Aylesbury-helmed singer-songwriter Quarry is breathing life back into mellow pop.
Quarry – a typically a large, deep pit, from which stone or other materials are extracted. The word conjures up images of blast furnaces, stone greys and eroded rocks, hardly the most appealing name for an up-and-coming musical prodigy, but in actual fact, the Aylesbury-hailing artist is breathing a neon-tinged life into these sandstone associations.
The Epic Records artist as been a Wonderland favourite for some time now, and why wouldn’t he be? His sultry, slow-burning singles are the perfect antidote for a broken heart or even just a bad mood. With tinkly pianos, soft rhythms and immensely powerful vocal chops, Quarry is a musical tour-de-force.
The singer-songwriter has been hard at work over the past year, releasing his debut EP Q1 and a host of other genre-defying singles. Whether it be the wistfully detached “Angels & Kings”, or the Harry Styles-channelling “Your Brain Or Body”, Quarry has been making huge strides with each release, including today’s dreamy new head-bopper “Time’s Up”.
We caught up with the musical talent below to unpack these new tunes a little further, speaking about upcoming mixtapes and the inspiration behind his ethereal music vids. Here’s the scoop…
Hi Ash, how has lockdown treated you? Has it changed your outlook on your music or creativity?
Lockdown’s been a bit of everything really, but it hasn’t changed much creatively. It’s definitely made it more difficult to find inspiration and connect with people, but I still get excited…
How did growing up in a small village on the outskirts of Tring influence you sonically?
In some ways, it hasn’t influenced me at all! I think a big part of wanting to be an artist is looking into the distance and wondering what might be possible. Having said that though, there’s no doubt growing up in a small village did push me towards that thing in the distance with a bit more force… It at least gave me this sense that all you needed to succeed was to see the world differently from other people.
Who did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to a lot of different artists, but I wouldn’t say any of them are particular sonic influences… I’ve always been more influenced by the people I don’t like than the people I do. Learning what not to do as a way of working out what I did want to do, so I’ve always found it difficult to point to particular artists as being influential.
And how did you come up with the name Quarry?
I used to work as a cleaner at a sand quarry… Not exactly living the dream, but it’s where I wanted to be – doing a job that gave me enough money to live on and still had me enough free time to keep making music.
You’ve said before your music is all about capturing the everyday moments – where would you say you pull most of your lyrical influences from?
Everyday moments of magic. The feeling of wonder you experience as a kid that gets harder and harder to tap into the more life becomes ordinary and boring to you. But it’s people that influence my lyrics more than anything else… People and a feeling.
Congratulations on “Angels and Kings” – it was really beautiful and haunting – how did it differ from what you’ve put out there before?
“Angels & Kings” was the first song I wrote that really felt like a piece of me… I’m proud of everything I’ve put out, but this one hit particularly close to home. It’s definitely the most downtempo song I’ve released to date as well, which I don’t think some people were expecting. That’s just the type of song it is though, and because of that I didn’t feel like it needed as much production as some of the others – I think it actually benefits from being a bit more stripped.
Aside from that, what made this release special is that It was my first since signing with Sony Music! Big love to everyone on my team. They’re some of the real ones and I’m seriously lucky to have a group of people backing me that genuinely care about the artistry as much as I do.
And the music video was really gorgeous and ethereal – what did you want to convey?
A sense of separation and togetherness. A happiness at being so close to someone and wanting to know everything about them, but a sadness at the distance that still lies between you.
And you’ve said it’s about meeting someone that changes your world – was it based on any one experience in particular?
One experience is never just one experience. It’s the thoughts after. The worries. The anticipation before…
It’s looking back as history repeats itself and wondering why nothing’s changed. It’s sabotaging yourself because you’re scared of making the same mistakes again… Life is never a set of isolated experiences, and my songs come from the place where they all join together.
Have you always used your music as a way of conveying your emotions/vulnerability?
I’ve never had a problem with expressing who I am. Talking to people directly about how I feel has always been a more obvious way of conveying my emotions than through music. But music can reach people on a different level – and it can say things that can’t be said any other way. It moves me… Maybe it’s inside us all, that need to reach out and connect with other people. But it’s why I’ll never stop making things.
And you have a mixtape coming this year – what can you tell us about it?
It’s the most important thing I’ve made so far… It’s a collection of songs that all mean something to me, and they all belong to different parts of myself… It’s all real, and I hope it makes people feel something when they hear it.
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
I want them to feel like they know me.
What’s next for you? What are you excited about in 2020?
The mixtape is a big one, but I’ve got plenty of other plans too! Keep an eye out @quarrywastaken if you want to play a part… Speak soon x