Header photo by: Jeremy Mercado (IG: @miles_on_davis)
You guys grew up together in Kansas City, what caused the transition to Chicago?
Quinn Cochran – We didn’t actually meet until high school. As soon as we graduated we both decided to go to college in Chicago. After a brief time in college, Quinn Barlow decided to go back home to Kansas City. When I finished my first year of college, we started to make music and bounce around ideas until Quinn (Barlow) decided to move back to Chicago.
When moving to Chicago, who were the first artists that you guys started working with?
Jaro. Banks The Genius. Appleby. Elias Abid. Jabril Power. Cae Jones.
When did you guys start really finding your chemistry together? Or do you think it was something you guys had since the beginning?
Quinn Barlow – We started off as friends in high school, but like Quinn (Cochran) said, when we reconnected after his freshman year of college we made a makeshift studio in his dad’s warehouse. During that time, we would be in the studio all day/night and that summer we became very close. That was a good pretense for our music relationship. When we both were located in Chicago, we just kept things running. It was like we picked up right where we left off. We had all that practice, bouncing off ideas each other, so the communication came very easily.
Quinn Cochran – It definitely helps to just be friends with somebody first. Senior year of high school he was one of my best friends. We had that relationship already and we figured we would be always hanging out, so we might as well work together.
As you look back on the first years in Chicago, what do you think was that first song you guys put out that had you bubbling around Chicago?
Quinn Cochran – Our first big moment was when we connected with Appleby. We learned a lot from watching Elias and Appleby work. Appleby put us on his first project called Down Dance. The song was called “Random Love.” Appleby had a lot of attention already and he really helped us out with that feature. Then we put out our first EP Duality and “Ferns” was our first song to pop off on Soundcloud. That felt really good and it gave us a lot of direction.
With only 11 songs on your Soundcloud, with a few other older songs on your band camp, do you ever feel the pressure to release music to stay relevant in this day and age? Or are you perfectly okay with the way you guys release music?
Quinn Barlow – We are a little slow.
Quinn Cochran – For me, it’s a constant battle between “oh my god we have to get music out so people don’t forget about us” and then the other side of me is like “alright, I want to feel 100% sure that this is worth releasing.” We are careful with what we put out. Quinn (Barlow) and I will make 30 songs before we are even ready to release one. Most of the songs get lost because they only had one verse and we weren’t inspired by them anymore. But you know, that’s just perfectionism. It hinders us in ways, but I think it’s just a matter of time before we really hone in.
Quinn Barlow – I think it’s important to experiment with a bunch of ideas before you know what direction you want to go in.
Quinn Cochran – And that’s what we’ve done for years. Experiment. Mesh different shit together. We put things together that make sense, but shouldn’t make sense.
With being perfectionists then, when do you know the right time to release a song?
Quinn Barlow – It’s usually to the point where we’ve listened to the song and made so many changes/improvements we get sick of hearing it. Lets just put it out.
Quinn Cochran – Putting it out gives us that refreshed feeling. It’s new again. I’m trying to hear it through the lens of the listeners. I’ve listened to it critically hundreds of times. Once it’s out, I can finally listen to it as one piece, rather than a million different parts. I love that feeling.
Quinn Barlow – It really helps when you are not listening to a song with the project file right in front of you. Because you can literally see every part of the song. When you can pull it up on a platform like Spotify and just not think about it, it’s a great feeling.
This past fall you guys went on your first national tour with Xavier Omär. How did you guys connect with Xavier Omär?
We signed to MOON Management in October. Mike Luna, who manages us, also manages Xavier. That was a little natural connection. Xavier then heard a couple of our songs, liked them, and we made that personal connection.
What was your favorite show of the tour?
We would have to say LA at the El Rey Theatre. It was one of the bigger shows of the tour. Capacity was like 750. The energy in that room was amazing. Most of the people had never heard of us before, but people responded with amazing energy. Another favorite was in Dallas. A couple of family members came to the show and supported. That was super dope for us.
I recently did an interview with Jaro, and these are his exact words. “Quinn Cochran is easily the most talented musician that I know. His musical knowledge is nuts. He can pick up any instrument and go crazy on it. Quinn Barlow… I don’t know anybody that writes better than him”. When you hear those words, how does that feel?
Quinn Barlow – It makes me feel good. Jaro is the homie. The feeling is reciprocated. Jaro is a crazy talent himself. I don’t know, it just feels good when people you fuck with, fuck with you.
Quinn Cochran – It’s awesome that he said that. But you know in sessions we’ve made shit before and he was like, “I don’t know if that’s it.” He’s not always going to gas us up all of the time. And that’s important. His words though mean the world to me.
A few days ago you put out a new song “Your Nature”
Quinn Barlow – We have been working on this song for a really long time. This song has seen like 12 different forms. It’s time for it to come out though. We’re proud of it. We got it mixed and mastered with Banks the Genius. I’m excited for people to hear it. It’s a new direction for us, but it feels familiar at the same time.
2017 you went on your first tour, 2018 you’ve had a song already in a TV show, what are a few things you want to accomplish by the end of the year?
Quinn Barlow – It would be dope to go our own regional tour or jump on someone else’s tour. I’d love to play a headlining show in a city besides Chicago. I also want to start getting some visuals for some of the songs we’ve released as well.
Quinn Cochran – I want to release a lot more music. We have a lot planned for the next couple of months. Hopefully another project before Fall. Another thing, not necessarily a goal, but something I’m looking forward to is our first headlining show in Chicago at Schubas on April 16th. Everyone on stage that night is who we hang out all the time. They are our best friends.
5 for 5 Favorites
Favorite song you’ve ever released?
Quinn Barlow – I’d say “Lemonade.” “Ashes” is another good one.
Quinn Cochran – I’d say “Ashes.” “Lemonade” is my favorite song to perform. We always close with that song and the energy is always so high.
Favorite artist in Chicago?
Quinn Barlow – Appleby and Elias. I’m really excited for people to listen to their new stuff. Chance was a huge inspiration for me getting started with music. Ravyn Lenae, Monte, Smino, Qari, Jaro… There are so many talented artists here.
Quinn Cochran – Appleby and Elias. Someone who I think needs more attention is Sen Morimoto. He is amazing. Incredible on the sax and a great producer. He also is one of the nicest people. Solo Sam. Banks the Genius. Jaro. Ajani Jones. Anna Agosta.
Favorite artist to collaborate with in Chicago?
Quinn Cochran – *Laughs* Probably Quinn (Barlow). We work in a way that is pretty hard to collaborate with.
Quinn Barlow – It’s even hard to collaborate with each other sometimes. I would love to collab with Ravyn Lenae at some point though.
Quinn Cochran – When I collaborate with people I’m mainly a producer or I’ll play guitar on someone else’s track. There’s not many people I feel comfortable working on music with. More than anything, I’m just trying to work with people I’m friends with.
Favorite lyric of yours
Quinn Cochran – One of my favorite verses I’ve ever written is from our song called “Smoke.” The metaphor throughout the song is that smoke fills whatever space its in. I compare that to the free spirit of a person. Wanting to get out of the comfort zone and go figure things out. In my verse, I talk a lot about what’s really important in life and whether you should worry about death or real answers. At the end of the day, it all comes down to acceptance. You can’t control everything.
Quinn Barlow – “Hey let’s just lie on our backs, let’s just look up at the fan” – from our song “Ashes.” It’s a simple line and simple idea, but I was really proud of it. Everyone has had a situation where they’ve been lying on their back, looking up at the ceiling fan, just absolutely lost in thought. To me it’s a really connecting sentiment.
Favorite lesson you guys have learned as a band/group over the years
Quinn Cochran – Mental health is the key to everything. Sometimes it’s damn near impossible to feel good about yourself, but If you can get there and feel comfortable in your own skin, you’ll be so surprised by the things you can accomplish. I think at the end of the day, the biggest limitation will be myself. If I can find it within myself to get off my ass and work, shit will happen. But sometimes I just need that time to summon the energy again, and it’s important to know that that’s okay.
Quinn Barlow – To add to that. I’d say it’s important to be patient with yourself and your growth. And that it’s okay to not feel okay all the time. Practice self love. Surround yourself with genuine people. Work on things that make you feel good.
Quinn Cochran – I also think it’s about figuring out how to be able to channel those emotions into something productive instead of letting it hold you back. I’ll have sessions sometimes where I don’t feel 100% and I give up. But I think if you can figure out how to feel shitty and then eloquently put it into a song, it could be very beneficial. You’ll instantly feel better because you verbalized those emotions and you made them into a tangible thing.