Interview: Quitting Whitney – Something New

Quitting Whitney is an LA based rock duo. The band’s music is an eclectic mix of electro-rock, hip hop, and indie; predominantly influenced by other duos like Lewis del Mar, MGMT, and the Black Keys.

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Hi guys. Introduce yourselves please and tell us what’s been happening over the past seven months.

Yeah, we’ve actually only been making music together for about the last year. It has definitely been an interesting time to start a band. Besides our March tour being canceled due to COVID, we’re also jockeying with a ton of other extremely talented groups in Los Angeles for gigs, fans, etc. It’s inspiring to be around all this talent, but it’s incredibly competitive. We try to channel that into motivation and innovation.

Since we started, one of our goals has been trying to differentiate ourselves, create a sound that is honest and unique to us. It’s just super important for us to make music we both want to make, and occasionally that bites us in the ass when we combine too many genres together, but hey, we’re still dialing in our sound and we think these sonic experiments will help us do that.

It’s not easy having pretty differing music tastes. I think either one of us, on our own, would make music that sounds nothing like Quitting Whitney. It’s unique because when you listen to our songs, you are hearing a collaboration between two different artists. Ryan’s taste lends itself towards punk and hard rock while most of my influences fall somewhere between sample-driven hip-hop and guitar-driven indie rock.

We do our best to combine our music tastes in the best way we can, and present them live. Despite the songs being pretty layered and produced, our first love is playing live, so we put a lot of time into how our shows look and sound: what instruments to play on which songs, how to energize our fans, and just get people moving, moshing, dancing, whatever we can.

I’m totally mesmerized by your single ‘Something New’, what’s the inspiration behind the song?

Of course! I wrote the song a while ago, I believe we were already in the studio recording drums for it in October. The song probably came out of frustration and maybe anger over how slow the federal government moves to act on important issues, especially those involving the environment with no tangible short-term benefit.

However, the lyrics seemed to apply all too well to the COVID crisis. That’s why, when we were self-quarantining in our Albuquerque Airbnb (before heading home), we decided it was the right song to shoot for a music video.

What’s influenced your writing of late?

We’re actually in a very good place for writing right now. We have a studio that we rent together where we have been able to spend a good amount of time each week. Both of us have had our jobs severely impacted by the events of the last few months so we’ve got the time. Really all there is to do is create.

We were also lucky that we finished several songs in February that can roll out in the coming months, and we have a lot of time to think about the direction we want to head next. It’s been interesting because with more time, there is seemingly less urgency, which can be bad, but for now we’ve managed to continue to make this time as productive as possible.

We have also been able to transform our rehearsal set up into a full live recording room that can broadcast a full electric show live on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. We know the world is being inundated with live streams right now, but we’re hopeful that the high sound quality can help us rise above the noise.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

There’s a bunch of producers on that list for sure: Damon Albarn, ‎Michael Angelakos, Kevin Parker, etc just to name a few. But we’d really love to work with Slenderbodies at some point.

I’m just obsessed with the sound they’ve been able to cultivate, their production, and the vocal work. It’s also cool that they’re a duo as well that focuses on their guitar work; whereas we focus more on percussion and synth.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

There’s definitely a lot of variables floating when it comes to making plans for the rest of the year. For now, and until this quarantine ends, we’re just going to focus on writing, recording, live streaming, and continuing to shape our live set.

However, every day we’re praying that this situation will end permanently. Sure, we want to get out and play shows the second that we can but we don’t want to put our fans in danger. So, realistically I’m hoping to play a few smaller rooms, maybe around 200-300 cap, towards the very end of the year.

But who knows? Maybe this thing won’t end til’ 2022 or maybe there will be a vaccine tomorrow where we can start going to bigger shows again. In reality, I think it’ll be somewhere in the middle of that. This situation has taught us just to always be as adaptable as possible, so no matter what we’re always going to roll with the punches. If we keep doing what we are, I think we’ll be in the unique position of having a lot of new content and material to share with our fans, and also be ready to take the stage when that’s a possibility.

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