Quicksand’s Walter Schreifels: Music Helps Remind Us to Stay Connected With Each Other
Quicksand's Walter Schreifels was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show, with the musician speaking about the band's first new music in three years via the song "Inversion."
Schreifels discusses the song's themes of being disconnected and how it plays into today's culture on a multiple levels. He also speaks about his own reconnection with Quicksand and the approach to new music after an extended period apart. Plus, the musician discusses how New York has influenced him over the years. Check out the chat in full below:
Walter, great to have you on the show. I want to talk to you about the new song "Inversion." It's the first new material from Quicksand in three years and it's about the dichotomy of being isolated, despite constant connection through technology. What makes music particularly suited to bridge that disconnect of humanity?
I think music just has that kind of ability to branch over those feelings. I think people are feeling obviously with COVID like physically isolated, but I think people in general, even before COVID, are just feeling isolated despite the fact that there's so many forms of connection, I think there's an opposite force that kind of freaks people out. So I don't know if the song is like a diagnosis for that, but those are the kinds of things I was thinking about.
It kind of started with the idea of people on the other side of the world and what is their reality. Here in the United States, we're a rich country. Things are working out for us, but the actions that we affect here can hit other people in all these kind of awful ways that we're just so disconnected from. But then again, the person sitting next to you is just as disconnected, even within their family sitting at the dinner table looking at their phones. It's just the reality of our world and I think music has a certain magical power to bring people together.
I don't know that it's gonna solve the world's problems, but it's at least a good medium to hopefully remind each other that it's important for us to be connected to each other.
What does the release of that song signify about the possibility and progress of more new music?
We had made a new record after many, many years, and that took some doing to kind of find our flow as people and as musicians and all that. But having done that, this record was a little bit more focused and we kind of had more of an idea of what was the next step. We kind of simplified things in a lot of ways and I feel like we're into more simple arrangements and trying make that direct connection and also kind of playing to the heaviness of the band, which is fun. So we're really, really happy about it.
The last Quicksand album and EP followed a lengthy hiatus from recording together. What effect has reconnecting in the studio for those releases had on the process of creating new music now?
I think it kinda got us back into our groove from not having made a record in so long. Trying to get back to it and have that make sense with such a long gap was the challenge, but rather than really trying to hit some certain target, we just went with the philosophy that let's make something that we really like. And if we're backing it, then that's going to be our way.
We've always had that chemistry, but now we're focusing a little bit more and playing off more recent work is fun. It's kind of like the fruits of that labor. We're just really psyched to have this new song and to be moving forward, finding new ways to explore our interest in music. That's just kind of where we're at.
Walter, throughout your life, you've continually learned and grown at the craft of making music. How is growth best applied to the sound of a long established band, such as Quicksand?
I think when we started the band, we were all in this kind of hardcore punk thing and there's a bit of a formula to that and an expectation. We embraced that for a while, but when we did Quicksand, we really wanted to kind of branch out and take the risks that I think you have to take to feel the reward of just creating something new that people haven't heard or that's within you that you need to get outside of you. That is just really the part of music that I enjoy the most is just being able to manifest something outside of you that is a sort of itch in your imagination and to have other people that feel the same way. And to create that all together is really just, I love doing it. That's the journey.
Walter, New York city is a cultural epicenter of the world and also for your own life. What would have been difficult about your music without the influence of New York?
Well, New York is just so amazingly diverse and it's unique in the United States and in the world for sure. You're just so exposed and it's just normal to be around so many different cultures and points of view. You're just kind of taking it all in every day on the subway, walking through the park, walking down the streets, you can feel that history, you can feel the tension and you can see how beautiful it is.
I think that the nature of New York is so unique compared to the rest of the country, that you can't help but let it effect you. I always feel like it's sort of a challenge as a band from New York because the rest of the country isn't really like it. We're not driving and we're not a driving culture, so we're not like driving around listening to the radio. So I think the coolness of New York and its uniqueness has something to do with that.
But it also can be a challenge, you know? That's the thing about New York, it is a challenge, but it'll bring the best out in you to take on those challenges. There's like the song about somehow making it there or making it anywhere, something like that, but it definitely infects our music and I still love New York.
Thanks to Quicksand's Walter Schreifels for the interview. The new song "Inversion" is available here and you can keep up with Quicksand via their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.