessment. The new release is loaded with twinkling guitars that canoodle with soft, heartfelt vocals to make bittersweet, math pop gems.

Opener ‘Tightropes’ is just a total sun-soaked, goose pimple inducing banger, with such a great vocal throughout. They could end it right there and Isotopes would be a winner in my eyes, but the hits keep coming. ‘March Of The Clowns’ twiddles and pops along with some sweet guitar lines, whilst ‘Whales’ feels like the equivalent of the sun going in on a beautiful day and everyone piling into the car. A lovely, bittersweet jam with falsetto vocals at the half-way point that send shivers down one’s spine.
Into Ludes’ is a tranquil, dreamlike break in proceedings, which is followed swiftly by the dancey, riffing ‘Shirtsleeves’ the breakdown of which is great and one that I’m sure sounds sweet live. ‘Mum! …Finished’ closes out the album with its driving, riffy opening that soon culminates in a whirring, dreamlike ending that harks back to the loveliness of Into Ludes.

With Isotopes officially out today (on gorgeous transparent red vinyl), I put forward some questions to Quadrilles, which were very kindly answered by guitarist Ken Chu.

BCFB: As a band, you rub shoulders with the likes of Axes and TTNG – What is it about math-pop that’s so damn likeable?
Quadrilles: I think this sort of music captures a couple of audiences at the same time. Those sort of muso types that stroke their chins in nerdy approval and those who just love a good tune. We’ve always tried to do more of the fun song-y part when we are writing and add the silly, wacky math stuff just to make it interesting for ourselves. Most importantly we’ve realised in the past few years that the math element is really boring if you don’t have a decent song behind it. 

You’ve joined a growing list of math-rock bands that have had Kickstarter’s successfully backed – A heartwarming feeling i’m sure. How was that whole experience for you?
Incredibly humbling. We had no idea if it would work or not and we were constantly freaking out about whether we would make the target. The final week was really exciting as we got really close. The feeling when we realised we were going to make it was a mixture of relief and amazement. We couldn’t believe that there were so many people out there that we’re so ready to support us, from people as far away as Australia and America, to peers on our doorstep in other bands we worship and love. When we sent out all of the pre ordered vinyl and t shirts, it was so good to finally make good on those promises. We were pretty glad we didn’t totally mess it up and end up with people’s money with nothing to send, then be accused of scamming people and have to leave the country and our families to go into hiding. 

From that, your debut album ‘Isotopes’ is officially released next week. How does it feel to be getting it out there for people to hear?
Its rubbish. We did it for the money and chicks and clearly this hasn’t worked out at all. If anything, we’ve met more dudes. I guess that’s OK as well. 

You’re putting out the new record on vinyl through Lonely Voyage Records. First of all, Is it a bit mad getting it out there on vinyl? Secondly, are you pretty pleased to be joining their roster?
How do you mean by mad? Like awesome mad, or mad as in a questionable decision? (Ed – awesome mad of course, I’m a big fan of those wax discs!)
Like a lot of people these days, we really like listening to music on vinyl and it was almost like it was the only way we would get our own copies! When we received these from the pressing company they were amazing to just hold in our hands and see the artwork on a big 12 inch sleeve. It felt like an artefact rather than something a bit more sterile and throw away like a cd or mp3 file. Not saying that we dislike digital formats. They are of course incredibly useful. We were astounded at how different it sounded on vinyl, which is a bit of a cliché but it’s really true. Adam and joe who run Lonely Voyage are massive vinyl freaks and it’s great to release it with like-minded people. We are really glad to be on a label with such fine bands such as Lost In The Riots and Polymath. Adam has been really helpful with all the bits and pieces that need to be done to release a record.

Can you tell us a bit about the creation of the album – How did it come together and what was the experience like?
This is the first collection of songs written with Dave and Luke in the line-up, even though they’ve been in the band for bloody ages. There were a few songs that were left in the gutter after we felt they were too rubbish for the record and were pretty much ditched. It’s really cool to have some songs they feel they are really part of. It’s almost like a debut release!
We recorded it with Tom Morley who recorded Olympians release and Delta Sleep’s upcoming album. We knew he was a super talented guy and got what we were trying to do. The recording sessions were really chilled out which made it easier to just get on with what we had to do. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out, although you’re always thinking about what could have been done better. I guess that’s natural.

What were some of your influences during the making of ‘Isotopes’?
That’s a really difficult question actually. I don’t think we drew off any specific influences. I think we just take influence from all our pals in bands, like the ones we mentioned in previous questions, then add all the bands that got us into this like Instruments (Make Music), Faraquet and Don Cab. But when you listen to the record, it sounds nothing like any of those bands I don’t think. It’s a bit like when you go to a buffet and eat loads of different types of food, but in the end it doesn’t really taste of anything specific, then you eat too much cos you’re a dick and there’s a 50/50 chance you might puke. 

Have you got any particular tracks on the new record that stand out as favourites?
We really dig ‘Into Ludes’. It’s really surprised us because it came from a pretty low key riff we were going to use as a very short interlude that looped and faded in and out. But Barbs decided to keep developing it and wrote more bits for it and suddenly we had this song we really, really liked. It came together so quickly. Sometimes you labour on songs for ages and they will never be as good as the ones that just happen. Usually those are the ones that get chucked anyway. 

Isotopes - The new album from Quadrilles, out now!

Isotopes – The new album from Quadrilles, out now!

I love the artwork for the new record. It reminds me of that scene from Total Recall where Arnie and that bad lad get caught out on the moon and their eyes are bulging out of their heads… It will certainly stand out in a collection! Who designed that luscious cover, and were they pretty much given free reign?
Michael Parkin (http://parkinparkin.tumblr.com/), who is the drummer from Olympians, did the artwork. We saw some of the work he has in his portfolio and we enjoyed the stuff he had done which would tell some sort of ridiculous and hilarious story. He has done a couple of great ones about a fisherman finding more fishermen who end up sinking his boat and a diver who misses his mark and probably dies of severe injuries. We just told him to do something like that but for a record cover. Immediately he came up with the idea and we loved it. There wasn’t really any more discussion other than a couple of details at the end. The style and humour really fitted us and we are super glad that we got to work with him. 

You’re venturing out on the road around the UK in support of ‘Isotopes.’ Where are you looking forward to getting to and who are you looking forward to playing with?
We played in Harlepool last Friday night and a band called Hold Music totally blew me away. It was really simple and beautiful music. In Newcastle we played with these dudes called Future Horizons, who were the total opposite. They were really dense and complex. Really excellent stuff. We are super excited to play with Quadrepede who hail from France and our new label mates Polymath in London. Hartlepool will probably be a highlight when we look back because its Dave’s home town, mostly because we knew we would find some awesome old photos of him at his parents’ house and we were not disappointed! Also Dave had told us about these things called Palmo’s, which is a Hartlepool contribution to world cuisine. It’s basically the worst, most tastiest thing you could put in your body. Google it. 

Their debut album Isotopes can be found here, where you will also find information on how you can buy it!

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