Fourth Quartet appear to have come out of nowhere, and in less than a year have become one of the finest bands in the Guildford area. The fragile lo-fi of their debut single and mini-album, released on Words and Works Rejected, have been highly praised in the national press and this fanzine, and just before I printed out this issue the band answered a few questions.
How did you form and who are your influences?
JOHN: Noah and I began to play and write with a drum machine when I took my first teaching job at France Hill a few years back. We've been with Ben as a three piece for about a year. My influences include anyone with mad bass-guitar bass interplay, bands like Fugazi and NoMeansNo. And rock music.
Are you happy with the way your record, 'They Built Ships That Sank', sounds?
NOAH: Yes, considering the constraints of studio time and perhaps the fact that we mixed it the day after it was recorded. The four track stuff has come out very well, particularly 'Rockets' which was a piece of improvisation by Ben and I, hence no effort was made on the sound of our guitars.
BEN: Could be better produced, but that's probably always the case.
The record was beautifully packaged. Was that important?
NOAH: As consumers, the packaging of records is always an incentive. It's just nice to have something aesthetically pleasing as well as (hopefully) sonically.
BEN: The individuality makes it feel more of an object than a product; absolute shitter to make by hand though.
Were you surprised by the KKKK Kerrang! Review? Do you consider yourself 'heavy metal'?
JOHN: Yes, I was surprised. What has been difficult is recreating the KKKK review with our bodies. We are now considering becoming a four piece in order to perform it on stage.
BEN: No. Metallers can smell quality at twenty paces. The surprise was being reviewed by the in the first place.
NOAH: I was not surprised. They're making an effort to be more open minded towards different stuff. What is good about it is that they are honest, not let by scenes like the NME. I'm not sure I can consider us heavy metal though.
How do people usually react to you live?
BEN: Usually with a mixture of suspicion and dread.
NOAH: Talk the fuck through the quiet bits. When we played the Bassment Club people were fully falling asleep - that was great.
What do you think of other bands on the Guildford scene?
NOAH: I don't really know any local bands. Punk-pop and metal is not a favourite of the Words and Works massive. Kilter would have to be the best band, but remember, kids, you've got the be careful with them because they're obviously goths.
BEN: I'm not too familiar with the locals, sorry. Because of their overwhelming gothness I too would have to say Kilter, as I love bats and vampires almost as much as them.
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
JOHN: Develop the label; look out for releases by Freeway, Diabologum, Rothko and more Quartet stuff, probably an album.
BEN: A look of near permanent bemusement, some even slower music, ideally.
Travis Cut Interview
Issue 3 Contents
Issue 3 Easter '99 © Tim Bragger