Glasgow newcomers Quotes of the Dead offer up a diverse rock sound that, if it were a person, would be a candidate for being locked up in a madhouse. The band themselves describe it as “manic, bittersweet and schizophrenic,” with their brand of rock offering up delicious guitar riffs with elements of rap-rock.
The quartet is formed of Lauren Wade (lead vocals and guitar) and James Storey (drums), who’ve been a couple for around seven years, along with Brian Blackwood (lead guitar), who was in a previous band with James, and Jonny Fairlie (bass) and began around March 2018.
They’ve since honed an intriguing sound that fuses angsty rock with Lauren’s spoken word meet rapped vocals. As Brian explains: “We never really thought of it as rap, in all honesty. Lauren is most definitely not a rapper! It was just what suited the bassline that brought the song to life. We’ve never stuck to one genre so it’s hard to say. We can fuse rock and rap, we can fuse punk with swing, we can do ballads and we can do disco! It should be chaotic (and probably is) but it all still sounds like us. You’ve gotta see it to believe it.”
To give you some insight into this unique sound, the band released debut single Be Somebody a couple of months ago. It opens up with light drums that continue under a little bassline with atmospheric sounds coming in then dropping out for Lauren’s distinctly Glaswegian tinged spoken-rapped vocals “Hey inspector, What can you see from your private eye, Hey pretender, How’s the view from your privileged life?” A cool little darting riff joins in as the verse builds to a chorus of “You wanna be somebody, Go be somebody, Oh.”
The spoken-rapped vocals return for the second verse, which opens with the awesome lyrics “Time erases all the memories you try and keep, Find love on Tinder, Cos the guy at the bar must be a creep, We fear dark alleyways but the real psychopaths are in Downing Street.” A second chorus is followed by a section of recorded spoken vocals over a cool guitar lick, which feeds into a final blast of the chorus.
It’s a really cool, catchy and engaging track and we’re loving the sound of it. Check it out in the video below:
On the track, Brian told us: “For us having something we’ve created out there is everything. The whole point of writing music is to let people hear it; otherwise I wouldn’t have left the bedroom haha but it’s still mad hearing Be Somebody on radio stations and having it available to buy. I’ts honestly mental to hear some of the risks we took with this song actually pay off.
“Thankfully a lot of people are liking it. They say it’s different and that’s hard to achieve. We hope it’s an antidote to the mainstream stuff that’s out there at the moment. We’ve got to give a big thank you to Kevin Burleigh and Gorbals Sound Studio for getting the most out of us and the song.
“For those who haven’t heard us I would say Be Somebody only represents a part of our sound/style. However, it still has our foundations as a band. We thrive on catchy melodies whether it’s in the vocal, guitar or bass. Our lyrics always have a strong message or story.”
The band draw influence from a wide range of music, from James’ love of classic rock, Brian’s 90s alt-rock and punk, Jonny loving Rage Against The Machine, and Lauren drawing influence from singers like Debbie Harry, Joan Jet and Mazzy Star. And they tell us that music has been both a creative release and force for good in their lives.
As Lauren says: “I picked up the guitar at 6-years-old and never really put it down. I got bored of learning other people’s music so I wanted to start writing my own. Before this band, I had too much stage fright to really do anything with my music but the band has really let me express myself more.”
While Brian adds: “Discovering rock music changed my life and opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed. A real awakening moment. It’s an aim of mine to have that kind of impact on anyone who listens to our music.”
And on what inspires their music, Brian continues: “Lyrically, it’s been mainly me and Lauren. I think we try and avoid love or breakup songs as Lewis Capaldi seems to have them covered all on his own. Lauren loves telling peoples’ stories and I like to aim for a bittersweet tone; you can’t be too bleak or too nauseatingly chipper either.
“I also like to discover what the theme of each song is and then think of a novel, story or a movie with similar themes. That way I can use the language of that thing to give the song its own voice – hence, the band’s name – which Lauren will then take into her vocal performance by giving each song a character/role to play. I think we enjoy exploring the darker sides of ourselves… maybe a little too much!”
The band will be busy gigging around Scotland over the next few months, and are getting ready to release their second single alongside getting back into the studio soon.
And finally, on their slightly misleading band name, Brian clears up: “We want people to know that we aren’t a heavy metal band despite the impression our name seems to give haha. If you like us spread the word. We want to play outside of Scotland!”