This week we rock out with Tunecore artist Raven Quinn, a fiery songbird who fills your ears with guitar-drenched melodies and vocals ready to knock any minor-leaguers out of the park. She’s had the grand opportunity to record with some of her favorite artists like drummer/songwriter Josh Freese and guitarist George Lynch. Not every girl in life gets to rage with hard rockers like these! Check out our interview with Raven to see what more she had to say.
- What is your first musical memory?
Thinking as far back as I can remember, my two earliest musical memories occurred around the same time, and I can’t recall which came first. It’s definitely one of the following two:
- Listening to my Dad sing old Elvis tunes to my mom and I. He never sang in front of anyone but us, and I remember thinking (even as a little 3 year old kid) what a fantastic voice he had (and he still does.)
- Rocking out to Bob Seger cassettes with my mom in the car. She’s a Beatles fan through and through, but she was definitely going through a Bob Seger phase at the time.
- What was the first concert you ever went to?
Oh man. I’ve been to many great concerts in my life, but the very first one I ever went to ended poorly. It was the X96 Big Ass Show (a festival) in Salt Lake City, which is where I lived at the time. I was 12 or 13 years old, and I went with another girl from school. I only vaguely remember the lineup, as I wasn’t there for the entire day- but I’m pretty sure that Poe and The Violent Femmes were playing, which was the major reason I wanted to go in the first place. Long story short, I ended up getting separated from my friend at some point and walked around aimlessly for a bit until I eventually got freaked out and called my parents from a payphone. Fortunately, I became a little less lame as I grew older and my concert-going experiences were all aces from that point on. :)
- What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration?
For me, musical inspiration can come from anywhere. I am most inspired by things that significantly move/impact me emotionally- but related concepts can just fall out of the sky days, weeks, or months after that initial impact. I could be doing literally anything: from grocery shopping to taking a shower, when some set of lyrics, melody, etc. will just strike me- seemingly from out of nowhere. I also feel very inspired in a more general way when I listen to or watch my favorite bands and artists perform. My childhood took place during the late 80’s and 90’s, and it was in that era that I discovered my biggest female influences in music: Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, Shirley Manson of Garbage, and Poe. As a kid, I really appreciated (and still do) that each of these women have a unique and unconventional fire and beauty in their voices and overall musical presence and persona. They write their own songs. They have important things to say…and they TRULY know how to rock. I don’t think there’s any way I’d be remotely the same person if I hadn’t had such strong female figures in music to look to as a child.
- Without using the words "alternative," "pop,” or "rock," describe your sound.
I view songs as snapshots of the emotions or experiences they were inspired by. It’s always my goal to really tell a story lyrically, to create musical soundscapes that compliment and support the story, and to transport the listener on an emotional level. Overall, I write music for myself as my creative outlet, with the hope that other people will also recognize themselves in the songs and relate to the music in their own way. The span of influences I draw from is very broad, and every song has its own distinct personality and musical direction. There are darker tracks, featuring heavier growling guitars, driving drum parts, crunchy programmed loops, epic orchestral arrangements, haunting piano melodies, and aggressive vocal performances. There are also songs that are far brighter and very ethereal, featuring everything from autoharps to dreamy synth pads, cleaner guitar tones, and very feminine soaring vocals with an almost angelic feel. I also love a big, hooky chorus- so that’s become a common thread throughout my writing. When Dan Brodbeck and I started writing and recording together, we definitely experimented with many different approaches, and demoed out a lot of songs. As we continued to work, our direction became more and more clearly defined, and I became more confident taking risks vocally. Eventually we ended up with a beautiful group of songs that, although very different from one another, shared a certain level of continuity. They “fit” together in a special way. These were the songs that made the record. The loose concept for this album was to sonically capture the darkness that we all face in life, juxtaposed by the moments of pure light and joy that we experience as well- and I think we accomplished that in a very real and unique way.
- Stones or Beatles?
Always The Beatles. My mom is a huge fan, and I grew up listening to them. I’m sure they’ve impacted me in more ways than I am even consciously aware of. Listening to The Beatles feels like being in an auditory time machine to me…like being a kid, like going home. I love them.
- What's your dream collaboration?
As far as dream collaborations go, I’ve already been lucky enough to have two of mine come true. I’ve been a massive fan of Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle since I was a kid, so when Josh Freese agreed to track drums for my album it was such a fairytale moment for me. I was so shocked and happy when I got the news that I actually cried. Aside from being ridiculously talented–he nailed every take–he’s also just a genuinely nice person to work and hang out with. Overall just an amazing experience. The other dream collaboration I’ve had so far was with guitarist George Lynch. George is bar-none the most incredible guitarist I’ve ever had (and probably will ever have) the privilege to see play live. Having him contribute his skill to my album truly elevated each song to a whole other level. He was also very humble and sweet, which only made the experience that much better. Having the opportunity to work with musicians at that level was completely surreal. Beyond that, I’m not sure whether or not I even deserve to have any more dream collaborations! Feels like I’ve already had more than my fair share.
- Do you find the song or does the song find you?
I think it works both ways for me- but far more often than not, the song finds me. My subconscious must be gathering song ideas and storing them, because as I said before, they seem to just fall out of the sky and hit me in the head on a fairly regular basis. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve even had dreams where I’m performing a song I really love- and then I’ll slowly begin to realize that I’m dreaming, and that the song in the dream does not exist yet in real life. I’ve had to force myself on more than one occasion to wake up and jump out of bed, so I could try to salvage as much of the song as possible before it dissolved with the dream.
- How do you discover new music
I usually stumble upon new music through friends, or online through myspace, facebook, twitter, etc. I’m really into Kings of Leon, and I actually heard them for the first time through a friend’s myspace profile. She had one of their tracks set as the main song on her page, and it grabbed me instantly. When a band is really good, it’s amazing to watch the word spread like wildfire online.