All Qiet on the eclectic music front
Recently, Huntington, WV’s uniquely interesting Qiet took time to answer a few questions for Graffiti. The band is made up of Christopher Harris- lead vocal, guitar; Mike Waldeck Jr.- accordion, musical saw, flugelhorn, and homemade electronics; Lacey Hazel- vocal stylings and theatrics; Jason Myer- baritone horn; Alasha Al-Qudwah- violin and viola; Russell Snyder- drums and vocals; and Max Venoy- trumpet, and is managed by James Maddox.
Graffiti: How did Qiet come to be?
Qiet: Qiet is the culmination of a variety of musical talents from Huntington and Charleston. The group formed organically over time.
Graffiti: How would you describe your musical direction? At first glance, it appears to be a kind of neo-cabaret with folky qualities – with songs like “Hollow Man” and “Come One, Come All” – and then sometimes it’s going down a newer road, ala Arcade Fire, and others that are part of a ‘new indie’ kind of sound, for example, “The Indie Song” or “Thrills”. Not that Qiet resembles Arcade Fire, but the band is capable of projecting that big, full sound of an array of instruments – conventional and otherwise.
Qiet: We’ve always described Qiet as music for people who love music. Qiet is the culmination of this wild and wondrous world, infused with every culture on the planet and refined in the mountains of West Virginia. Our songs radiate an undeniable energy, passionate lyrics and humor dark as coal. A balance of high-energy chaos and perfect order, Qiet’s visceral performances will keep you dancing long after the concert’s over. Combining the elegant excesses of 1920s jazz with the unpredictability of pure punk rock, what results is not just a show – it is an experience. Don’t believe us? Come and see for yourself.
Graffiti: Speaking of “Thrills,” the video you’ve created has a kind of dark, tongue-in-cheek vibe to it. Would you say that this reflects the group’s personality, musically and visually speaking?
Qiet: “Thrills” is a video that was produced early in Qiet’s career. While our style has changed, our personality has not. We like to mix the dark and the light. For some reason, that’s what we’re best at. Recently, we just wrapped the shooting of our newest video, “Get Found,” and are looking forward to premiering it locally and abroad. It will have the same personality, but a completely different feel in the music and visuals. We look forward to our new direction.
Graffiti: There is a confidence about the band that might not be typically seen in such an outright manner, but seems to be there, nonetheless. How is this harnessed and utilized in your creative process? Is there a formula to the band’s process of creativity?
Qiet: We believe in our ability to get our audiences moving. While there might not be a set process to bringing a song to existence, the standard is that Christopher brings the skeleton to the group and then all of Qiet gives it muscle and mass.
Graffiti: How has Qiet impacted the local music scene? And even abroad, for that matter.
Qiet: We haven’t really paid attention to our impact. More than that, we’re experiencing every performance on an individual basis and seem to be getting more and more attention from high quality venues. It’s been a wonderful ride and seems to be catching momentum with every show.
Graffiti: What are the plans for the latest album?
Qiet: The latest album, Pet Driftwood, was brought about thanks to our solid core of fans in Huntington/Charleston and from the Kickstarter backers that helped us raise the funds to help us on the production. We’ve got a lot of plans yet to be unveiled for this album and, thanks to the efforts of producer Eddie Ashworth, this release will be the most true to the Qiet experience that you can get outside of a show. We think critics and fans alike will be very pleased.
Graffiti: With a group such as Qiet, one might expect to experience a bit of a roller-coaster ride in terms of flow of material, moods contained within the music, and overall atmosphere. How do you go about crafting such an experience and translating it from a purely sonic experience to one that is witnessed by the aural senses as well?
Qiet: In an effort not to sound completely absorbed, much of it is achieved naturally. We find this especially during live shows, due to the reciprocated energy of the audience. The atmosphere is born of the people and environment, and we do little to shape or influence it.
Graffiti: Are Qiet audiences treated to any surprises during a live show? In the first chapter of the story on the Qiet website, it is mentioned that there are some “solid members,” but then others can apparently wind up in the mix at any given time.
Qiet: We have guests onstage with us constantly. Most recently, JD Reed from the Ultimatums joined us in Athens, Ohio with his stellar sax skills. We welcome the opportunities to play with other wonderful musicians on certain songs if it’s prearranged. For the most part, a Qiet performance balances between loose and structured. We believe this gives Qiet its edge while keeping its professionalism and quality high.
Graffiti: Shifting a bit, where on earth (or beyond) did Pierre [editor’s note: Look it up folks] come from? He’s a cute little creature but – in the photos provided on the band’s site – he looks capable of some serious business. What’s his story?
Qiet: (We’ll) have get back to you about Pierre.
Graffiti: Can people expect to be entertained by Pierre at any given Qiet performance?
Qiet: Pierre drops in to most Qiet shows, when we can wake and sober him up.
Graffiti: What’s next for Qiet, speaking in terms of plans for future performance, and creatively?
Qiet: Qiet’s main focus now is publicizing Pet Driftwood. We spent a lot of time putting it all together and now that it’s pressed and ready for listeners, we and others have made getting it noticed a main part of what we’ll be doing for the next six months to a year. All the while, our touring reach will be expanding farther and our audience gaining. Really, there’s a lot of work left to be done, but we’re excited by all the possible opportunities that are out there.
Graffiti: Is there anything that you’d like to convey to your fans, or to those whose (hopeful) adoration is yet to come in the future?
Qiet: Qiet loves you.