Quickbeam are a six piece acoustic/atmospheric band based in Glasgow Scotland. They were formed in 2009 by Monika Gromek, she was later joined by Andrew Thomson after discovering a mutual kinship and love for sparse arranagements. The band has since grown to six members.
My first introduction to their music was their debut music video for Seven Hundred Birds which was made by BAFTA short film nominated director Mat Sheldon (Crush Film) and Director of Photography Iain Struthers. The combination of their music with the Cumbrian scenery in this video is breathtaking. There is a fragilty to their music that is magnified in Monika’s singing, it’s as if they are holding onto a moment that they don’t want to lose, any sudden movement and it is lost. On Seven Hundred Birds that moment is recalled as a memory of a first meeting during which a grand visual display takes place: seven hundred birds taking flight… “a painting escaping its frame”.
The vison behind their music is so intense and emotional, it lies somewhere between serenity and lamentation, it calls to mind those fleeting moments we sometimes experience where we project our inner feelings onto a brief vision of nature’s beauty…we link those memories and remember them for the rest of our lives, they never lose their potency, Quickbeam’s music has a similar endurance.
I asked Andrew about the use of the harmonium which takes on an intense presence in their music despite its subtle plaintive notes. “The Harmonium has definitely become a central theme for our sound. It just has so much character and produces a really individual, distinctive tone. Its something that you dont get from electric organs and synths and it seemes to fit in with what we are trying to do.”
Over time they began to expand their sound with the addition of different instruments. The need to grow then became essential as Andrew explained “The band evolving from two members to six was probably inevitable, it was always our plan to have a full warm sound. Monika and I wrote and played live together for a couple of years. We’d try and play a load of instruments at our shows, it was getting too much! Nichola joined us playing Viola and luckily she could sing and play guitar too. We managed to swap around instruments at shows with each of us playing different instruments on most songs, I’d sit playing guitar hitting a bass drum in front of me most of the time. There are obvious limitations with that kind of set up, so from that, and through recording we started adding to the band again. I think we’re finished at six though, we’ve got everything covered now.”
Quickbeam: Folk Radio UK Session
As you can probably tell, I was completely overwhelmed by their music so we asked them to record a session for us which they very kindly agreed to do:
2. Yours Were The Waves
4. Seven Hundred Birds
5. The Great Expanse
Seven Hundred Birds EP:
Seven Hundred Birds is released on Comets & Cartwheels, a new and exciting Scottish record label project for 2012, focusing around the digital and physical release of singles, EPs and albums primarily within the indie/folk vein (and with a view to mirroring some of the aesthetics and success of such admired labels as Drag City, Bella Union, Olive Grove Records, Sub Pop and Fence Records).