BestFan blogger Ashley Fisher had the chance to chat with Carol-Lynne Quinn, frontwoman for the band REND, over the phone. Carol-Lynne talks about touring, musical influences, how it feels to hear their music on the radio and more! Check out the full interview below!
Ashley Fisher: Since this is BestFan, my first question for you is who or what are you a “best fan” of?
Carol-Lynne Quinn: Oh man. That’s hard! I would say… Just for me personally, one of my favorite artists is Muse. That’s like definitely one of my top bands that inspire me, for sure.
AF: You guys just wrapped up your Western Canadian 13-city tour last week. What was that experience like?
CLQ: It was really good! It actually ended up being more shows than we thought, so we did I think 14 shows in 18 days, not including radio shows too and stuff. It was definitely a really solid experience and we met a lot of new people. It was kind of a tour to see a lot of places we’ve never seen before and start building the fanbase there and it was a really good experience!
AF: You’re also playing a few dates at Indie Week. How would you say your performances differ when you’re playing on tour versus playing a festival like this?
CLQ: That’s a good question! Festivals, you usually have a smaller amount of time on stage. We’re lucky ‘cuz we actually got three showcases this weekend, so we actually play Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Our set is usually about an hour that we do on tour and then the festival, we have 30 minutes to 40 minutes. So it’s really cut down and it’s like the best of the best material and super smooth transitions and stuff like that. And a lot of it isn’t for our fanbase, it’s for people we’ve never met. Kind of exciting, right?
AF: Definitely! Would you say that playing these festivals opens you up to finding new fans of your music?
CLQ: Oh yeah! Absolutely! Festivals are something where there’s already a fanbase going there so you get to meet a lot of people that didn’t necessarily go there for you and if you win them over then there’s a whole new connection that you can make there.
AF: Let’s talk about your EP Winter to Summer, which is so great! How would you say it compares to your previous release?
CLQ: Oh thank you! I think…if you listen to the previous release, I wrote that before we even had toured or really knew what kind of genre we were, so Winter to Summer is definitely way more cohesive and kind of guiding us down the path of alternative syth-rock. I like that it’s an EP ‘cuz it was able to focus on like six songs and make them really strong. It was almost like six singles versus like, some random stuff (laughs).
AF: What’s the story behind “Scars?” I love that song!
CLQ: Oh thanks! That’s awesome! Yeah, I actually wrote that song maybe two years ago or three years ago, even. It’s been in my pocket for awhile but we hadn’t recorded because it just wasn’t the right time. I think it’s a song that you can definitely see as metaphors or literally. Obviously, a lot of teenagers and a lot of people go through things where they’re dealing with scars or they’re dealing with issues regarding that. But I think this is a song that actually speaks about something versus…I don’t know, I’m not really a songwriter that’s into writing fluff, you know? So it’s a song that…I have a lot of people in my life who have gone through super tough things and I’ve gone through some really hard experiences and it’s talking about getting past that.
AF: And when you’re writing songs, is that a creative process you work on alone or is it more of a group effort?
CLQ: It definitely starts solo. So I start it on my piano and do the initial writing like chords and lyrics and melody and stuff like that. And once I feel like the song’s got a good, kind of cohesive feel and has got everything together, then I bring it to the band or I record it at my house and work on some parts and then the guys come in on it and do their awesome stuff too. It’s like a process of continued refinement and making it better and better.
AF: The sort of description of your sound on your Facebook page says: “Picture a dash of Metric and Muse, a scoop of Paramore, a layer of Alanis Morissette, a pinch of the Foo Fighters, topped off with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs…” Would you say those artists are your main musical influences?
CLQ: I think so, yeah! I think definitely Muse, and Metric in Canada has been one of the main female-fronted rock bands that have actually done a good job and made a name for themselves and they have some really cool things. Alanis was one of the female first singers for me that was like, “Oh man, she’s so emotional! There’s so much angst!” I think as like a teenager or a kid you totally connect to that so she was awesome. And then there’s also influences like a lot of classic rock like Led Zepplin and different bands from that era. Radiohead, too. I think we have to dive into tons of music. There’s so much music out there to be inspired by.
AF: You’re the frontwoman for REND, which I love because it’s so cool to see powerful women just owning the music scene! What does being the front woman mean to you?
CLQ: What does it mean to me? I think when we first started it was a challenge in a way because… Even tonight, we’re playing Indie Week and I think I’m the only female. I think there’s like eight bands at the place we’re playing tonight and there might be one other, but it’s definitely been an experience where we’ve been singled out quite a bit. There’s not a lot of girls in our genre and I’m really proud that we’ve made a name for ourselves in it. At the same time, we’ve definitely had to stand out and prove ourselves because it’s not like “Oh, another rock band with a guy.” It’s like, “Oh, is this girl just here because she’s a girl or is she actually a musician?” and that’s starting to change where it’s equal, but it took a long time to get there. I’m excited that it’s not a solo project and that it’s a band and it’s like this unit. We work together and we’re a team.
AF: You guys have been charting in the top 100 of Canadian Rock Radio and have Canadian-wide radio play. How does that feel?
CLQ: Really cool! We were charting by Arcade Fire and Half Moon Run and some other big bands from Canada and it’s pretty cool to see that. The first time I heard us on the radio it was like maybe a year and a half ago or two years and I was dancing around. It’s a pretty cool experience and it’s definitely rewarding to see that people are appreciating it and it’s the affirmation that a musician needs sometimes to be like, “Okay, we’re on the right track!” We’re still at the pretty beginning of our career so we always want to be grounded and thankful and appreciate it and be excited about it.
AF: Looking back on the band’s career over the past four years, what has been your most memorable moment?
CLQ: That’s a hard question! I think one of them was playing a festival in our home city called SONiC BOOM. The line-up was so many people that I had on my iPod and that I respect a lot. And it was really cool to be able to step out onto that stage and share the stage with people that you’ve been listening to for years. And another thing, obviously hearing the song on the radio for the first time was a really cool, memorable moment. I don’t know, there’s so many cool things that come with this job! It’s hard just to find one!
AF: You’ve shared the stage with a myriad of artists and bands. Do you have a favorite you’ve gotten to perform alongside?
CLQ: Yeah! My favorite is Mother Mother. I don’t know if you know them but they’re a crazy, awesome band. They played at a festival that we played at which was really cool. Honestly, it’s like because this job is so hard and you don’t sleep very much and you’re always working and going to the next place, it’s really easy to get down. It made us work harder. It made us be like, “Oh, I’m so excited to make this a thing where we’re constantly on stage with the bands that we love!” It just gave us fuel (laughs).
AF: What made you decide to pursue music as a career?
CLQ: I think it’s just been something from all of our childhoods and being teenagers and something that we’ve all been passionate about. We’ve all been in different bands. I think when you really, truly love music and understand that it takes time. It takes a lot of work and it takes small, attainable goals and slowly reaching them. I think music was something in all of our lives that affected us positively. I’ve done other jobs and it’s just not the same. It’s something that’s missing if you’re not doing it.
AF: When can we expect new music from you guys?
CLQ: Yeah, we’re actually recording demos right now! We’re writing and recording and we should have a new…I’m not sure if it’s full-length or EP, we haven’t decided yet. But we should have a new record in 2015 and probably a single within summer or fall. We definitely want this one to be our first export CD where we try to get it all over!
AF: My last question for you is how would sum up who REND is as a band in one sentence or less?
CLQ: I would say…REND is a high-energy alternative rock band with cool lyrics that have depth to them.
AF: Perfect! Thanks so much for speaking with me today!
CLQ: No worries! Thanks for liking the music!
REND will be playing October 16, 17 and 18 at Indie Week and October 25 at The Vat. You can expect new music from them sometime in 2015! In the meantime, check out their music video for “Scars” below:
(Photo via REND’s Facebook)