College campuses are breeding grounds for newly-formed bands. There’s something magical about those unfettered years as an underclassman when new ideas and newfound freedoms make you believe the motivational posters imparting encouragement of possibilities. Enter indie rock band Quality Cable, whose four members are all pursuing various music degrees from the UofL School of Music. What began as a recreational idea among lead singer/guitarist Emma Treganowan and fellow classmate and keyboardist William Lamkin a year ago, has now become one of the fresher sounds to the local music scene. With a developing style invoking influences of jazz fusion, retro pop and an undercurrent of funk, Quality Cable is set to release their second EP, Paper View, on Friday, Jan. 11. This EP offers a sampling of their capable range — from slow and ethereal, to jazzy lounge that’s attributed to drummer Fiona Palensky, or an undercurrent of funk from bassist Samuel Kernohan. Their sound is remarkably fluid, yet meticulously structured and Treganowan’s delicate voice is the tie that binds their sound. The song “Old Age” — a standout track from the new album — has a sexy groove and swagger reminiscent of The Doors, but with modern nuances that make it completely fresh.
LEO: Your upcoming release, Paper View, is your second EP. What’s stopping you from making a full record?
Emma Treganowan: Simply money and time. With each member in college, we can’t use much personal finances towards recording [so we] mostly use money the band has made in music sales and paid gigs. College also takes away so much of our time. We recorded this EP on one Saturday for 10 hours and then finished the rest in short visits after school and sending ideas via email to Anne Gauthier [head producer/engineer at La La Land Studio).
Describe your experience recording at La La Land.
La La Land is such a magical place. When I walked in, I knew we were going to have a good session. The atmosphere at the studio is homey, and the style and decor is invigorating and inspired us to get excited to record our music. Anne Gauthier, who recorded our EP, was very helpful not only technically but also has an ear for music and was able to let us know if we should do another run or if my vocals were not quite in tune.
You feature a contributing musician on this recording…
We asked Andrew Ramsay [UofL student majoring in Classical Guitar Performance] to join us on this EP for many reasons, a few being strategic — like being able to record all instrumentals on the EP live with no overdubs to save time and to have a rich, full sound at our first headlining show. With time, Andrew has become a great contributor in the making of this EP and has given valuable input and critiques in the writing process and adds his own stylistic flair to his second guitar parts.
Have you played this EP for your professors? If so, what were their thoughts?
I played some of our previously-released music to my guitar teacher, and he loved it and shared it on Facebook. He messaged me a screenshot of our song being played on WFPK when he heard us on the radio and let us know that he is proud. Everyone at the music school is very supportive and advocates for the creation of new music and our happiness.
You are all full-time music students at UofL, how do you balance the curriculum with forming a band and recording outside of school?
I find and email about gigs and band opportunities either during lunch or after class. We practice at least once a week, with the possibility of two a week, if we have a big event to prepare for. Most of the shows that we play are on the weekend and don’t interfere with school. The first semester of having a band, we accepted way too many gigs and it caused so much exhaustion and frustration. We also have a rule to make sure we listen to the other bands that we play with at live shows. Although, one semester we were overbooked, which caused a moment of sitting on the floor at Mag Bar at midnight on a Sunday listening to loud, heavy rock while also trying to study notecards for a test the next morning. After such a hard semester, we now only play about one or two shows a month. We make sure to put our education first and don’t fall into the same trap we did the first semester of juggling school and a band.
There are many bands that go from college DIY to signing with major labels. Is this one of your hopes?
We would absolutely love to be signed to a major label. It is amazing how much we have been able to do DIY, but eventually our small band earnings will only take Quality Cable so far, and we want to be able to grow and create as much music as we possibly can.
Your keys player William is leaving the band to stay abroad in Poland to study composition. How will this affect QC and the future of the band?
Quality Cable will live on, and Will is going to return this summer after his studies. We may find someone to fill in, or we may just continue as a three-piece for a few months. Only time will tell.