THE QUILL “Rising Power” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

Sweden’s THE QUILL is what you call a hidden gem in the world of hard rock. I first heard them in the early 2000’s with their record “Voodoo Caravan”, which to this day is one of my favorite chunks of pure rock. Imagine a mix of WHITESNAKE, SOUNDGARDEN and BADLANDS and just as good as any of those bands. But also with their own distinct personality.

They’ve been grinding it out since the mid-90’s, never getting discouraged and continuing to stick to what they know best. 2021 sees the release of their latest effort “Earthrise” and this is easily my favorite since “Voodoo Caravan”. It really sums up everything that makes the band so addictive.

The set up the perfect opportunity for me to talk to them. I managed to connect with Roger, Christian and Magnus for a bubbly little chat which you are now about to experience. Welcome to Wormwood Prime...THE QUILL…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings, Christian! 2021 brings us “Earthrise”, which is the result of a real productive songwriting period for the band. Was it written during the pandemic lockdowns or does it go back a bit further?

CHRISTIAN CARLSSON: Most of the songs were written in the second half of 2019. We started the recording sessions in December 2019 and were maybe halfway through when the pandemic hit. After that everything took an extremely long time to finish, for obvious reasons. So it’s great to finally have this album see the light of day.

WC: If it was written during the pandemic, how did that affect the band in terms of mood and songwriting?

CC: Frustrating of course...just the fact that we didn’t have access to the studio the way that was planned, every process of the production was delayed. 

WC:The album has some great spacy cover art. How did this masterpiece come about?

ROGER NILSSON: It’s done by the same artist, Sebastian Jerke, who did the artwork for “Born From Fire”. We had the idea of something related to space and then he got to listen to the songs and read the lyrics after which he made a few pencil sketches with different basic ideas for us to choose from. We really liked the idea of an alien looking at Earth from above, especially with all the madness that’s been going down lately.

WC: I understand that a ton of songs were written for the album, but not all of them made it. Will we ever see those songs that were cut on another album?

RN: I’m sure they will see the daylight in some shape or form sooner or later. They’re all good songs but were left off for different reasons. We even recorded a couple of tracks with Swedish lyrics- something we’ve never done before.

WC: What was the criteria you used to determine what song would make it onto the album?

MAGNUS EKWALL: First of all we kind of rank the recorded songs to try and leave out songs we like the least...that is sometimes not easy. Another aspect is to have a certain flow on the record. Slow stuff, heavy riffs, spaced songs...we like to have a bit of variety. Another aspect is the length of the songs.

WC: “Earthrise” reminds me a lot in sound and style of your great “Voodoo Caravan” album. Was this intentional or did it just turn out that way naturally?

ME: Funny you mention that! We tried to get into the feeling we had around the time of recording “Silver Haze” and “Voodoo Caravan”. No worries, no expectations from anybody, just trying to write songs we like and enjoy playing. Soundwise I don´t know but it´s great if you hear the similarity. “Voodoo Caravan” is an album I really like.

 WC: Magnus is such an amazing vocalist. He seems underrated by the musical community at large. Is this something you get frustrated by?

ME: No, I am not frustrated at all. There are loads of great singers out there and I am just happy to be able to sing and writing songs with this great band. The fact that you are calling me “an amazing vocalist” is more than enough for me, thanks.

WC: Is there one particular song on “Earthrise” you would pick as your favorite? I know that’s got to be a tough decision.

ME: For me it's definitely “Dwarf Planet”. It has everything that I like in a Quill song...the more mellow intro part, driving verse, good chorus melodies and a heavy different part towards the ending of the song. I like longer songs, it gives you the time to get into the right feeling.

WC: “Dwarf Planet” is a trippy, psychedelic kind of song. What exactly is this one about?

ME: It is actually about outsiders, people who doesn´t fit in, pushed away or distanced by free will. You know Pluto was one of the main planets once but not anymore. A bit like bullying, isnt it?

WC: Bands usually don’t like to pigeonhole their music. I’ve heard The Quill described as 70’s retro rock, stoner rock, grunge and straight hard rock. What description sits best with you?

CC: All of them, hahaha… I guess we are a mix of all the music we like. I don’t think I can describe our music with just naming one genre. It’s a mix. 

WC: Covid has killed the live music scene in the last year and it looks like that will extend well into the new year. How bad does it hurt not being able to play live?

CC: It’s boring as hell but we just have to accept the fact and we decided early on in this that the only thing we can do is start writing songs for the next album, so that’s what we have done. We haven’t been able to gather in the rehearsal studio that often but everyone writes at home and we share audio files and have video meetings...very Rock n roll, hahahaha…

WC: When it comes to songwriting, how does the band operate? Is it one or two members doing the lion’s share or do you all collaborate equally?

ME: We usually are involved all four of us. Someone has a riff or some chords, sometimes nearly a full song when it comes to music. We fool around with it in our rehearsal room, I try to find melodies and bits of lyrics. It is a kind of lengthy process but it´s the way we´ve always done it. 

WC:What band is an influence on The Quill that would surprise people?

CC: Oooh, we have very broad taste in music. Every band member has love for certain styles or bands that the other ones don’t appreciate or understand. I think we cover all styles. For example Jolle is a big fan of the Sunset Strip hairbands from the late 80s. Myself, I just love DIRE STRAITS. 

WC: What was the last release you heard that really impressed you?

CC: The new album from AC/DC is really great, I didn’t expect that actually.

WC: In the band’s history, what was your biggest “Spinal Tap” moment where things things went crazy and got out of control?

RN: Being in a band for 25 years you’ve certainly had your fair share of Spinal Tap-moments. First that comes to mind is when we did a live TV-show here in Sweden around the time when we released the first album. The people at the station were adamant we had to do a playback version and not play live - new as we were ,we buckled in. Show starts, kind of a friday-night show with different guests, everything is running smoothly and we’re just standing around waiting for our turn. Host presents - ladies and gentlemen THE QUILL - by which point the playback music should start - but nothing happens. No music in the monitors and nothing to pretend to play to. Studio-crew is running around like crazy and one guy whispers to us - “pretend to play anyway!” -”To what?” We’re just standing there like a bunch of idiots looking confused at each other. After what felt like an eternity they cut back to the host who blamed technical difficulties. First and last time we ever agreed to a playback performance.

WC: Any last words for the fans?

CC: Let's All meet on tour when this pandemic is over! Can’t wait!!!