BBC has just revealed its longlist of artists they are tipping for…
music success in 2017. There are notable omissions: one such name is Scott Quinn. With a song like Delicate in the music galaxy – surely that oversight will be rectified very soon. Having (recently) been tipped for success by Billie Marten – who Quinn talks about – there is a lot of excitement around his current moves. Few artists have a voice imbued with such gravitas, velvet and passion – an instrument that resounds and resonates in the soul. A busy and multi-talented Yorkshire songwriter: Quinn’s career trajectory is seeing him rub shoulders alongside some big names. I was excited to find out more: the scene in Yorkshire and (who Quinn) is inspired/moved by; what 2017 holds for him and plans for this Christmas.
Hi Scott. How are you? How has your week been?
Very good thanks. It’s been a crazy few weeks - with the new release - but it’s all been very exciting!
For those unfamiliar with your music: can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Scott Quinn and I am a songwriter/producer. My music is probably best described at Electro.-R&B-Pop.
I wanted to start off and talk about Yorkshire. It is a county with immeasurable musical endeavour - and some of the most innovative artists in the world. Are you surprised Yorkshire does not get more attention as a county?
Yorkshire is definitely a breeding ground for incredible and diverse talent. From alt-J and Soft Cell to Corinne Bailey Rae; Zayn Malik and Kaiser Chiefs - to name some of the larger names.
There’s a huge, bubbling melting pot of talent and I feel our county is a great incubator of new talent. I think more and more eyes and ears are focusing on Yorkshire for amazing new music - and I hope that’ll only increase!
Having reviewed artists all around Yorkshire, it seems like each town/locale has a different flavour. Being Harrogate-based, how would you say it differs to somewhere like, say, Leeds or Bradford?
I would agree that some towns/areas have a different sonic edge to others, but at the same time, I see so many diverse acts coming out from all over Yorkshire. With such easy access to a wide range of genres and styles online these days; it’s easy to see influences from far and wide affecting local music in a great way. Harrogate for a while was very ‘Indie-Pop/Rock’-orientated and I was in such a band called The Dukes of Bevington. More recently though there is a real mix of genres coming out of town: from Folk to Metal and Electro.-Pop.
Before I come to your own music, I know you are one of the co-founders of Little Less Known (a filmmaking collective). How did you get involved with that and how important is filmmaking to you as an artist/musician?
I have a passion for making things: whether that’s composing music, creating furniture from driftwood or building businesses!
Little Less Known was started as a bit of a passion project with two good friends of mine, Ben Richards and Sandy Wright. We started filming short, high-quality videos promoting some of the best independent businesses in our local area and beyond.
Bearing in mind that we’ve never had any real formal training in film etc., it was great to see that people enjoyed our style of shooting and editing. We quickly started receiving commissions for a diverse range of content and are very fortunate to say that we have worked on some great projects for a number of awesome independent businesses and charities - and the odd video for larger companies such as Visa!
For me, as long as I am making something and being creative in doing so, I am happy.
On Twitter, you recently put a shout-out to the people of Leeds and Harrogate to try the STAMP app. – which you co-founded; it urges users to experience their city/town and record their experiences. What has the initial response been like and, again, how did you become involved with something like that?
STAMP is an exciting new tech. start-up that spun off of Little Less Known. We (L.L.K. plus two other talented chaps) are building a discovery app. that will help people find some of the best-hidden gems and revolutionise the way we review and interact with those places. Alpha testing starts next week and once the feedback from that round has been collated and absorbed the Beta should follow not long after! Watch this space.
Delicate is your new song and (in the vocals) I hear embers of James Blake and Anthony Hegarty (Anohni). How did that voice come to be that magic and which singers/artists inspired that?
Well firstly, thank you for the compliment! I’ve always been fairly bold with exploring the higher end of my vocal range (falsetto). I think a lot of guys are pressured to ‘not sing like a girl’ (haha) but I always found it gave me a unique edge in my music and I enjoy challenging myself.
I’m definitely influenced by James Blake: I love his music. I was also recently asked after gig whether I was Sampha (genuinely).
Safe to say I was flattered: I am a huge fan of his also.
The song looks at mortality’s reality and making the most of things – not squandering precious emotions on irrelevancies and negativities. Can you remember the moment Delicate’s spark was lit? Do you think too few musicians concentrate on love/themselves and ignore such important songwriting subjects?
The writing process for Delicate is all a bit of a blur. To be honest, it kind of fell out of my head. It’s one of the first songs I’ve written that I feel completely invested in. The subject matter of ‘working to live, not living to work’ is a huge mantra of mine in my everyday life and it’s been amazing seeing so many other people connecting with the song (one person actually quit their job after listening to the track!?). I think people in general, not just musicians, often neglect themselves and their wellbeing. I recently launched a campaign with Help Musicians U.K. called ‘M.A.D.’ (Music and Depression).
The aim of the campaign is to not only raise awareness for mental health in the music industry but also put our money where our mouth is - actually make positive change within the industry to improve mental well-being and the education around it.
Is Delicate the start of a new E.P. or album perhaps? Can we expect a new Scott Quinn record in 2017?
Delicate is the first of a number of new releases: the next will hopefully be in Jan. of 2017!
I’ve got a bunch of awesome tracks up my sleeve and I’m excited to share them.
I have been working with an incredible producer called Jamie Reddington (Sound of Fractures) who has helped me take my music and sound to the next level. He’s a very talented guy and I am very fortunate to be working with him!
Delicate’s music video is eye-catching and accomplished. You directed it with Jason Odle. Whose concept was it and how long did it take to put the video together?
I got the idea for the video while on the tube in London. Having played with super slo-mo for my previous release (There for You) I thought it would be great to capture all the expressions and emotions of the people I was passing. I started to research the idea and discovered that there was incredible series called Stainless by Adam Magyar had achieved the idea I had but to a much higher standard that I could ever have hoped for.
In the end, we were really pressed for time and with only a few days until deadline Jason (my manager) and I jumped in a van, strapped a super-slo-mo camera into the passenger seat and captured a bunch of footage from around Harrogate, Leeds and Manchester. I then edited the video within a few hours and released it the next morning!
Music is becoming less and less visually-orientated as an art-form. Do you fear, in an age where music videos are essential, a lot of bands/artists are not expending necessary thought and effort? Do you feel music videos are becoming too expensive, perhaps?
I think it is easier than ever to produce a high-quality video - the only thing you need now is an iPhone and a great idea.
I personally feel music videos aren’t as popular as they used to be but I do enjoy a well put together bit of visual content to accompany a kick-ass track.
At the end of the day, though: it’s all about the music.
Are there any artists – either Yorkshire-based or nationally – you recommend we check out and investigate?
I actually run a record label with my manager Jason called Ont’ Sofa Records (you may have heard of our YouTube channel for stripped back, live sessions of up-and-coming artists). We have a small but mighty roster of artists and people we work with. New music coming from these lovely folk in the New Year:
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I ask this of many people but (inconceivably) if you had to take three albums to a desert island with you which would they be and why?
Ooooo; that’s a tough one!
- Stevie Wonder's Greatest Hits
- Fleet Foxes
- James Blake
All artists I love and I think those three albums offer a decent mix of music to listen to ...wait, do I get to take a record player too?! (What is this; Desert Island Discs?! - Sam)
Just recently, Billie Marten – when asked by BBC Music – tipped you as her ‘One to Watch’ in 2017. That is quite an honorific! How did that news make you feel?
I was so touched and chuffed when I saw that Tweet come through.
I have known Billie for a few years now and it’s been incredible to see her career soar!
It’s always great to be recognised for your music but it’s even better when it’s from friends :)
I have reviewed and interviewed Billie this year (and wrote a feature/included her as one of my 'Top Ten Albums of 2016') and was stunned by her debut album, Writing of Blues and Yellows. To me, it is the best album of this year. What are your thoughts on her album and how heartening is it seeing a fellow Yorkshire musician making such big strides so early?
Billie is such an incredible talent and her album was a stunning example of this. Her writing is stunning and her voice so captivating - just beautiful.
Us Yorkshire folk are proud enough as it is just to live in this county - never mind when one of our own makes a success of themselves! Billie is going to go so far and I’m excited to be witness to it.
She is obviously inspired by your music. Is there any chance you two might collaborate in the future perhaps?
Funnily enough, we are actually booked in to write together this week which will be a lot of fun. I love co-writes and collaborating with talented artists.
Christmas is coming up. Are you spending it at home and what is top of your Christmas wish-list?
I will be spending Christmas in the (hopefully snowwwy!) hills of Nidderdale with my parents. All I wish is for a relaxed and happy Christmas surrounded by loved one - it’s the simple things in life that are important.
For anyone looking to follow in your footsteps: what advice would you offer up to them?
Write, write, write. Be daring and listen to your instinct.
Don’t aspire to be like anyone else - they’re already doing it. Make music you love, and if it’s good, people will find it. BBC Introducing is also an amazing platform for getting your music heard. My debut solo release made it onto Radio 1 and it kick-started my music career.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song and I’ll play it here (not one of your own as I’ll include that).
I am reallllllyyy enjoying Blood on Me by Sampha at the moment. It’s a tuunne!
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