'Mess+Noise' has a very brief Q+A with ONE QUARTER ASIA.
What is 1QA today?
One Quarter Asia (1QA) is four individuals who manage to remain friends through the common ground shared in their appreciation of music. 1QA has existed for five years but like any good former, drug addict, or alcoholic; was born again two years ago with a lineup change.
Since the rebirth we have departed on various tangents, usually driven by conflicting ideas within the band, and are now carving out a sound that we believe is very much our own. For us the differing opinions and attitudes is what keeps the band interesting, it makes for some pretty tense moments in the practise room but we think a bit of conflict is good. If you get backed into a corner you are forced to do something spontaneous to get out of it and thats how a lot of our ideas come about. Its also how a lot of things get broken in bars.
Why did you start 1QA?
The band started as friends with a common interest but we really didnt find the purpose for doing what we were doing until the sudden emergence (annoyance) of indie fuck all rocknroll. The state of the music scene in the last few years is that of a bunch of people forming bands that are essentially a copy of what the latest hot right now bullshit band is. Everything from 70s garage rock to this old 80s nu wave thing. Its a cancer of plagarism. Dont get us wrong, there have been some genuinely great bands to come out of these uprisings but at the end of the day its the watered down versions that have driven us to prove how much more music can be. Bands like Queens of The Stoneage, Minus The Bear, The Mars Volta, theyre all very different from each other but they are all pioneers of a modern sound, while still borrowing ever so slightly from greats of the past. Its the rip offs of the rip offs that we want to see put down.
Whats the story with moving to the bigger Island?
We all feel very lucky to have grown up in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is the creative capital of NZ and living there has no doubt helped shape our attitudes towards the way we create and play music. The reasons for leaving NZ were numerous. When you consider that the whole of NZ is not even the size of Melbourne, its easy to see that the opportunities there are limited. One analogy that can be used is that of the goldfish in the small bowl, its growth is limited by the size of the bowl. I guess thats how we all felt about NZ. The number of venues there are very limited. We had all taken holidays in Melbourne and every time we came here we went home excited. Melbourne is alive with music, it has an energy that is really contagious and the relocation was an easy decision. Another reason for the shift was the attitude of the New Zealand music industry. The whole approach over there is very safe. Radio is scared to play anything that has not already been cleared as popular by the listening public and that pretty much goes against our whole idea of music. We believe music should always be challenging on some level and people being a little scared or confused by something is healthy. It forces people to think about it a little more and thats really what we are striving to achieve with our music. We want people to leave our shows going what the fuck was that and hope that the next time they come along they absorb a little more and its a rewarding and exciting experience for them.
If we were to have stayed in New Zealand we were going to change our name to the Catypos and create a hip hop crew, each mc being a mutant combination of six animals. Each mc would have been simultaneously six creatures, six styles, six features all wearing hats that look like they need to be bent, wearing baggy pants and Timberlands. We were going to invest in a Playstation 2 and start making dope beats cos that seems to be whats going down in NZ!
Whats the general consensus in NZ on bands moving to the green n gold?
I dont know if there is a general consensus. Each band is different and approaches things in their own way I guess. Some bands feel that its best to really establish a big profile in NZ before making the move. It is definitely an easier place (NZ) to network, etc, being so small but I really think it depends on what your doing musically and what you want to get out of the city your living in. We believe change is good as it gives you new perspective on things and that translates to your music. NZ really is a village, which is both a gift and a curse its probably about two degrees of separation over there, which means you cant get away with having an absolute shocker without someone finding out about it!
And where is this AU broader broadcasting, news to me ... ?
We think the broadcasting over here is broader. To give you an example back in NZ there is a national station called Kiwi FM. The station is totally dedicated to 100% NZ content, 24 hours seven days a week. This is great in theory but the stuff thats gets played on the station is generally so unchallenging. There is a real lack of specialised shows that will give something a bit different an airing. When you consider that Triple J has two hours a night dedicated to Australian content, not twenty four, and they are prepared to give things a shot. This fact really rang home for us and confirmed one of the reasons why we had left the Land of The Long White Cloud!
So, tell me about being Melbourne Musicians, has it changed things at all?
Living here in Melbourne has definitely changed things for us. We have really been inspired by a number of Melbourne bands. Local bands like My Disco, Bird Blobs, 67 Special and Colditz Glider are all bands that we really respect. They are all quite different musically but all share a commonality in that they arent afraid to play music that you really feel is true to them and that really comes across in their performances. Its great to see bands like that, that put everything into a set, thats what its all about isnt it? Playing live and having interaction with your audience?
When you go to see a band and they seem like theyre too cool for their audience or something that really gets us. We think a lot of bands are afraid to express some emotion or energy on stage as they might appear uncool whatever that is. At the risk of sounding a bit cliche we really wear our heart on our sleeve as a band, we belive that if your honest about what you do people will respect it. That is something that has probably changed for us as a result of living here. Back in New Zealand we were maybe a little more inhibited, I guess at first that came down to the anonymity here but it has become a huge part of what we are as a band.