QUOR – InterviewBy William Simpson • Sep 17th, 2015 • Category: Artist Interviews
Interview by William Simpson
Brian Corn, Doug Smith, and John Michael Cordes make up the powerful and tenacious three piece metal band QUOR based in San Diego, California. What? You have never heard of QUOR! Don’t worry you will hear of them soon. They are hitting the metal scene by storm and vocalist/guitarist Corn is as funny as he is talented. StageShottz Magazine talked to Brian and Doug over a three pack of Coors Light and discussed their music, preference of a three member band, and this journalist joining the band on stage the next time they are in Nashville donning the music instrument of the chainsaw.
Brian Corn: I spent about a month in Nashville one time. You have a bar there called The Wildhorse Saloon and everybody had the real nice polo shirts and I wanted me one of them. It was my first night in Nashville and I said we are going to sit here and drink all of these $5 pitchers and I’m going to get up in the morning because I’m going to be here for a month and I’m going to come in when you guys get in to work tomorrow and I’m going to apply for a job. I’m going to get one of those shirts and as soon as I get one of those shirts I’m gonna quit. So we laughed about it. I showed up at 9am after I don’t know how many pitchers and the interview said have you ever been a waiter and I said nope, then he said have you been in the food business, well I said I worked at Burger King for a little while but nope. He said well OK well give you a job so I said when do I get the shirts, so I got three polo shirts that day and I still have two of them in my closet right now. I worked for about a week and I got all access to the shows and it got me food. When I was a waiter there I would hide in the kitchen when I was supposed to got out to wait my tables and stand by where the elevator was and just tell people jokes and hope that I didn’t have to go in there and do stuff. Sure as shit I got my polo shirts and I worked for at least a week longer than I expected, I had a lot of jokes to tell. I actually had to go down to the county and apply for a license to be able to sell liquor there and I still have my Tennessee liquor selling card. I’m a card carrying member, man. Next time I go to the Wildhorse I’ll be on stage playing. Doug is banging on my door with a three pack of Coors Light. We have one for you but we’ll have to drink it for you.
StageShottz Magazine: For those fan that have not heard of QUOR, tell me a little about the band.
Brian Corn: Well we’re a three piece and we started with Doug and I a couple of years ago. We came from another project and we were still buddies and we went out and watched a big show, it was the Mayhem Fest or something. We were sitting there in the middle of someone’s set drinking Coors, just like we are doing right now on this wonderful Friday. We said dammit let’s play some more music together so we started an acoustic project the next day. In the beginning we were going to play acoustic shows, which is ironic because we still do acoustic shows in a very metal project. It’s kinda cool.
SSM: So you have a very unique name, how did that come about?
BC: I was driving down the PCH, the Pacific Coast Highway here in California on night and we went to see a comedy show up north and was driving back to San Diego. On the PCH by the ocean there’s a particular type of fog that occurs. So foggy night driving down the highway and there was a liquor store with a bright yellow sign and the L and the I was knocked out and it just said QUOR so we had to stop and I took this beautiful picture of the sign. The band was called “We Are Going To Be Awesome” for a little while so we changed the name to QUOR after that. So we named the record “We Are Going To be Awesome”. It seemed like a pretty good idad at the time. There are so many rock bands with the three name kinda thing. Just throw some evil shit together on three words and you have the band name and to was starting to drive us kinda crazy. Also ironically everyone’s trying to put music into a box and I feel like those boxes are “cores” because you’ve got hardcore, metalcore, deathcore, all these cores. So when we saw that sign QUOR it was a different way to core. That’s our “Fuck you” to all those people trying to put you in a box because that not what writing music is about. Especially it not what writing rock or metal or punk or thrash is about.
SSM: So your album is coming out September 12, called “Human Paradigm”, I read you guys camped out in the studio work on the title track, how was that experience?
Doug Smith: Awesome. It was probably one of the most awesome recording experiences we have had so far.
BC: You know, it usually takes a long time to make a good record or a good song. On just one song it could take months. We had an opportunity to go up to LA and record for a weekend so we said let’s not try to cram a bunch in, let work on one song over three days. So we went up to LA on a Friday through Sunday Dan Whitmore was the engineer and I think he owns the studio up there and he said why don’t you guys come up and you can camp out in my studio and try to get this done in a weekend. So we took him literally and we took all of our tents, sleeping bags, and marshmallows. We brought a buddy of our up that is a really good guitar player and some Jack Daniels and we had an ice chest with our beers. The guy that we brought to play guitar, I was watching him and we had our phone playing through a speaker because we couldn’t figure out how to plug it into the board. Dan let us have full access to his studio; it was really nice of him. We turned the little speaker up really loud and he was rocking out to some Overkill and he rocked so hard he just fell back and knocked himself out. He woke up the next morning asking what had happened. That’s how we did that song. We completed pretty much all of it. There were a couple of final mixing touches that occurred after Sunday.
SSM: So you mentioned you are a three piece, do you find it easier to produce the music you want to produce than the traditional 4 or 5 piece band?
BC: Man, that’s a good question because we just came out of a larger piece before.
DS: It has its pluses and its minuses. The good thing about being a three piece is there’s less personalities. Everybody gets a little bit more creative control. There’s only so much creation you can do to create one song and everyone gets more of the pie to insert their input and their ideas. Some of the bad things about being a three piece is Brian has double duty being responsible for the lyrics and the guitar playing and having to mash them together. The fingers and the brain has got to be able to work together. We all like being in a three piece more than being in a four piece any day of the week.
BC: When Doug and I started playing music we started with just the two of us record and it wasn’t even about playing a style of music, we just said let’s play some music. Then it got better and we said lets add one more member, a drummer and we started doing rock and roll because that’s what we like. If you are going to get out on the road and play music you have to keep your circle pretty tight so we have kept it tight.
William, you can join our band any time you want and I don’t give a shit what instrument you play (laughs). I have a tambourine I’m looking at right now, a pink guitar a couple of harmonicas. I’m even looking at a ninja sword right now; you wanna play the ninja sword?
SSM: I may honor Jesse James Dupree and I may crank up a little chainsaw.
BC: From now on, William, you are the fourth member of QUOR and you are the chainsaw player (laughs). That would be epic.
SSM: What was the moment in your life that you knew this was the path you had to follow?
DS: You know man, I’ve been actively playing shows for 10 years, recorded a few albums, hang on I need another beer. We’re gonna have you beer now. Everyone that plays in a band wants to make money with your band and spread your music and everyone has their reason for wanting to do something like this. It’s pretty crazy but for me personally I’d say within the last two to three years we have all getting on the same plain and we are riding the same frequency here. I just want to do this for the rest of my like and I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. I’m going to be playing music until they put me in the ground, but I don’t want to go in the ground. Please don’t put me in the ground, send me out in a flaming boat.
BC: Find out where it’s legal and put me on a boat and catch that fucker on fire and send me out to sea. That’s how I want to live my life and that’s how I want to end my time.
I was a teenager when I realized I had a knack for this and I don’t think I understood until now just how my brain works and functions much higher during creative things and music is where it functions the best. I could have any job, making hamburgers or selling real estate but I just function better doing music. All jokes aside, music is hard work it probably the most work I have done in any type of job. But at the same time you have a select few that are cut out for not only creating music but taking it on the road. Doug was in the Navy and he knows what being on the road is all about and deployment is the ultimate being on the road and we have a tight unit and again why we come back to a three piece. We have three guys and a select few that we are on the road with. I think a lot of folks have the creative side of it but they don’t have the ability to be out on the road and take on the rigors of the road or they don’t have the business side. Fortunately for us we’ve really been able to drive in all three of those and I think that hit us in this project at this time in our lives. So we will do this until our bodies are burned in the ocean.
SSM: So while its 10:30 in the morning there and you are drinking on my beer, let me ask you this, if you could sit down with anyone living or dead from any genre of music and pick their brain, who would it be and why?
BC: You know what man, this is going to sound like a crazy answer but I would say my mom’s dad, my grandad. When I started learning how to record and stuff like that a conversation came up and my mom said I have these old records of my dad. He died and I didn’t know the man. He had all these actual records that he had recorded; it was old country like going back to Nashville. My family moved to California from the Tennessee area and Arkansas. While they were migrating here he has the opportunity to be on the radio in Bakersville. My Grandma said oh hell no, we have a family, you have kids to raise and we are moving to Modesto, CA and you are getting a job. Well he never lost that passion and he recorded a lot of his songs and if I could go back and meet someone it would be my grandad because I’ve listened to the records that he had and I went back and actually restored them and that was how I got to know the man. I got to know my grandad through music and through the music that he left and that’s who I would want to meet, man.
SSM: That is really cool.
SSM: So one more question and I’ll let you go and get back to drinking my beer.
BC: Your been got poured into a Chewbacca coffee mug (laughs).
SSM: Is there anything else that you would like the fans to know about you and QUOR?
BC: I love slurpy’s and lottery tickets. Every day I try and go get a slurpy and I have been winning a lot on the lottery, I won $30 yesterday and $5 the day before and I want the fans to know I am really good at drinking slurpy’s and winning on the lottery, Doug I don’t think you can say anything after that (laughs).
DS: Well for the fans, I want to slap all of them high fives, big high fives.
BC: I don’t know how we did this, we didn’t belong on the list, but we got put on a Loudwire most anticipated album release. And we were on a list where the next band up out of thirty bands had like 200,000 fans or something like that and we actually took third in that, we surpassed Slayer. By no means would I insinuate that our records is more anticipated than Slayers but the fact that out of millions of fans that these other bands would have, we had enough people where when another band of that caliber post, “Hey we are on the anticipated album”, they would get thousands of likes or votes but we had a smaller number of fans that would just vote every hour and I have to tell you it was down to the wire at the end of it. It really showed me that we are really fortunate to have friends and family and fans that would do that every hour. It was crazy man. Fans from all over the world came out and said hey we really like what you are doing and we are voting for you. So fans, THANK YOU. That’s what we want to say.