Quicksand: How Soon Is Now?

The post-hardcore innovators in Quicksand return with their first album in more than two decades

A number of books telling the story of the early days and origins of New York hardcore have been penned over the last handful of years, and in addition to the venues that served as meeting places for the scene and its denizens, places like Washington Square Park have also been described as playing a significant role in the NYHC story.

The 9.7-acre Manhattan park has been cleaned up and transformed as per the gentrification that began with Rudolph Giuliani’s time in office, but back in the ’80s, it, along with other outdoor city spots like Tompkins Square Park and Roosevelt Park, was a hangout and meeting place for addicts, the homeless, prostitutes, pushers and miscreants of all descriptions as well as artists, eccentrics and local hardcore punks. So, a sense of surprised irony generates a wry grin on our face when Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega informs us he’s hanging out in Washington Square Park when MAGNET calls.

That irony is not lost on Vega. While chatting about Interiors (Epitaph), his reformed post-core/alt-metal group’s first album in nearly 23 years, he recognizes he’s frequenting the same locale in which he and his bandmates—guitarist/vocalist Walter Schreifels, drummer Alan Cage and guitarist Tom Capone (currently on hiatus due to personal issues)—spent chunks of their youth, between gigs and rehearsals for pre-Quicksand outfits like Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, Beyond, Bold, Burn, Collapse and Absolution. But old habits, as they say, die hard.

“When Quicksand was originally around, I used to stress out about its fragility,” he says about what makes QS2017 different. “The band was intense, good and powerful, but at any moment it felt like it wouldn’t exist. I think I took things for granted, coming from the hardcore scene where things would fall apart and reemerge very quickly. On the other hand, there was always chemistry, and all we had to do was get together to do something good. These days, things are way more chilled out.”

“We navigated situations that I could’ve seen us fighting about,” says Schreifels. “That just didn’t happen on this. We had disagreements, but it was never hostile or contentious. It was like total discussion, which is awesome, and that’s how you get through things.”

Quicksand actually reunited once before, in 1997, but split two years later due to outside and business pressures fanning the flames of internal tension. This time around, the reunion was casual. So much so that if you weren’t paying attention—or if you were paying more attention to the members’ other projects, including Rival Schools (Schreifels), Instruction (Capone), Enemy and 108 (Cage) and Deftones (Vega)—you might not have even realized the quartet originally got back together five years ago.

“Basically, around the time Deftones were about to record (2012’s) Koi No Yokan, Dine Alone wanted to license and reissue (first Quicksand album) Slip,” says Vega. “The Quicksand guys have always maintained a friendship, and Walter and I got talking and batted around the idea of playing a couple shows around the licensing. Not so much because of the licensing but because that was where our heads were at, and it seemed like a good pretext to do it. Our friends and people around us were super pumped on the idea of the band existing again, so we reached out to Alan and Tom and had a lot of fun with it.”

“We’re lucky in that we still have a rapport musically and personally,” says Schreifels. “Both of those guys are super unique and distinct players, and it brings my game up.”

“There was no pressure, no social-media presence, no trying to find funding,” says Vega. “We just did it when we could do it.”

Since then, Quicksand toured occasionally here and overseas without definitive plans to record an album until realizing it had enough material. Things were, again, very casual, which allowed the music on Interiors to blossom with vocal-driven melodies, hard alt-’90s guitar and as much proggy/space rock former NYHC kids can scrape off the streets. It took three years of work so insular that the band’s management eventually stopped asking what was up.

But, as Vega puts it, “That approach allowed this to happen. Our nature as players is that we always jam, noodle and come up with new ideas, so that was natural when we got together, but we never decided we were making a record. We’d jam whenever we could, but it was never like, ‘We’re writing!’ After a certain point, we thought about how long we’d been messing around and what we had to show for it. We documented it all and discovered we had a hard drive full of stuff and we’d done a lot more work than we thought. Then, we were able to go back, see what worked and it was like, ‘Wow, we actually have a record!’ This all went so backward.”

“Going into it, I thought in some ways that we have to try to catch up with our style from 27 years ago,” says Schreifels. “But what ended up happening was it just kind of came out naturally. We didn’t really have to do anything.”

—Kevin Stewart-Panko

MAGNET Exclusive: Download Premiere Of 3hattrio’s “War”

On February 23, 3hattrio will issue Lord Of The Desert, a 13-track album of what the Utah trio has come to call “American desert music.” Well, they hit the nail right on the head with that description, a Southwest-inspired fusion of folk, psych and chamber-esque music that’s both timeless and timely. Lord Of The Desert is the third LP from the band—seasoned vets Hal Cannon (banjo) and Greg Istock (bass) and youngster Eli Wrankle (violin)—and its noir-ish sounds are made even more trancey and otherworldy with the addition of some adventurous Autotuned vocals. We’re proud to premiere album track “War” today on magnetmagazine.com. Says the somewhat-mysterious Istock of the track, “Is it inevitable that the human species talk about, think about or prepare for and engage in war.” Well, we’ll pretend to understand exactly what he’s talking about if he and his bandmates keep making music this fascinatingly original. Download and/or stream “War” below, and catch 3hattrio live around the Southwest next month.

“War” (download):

From The Desk Of Pete Astor: Intro (The Systems Model In Action!)

Pete Astor has been a staple of the British indie scene since the early ’80s, fronting a diverse number of outfits including the Loft, the Weather Prophets, the Wisdom Of Harry and Ellis Island Sound. He launched a solo career in 1990, as well, and is also a senior lecturer in music at the University of Westminster. Astor’s latest release is One For The Ghost (Tapete). He’ll be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week, writing about the origins of these songs and how they relate to the LP’s theme of past and future, complete with illustrations he created with Susanne Ballhausen.


1981

Astor: Once upon a time, many years ago, when all this stuff started, I had ideas about what it took to make things; specifically, to make music. To do this I believed that, if I was very lucky, I would be lying in my suburban bed, the yellow streetlamps shining through the orange curtains, not a soul about, the last dog walkers locked up at home. Then, a beam would shine down from above. In this moment of illumination and inspiration, I would be gifted with the skill and talent to make the music I always wanted to make, to walk in the footsteps of Lou, Bob and all the rest.

Of course, I was very wrong.

Years later, having gone beyond reading about music in the NME and similar, I realised that that the “beam-of-light/divine inspiration” idea wasn’t how it actually worked.

Essential New Music: Dori Freeman’s “Letters Never Read”

On her 2016 self-titled debut, Dori Freeman addressed the downside of love with plenty of wit and uplifting melodies. There are more love songs on Letters Never Read—some luminous, some troubled—but her soulful singing lifts them all out of the doldrums and into a pleasing state of grace. On “Turtle Dove,” her voice embraces the blissful limitations of true love, channeling the spirit of Jim Reeves with the help of a shimmering vibraphone and Aoife O’Donovan’s heartfelt harmonies. The quiet, twang-heavy groove of “Make You My Own” is a classic love song made more passionate by Freeman’s understated delivery. Her tender vocal on “Cold Waves” balances feelings of hopelessness with a prayer for the deliverance that only true love can bring. It’s a remarkable performance. Producer Teddy Thompson brings in an impressive cast to support Freeman’s burnished vocals, including his dad, Richard, who lends his distinctive fretwork to her cover of his “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight.”

—j. poet

In The News: Wye Oak, Eels, Okkervil River, Courtney Barnett, Melvins, Eleanor Friedberger, Ash, Dr. Octagon, Fatboy Slim, A Place To Bury Strangers And More

Wye Oak‘s The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is out April 6 via Merge; the dozen-song LP will be supported live dates in April, May and July … Also on April 6, Eels will issue 12th album The Deconstruction on E Works/PIAS … April showers bring the new Okkervil River album, In The Rainbow Rain (ATO, April 27) … Tell Me How You Really Feel is the latest from Courtney Barnett, out May 18 courtesy of Mom + Pop/Marathon Artists/Milk! … Sloan‘s 12th studio album, 12, is out April 6 via Murderecords/Yep Roc … The Melvins + Steven McDonald (Redd Kross, OFF!) + Jeff Pinkus (Butthole Surfers) = Pinkus Abortion Technician (April 20, Ipecac) … Megaplex, the sixth album from We Are Scientists, is out April 27 via 100% … Frenchkiss will issue Eleanor Friedberger‘s Rebound on May 4 … Islands is the first album from Ash in four years, and it’s out May 18 via Infectious Music/BMG … On April 6. Dr. Octagon—Dan The Automator, Kool Keith and DJ QBert—is back after 22 years with Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation (Bulk) … Different Strokes for different folks: Albert Hammond Jr‘s fourth LP, Francis Trouble, is out March 9 on Red Bull … MIEN is Alex Maas (Black Angels), Tom Furse (Horrors), Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone) and John-Mark Lapham (Earlies), and its self-titled debut is out April 6 via Rocket … Reissue redux: Fatboy Slim‘s You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby 20th Anniversary Edition (March 15, Astralwerks) and 2PAC’s Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (vinyl only, out now, Interscope/UMe) … Stone Temple Pilots has a new singer (Jeff Gutt) and a new album (Stone Temple Pilots), which is out March 16 on Atlantic/Rhino … The Goldberg Sisters (a.k.a. actor/filmmaker/photographer/Hebrew Hammer/MAGNET guest editor Adam Goldberg) will release Mood Swing on April 13 … The same day, A Place To Bury Strangers returns with Pinned Out (Dead Oceans) … Also making the 13th of April lucky is the Damned, with Evil Spirits (Search And Destroy/Spinefarm) … Someone please stop the April 13 madness: John Prine‘s The Tree Of Forgiveness is also out that day via Oh Boy … MAGNET faves the Orange Peels return April 27 with Trespassing (Minty Fresh) … Speaking of MAGNET faves: The Green PajamasPhantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3 (Green Monkey) is out March 16 … It’s only been 14 years in the making, but A Perfect Circle release Eat The Elephant on April 20 (420, dude) via BMG … Thirty Second To Mars‘ new album, The New Album (get it—it’s the new album and it’s called The New Album), is out April 6 on Interscope … Something Higher is the latest from Leftover Salmon, out May 4 via LoS … Shonen Knife‘s Alive! In Osaka is a 21-track live DVD/CD recorded last year and out May 4 on Good Charamel … Beth Hart also has a new live DVD/CD, Live From New York: Front & Center, out April 13 courtesy of Provogue/Mascot.