In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.
St. Louis quintet Quaere Verum shares common ground with Animal Collective and The Dillinger Escape Plan. OK, maybe there's a beard or two present in each band, but that's not it. The name Alan Douches might incite a giggle or two, but his work as audio engineer connects the aforementioned groups, and is responsible for many a favorite record. Quaere Verum takes an experimental approach to metal and its sub-genres, invoking a sound that begs for focus. Douches was called on to master Quaere Verum's upcoming album, Ingress.
"One thing that was important to me was that this album had dynamics, that it wasn't as loud as possible for the entire duration. I was afraid that in the hands of the wrong mastering engineer, all that would be squashed into a wall of loudness," says drummer and founding member Galen McGreehan.
Ingress marks a milestone for Quaere Verum. Although the group released a three song demo nearly two years ago, the upcoming record will be Quaere Verum's first major release in any format. Grab the new album and catch Quaere Verum live Friday, September 27 at The Mad Magician (5625 Manchester Avenue).
Waiting to record takes focus and vision. For most bands who bear the "progressive" sound, concept albums are a common trend. With Ingress, Quaere Verum takes a looser approach to convey its message.
"We didn't write Ingress as a concept album, but as it came together in the studio, I started to see it as more of a cohesive piece. I tried to make it come across as a single piece rather than a collection of songs. If there is a common theme in our music, it is to question things and make up your own mind. Don't simply let the news you watch, the radio you hear or the websites you frequent make your opinions for you. Be critical," McGreehan says.
From sharing stages with bands like Dysrythmia and Everything Went Black to opening the Summer Slaughter tour in Minneapolis, Quaere Verum's scope as a band extends beyond the album. In the interim between the record's conception and release, the group worked out several new songs which may see an EP sooner than later. The next goal though, is to hit the road hard. "This album has been our primary focus for a long time. Now that it's done, our goal is to get out of town as much as possible," McGreehan says.
We invited Drummer Galen McGreehan to fill in the blanks ahead of Quaere Verum's album release show on September 27. Read on as McGreenhan muses on inspiration, St. Louis music and post-show snacking.
I make music because... I hear ideas in my head a lot and I want to make them into songs. Sometimes it's stuff I think about during the day, other times I'll hear just a riff and want to build it into something bigger. When Eric or Justin or D plays something that I feel, it just becomes infectious, I want to write and write until it turns into the best thing I've ever made. And then when that's written and we can play it, I want to write something even better and push us more and create something new and try to outdo that song. At the end of the day, playing music makes everything else in life easier to deal with. Going to practice and writing new material and playing shows makes life outside of music tolerable.
The most difficult lesson I've learned while playing music is... no one else will ever work harder than you will. And cymbals are expensive.
I'm most inspired by... Stravinsky, the bugs on my wall, Daniel Bryan and my mom.
Some of my favorite local bands are... The Gorge. Anybody that loves homegrown music has to be excited about what those guys are capable of. The Vanguard Party. They are like the UFOs of the St. Louis music scene, nobody is sure if they actually exist and then they pop their heads up, play a show and blow everyone's minds and then disappear again without a trace. Can I mention bands that aren't around anymore? Lye by Mistake. They are STILL light years beyond the curve in so many ways. The Goddamn Rodeo. Any time I think life is beautiful and what a wonderful world we live in, I listen to the couple of crappy mp3s I have of that band and I want to go on ultimate thunderdome in terms of enrampagement mode. I once got kicked out of an apartment because I was listening to Whiskey Mountain on full blast at 4 a.m. True story.
What I like most about St. Louis is... the food on South Grand. I am a borderline curry addict because of King and I. Dont even ask me how many kinds of curry paste I have sitting in my fridge right now.
The St. Louis music scene could use... more people that realize how amazing the St. Louis music scene is. There is so much talent in the metal scene right now and people just don't seem to realize it. Everything Went Black. The Lions Daugher. Jack Buck. My Name is a Weapon. Bastard. Nolia. Exempt. Alan Smithee. Inimical Drive. Sine Nomine. Crush it to Death. As Earth Shatters. Final Drive. Blackfast. Casino. Heavy Arms. Icon and Anchor. A Dark Orbit. Every single one of these bands is doing something different. Everyone is forging their own path, these are talented musicians and if you like metal and you want to support local music, go see these bands.
The best post-show food in St. Louis is... a couple tall boys from the Shell at Arsenal and 55 to wash down two tacos and a breakfast jack from the Bates and Grand Jack in the Crack. If I had money to spend on anything but cymbals it would be a slider from Courtesy Diner.
Click through for details and more on Quaere Verum's album release show for Ingress. Quaere Verum Album Release Show Friday, September 27, 7 p.m. w/ The Gorge, A Dark Orbit, Exempt, Nolia @ The Mad Magician - $8, 21+
Follow Quaere Verum via its Facebook page.
Do you know a project or band that should be considered for this series? Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously from our Fill in the Blank series: - Mastermind Einstein - Sarah Bollinger - Little Big Bangs - Everything Went Black - Lions Eat Grass - Kevin Harris - Laika - Heavy Horse - Barely Free Partial Prisoners - The Defeated County - Lizzie Weber - Kenshiro's - B.E.L.L.A. - Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship - Humdrum - The Blind Eyes