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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Southern-influenced band visits campus in Lunchbox Series

Northern Quarters

The Battalion Life & Arts Editor Katie Canales spoke with Northern Quarters acoustic guitarist Bryan Blaylock about the band’s Americana sound. Northern Quarters played at noon on Thursday in Rudder Plaza in MSC Town Hall’s Lunchbox Series.

THE BATTALION: What kind of music, genre, artist or otherwise, has inspired you or influenced you in any way?
Blaylock: It’s taken a while to figure out how we could associate ourselves with a genre and I guess we kind of came to a conclusion that it’s kind of Americana and roots-based. I hate to say it’s country because it’s definitely not influenced by country music, Texas country musicians for sure, but more Western country I guess. And as far as this band is concerned with the record that we made, we had a lot of influence from Nick Drake, as well as The Band.
THE BATTALION:I read that you all formed the band while on the road. How did that work?
Blaylock: When I was still in Georgia with one of the band members, Thomas who was out there as well, one of the other band members, Pierce, he was living in Austin at the time, he came over to georgia and we kind of had the idea that we were going to put a record together, a collection of demos, and arrange it and figure out how to record ut. And the we basically hit the road and went to Nashville and played a couple of shows with the tunes that we had put together and then went up to Minnesota to my family lake house and kind of spent a week putting the record together and arranging it and finishing up some writing. And then we went back down to atlanta to the studio 800 East and recorded the record. And we didn’t really have the name of the band at the time and so it was very interesting. We basically made the record and figured out the sound that we wanted and we listened to all the tunes and we came up with the name. After we did the record we all came back to we drove to austin and did a little texas tour and we came up with the name Northern Quarters. So I guess that’s how we were born on the road. We were literally driving as we came up with the name and we spent so much time on the road putting the record together and recording it. And the coming to Texas to tour. Basically after we did that when we got to Texas, I was moving to Austin already ,we decided to make Austin our home base as far as the band is concerned and to build the fan base and following around Texas. Through all of this moving around and stuff is what gave birth to the name of the record coming out, Transient Time, as well. We all felt like we were transient moving from city to city with different stuff playing, recording and writing.
THE BATTALION: Which band member plays what and what does each bring to the band as a whole?
Blaylock: Right now, as a live band, we have a four-piece here in Austin which is me playing the acoustic guitar singing and harmonica, Pierce, the other third, he plays lead guitar and sings as well and then we have a bass and drums and typically we had keyboard but Thomas, the other core member of the band when we formed, it he’s still in Atlanta. He’s still able to come out to play a few shows with us but we’ve got another keyboard player that we’re playing with here in town. And so basically form the band’s perspective of writing and making all the decisions with the band are me and Pierce and Thomas. So it’s been an interesting dynamic working with Thomas out in Atlanta and Pierce and I be here in Austin, but it’s been good though.
THE BATTALION: Are you all working on trying to broaden the scope of the band?
Blaylock: Right now we’ve got a handful of shows coming up in Austin in May and June. We’re releasing our record, the debut record Transient Time, on May 1. We’re having a release party at the Blackheart here and we’ll be releasing it digitally on May 5th next Tuesday on itunes, Spotify, all those digital mediums. And then we’re definitely planning on hitting the road and playing more shows around Texas and the regional area but I definitely have a southeastern tour in the starts for the fall. Already kind of talking to other artists to get stuff in place.
THE BATTALION: When did you write your debut album?
Blayblock: I had some tunes kind of already roughly written and pierce had a couple tunes that were roughly written and basically we got together with the demos of these tunes and just worked them out and finished writing when we were on the road to Minnesota and Atlanta. That was in July of 2013. So it’s been a while to kind of put things together. My buddy who lives in nashville who engineered the record with us and produced it with us in the studio,we did everything ourselves. He lived in Nashville so he was mixing everything in Nashville, so it just took a while, everybody had something going on and to get everything in place took a little longer than we expected.
THE BATTALION: What can students expect from your music?
Blayblock: We stress importance on our songs and the foundation of the songs and so we have our structure and the lyrics are the most important things we think of with what we write and record and put out there. What we have is harmonies with Pierce and I. Just melodic and meaningful lyrics but simple. Nothing too complex. Something you can stop and listen to and hear and tie some sort of relation to it. It’s meant to be experienced and appreciated by people from all walks of life, it’s not really specific to one person. We try to grab your attention with some strong lyrics and harmonies as well as keep you with some hooks and melodies that can be compelling if you want them to but are also catchy and light and make you want to tap your foot.

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