Home / Drama / INTERVIEW: 10 minutes with Louise Quinn of A Band Called Quinn

INTERVIEW: 10 minutes with Louise Quinn of A Band Called Quinn

For years, Louise Quinn and her band, A Band Called Quinn, have beenblurring the boundaries between music, film and theatre. With theirmusic appearing in films and television series worldwide, riding highas the “soundtrack to Scotland” (so dubbed by Kayleigh Mcleod at Scottish Television Local), their track The Glimmer Songused for Scottish Television’s national ads and counting Madonnaand author Ian Rankin among their fans, The Public Reviews‘ Lauren Humphreys chattedto Louise about her foray into theatre with theinnovative Biding Time (remix).

Tell us a bit about Pippa Bailey’s musical theatre work Biding Time and howyou came to be involved in creating a remixed version of it.

The original concept by Pippa Bailey is about a woman called Thyme and her path to fame. Pippaprovides the basic framework for the show but asks artists to put their own slant on it.We’ve worked with the theatre company Vanishing Point and its artistic director MatthewLenton was at a conference with Pippa, who said she wanted to open the work up to artistsworldwide and get their different responses to the source work. She expressed a desire tohave a music industry slant put on it and, despite the original idea being 25 years old, therôle of women in the business hasn’t really changed. I read it, realised it had parallels with my own story and thought OK, but I want to make it a lot darker and a lot more surreal.

So, what can we expect from your remixed version of Biding Time?

I think I can best describe it by saying that it will be like being inside someone’s head orgoing into another world – I hope it will be really transporting. There’s a silent disco in theshow so that will give it an immersive quality, and that mixed in with all the visuals should makequite a strange experience for the audience as well as good fun. There’s a lot of humour init too. Hopefully it will reflect the rollercoaster ride you go on from being discovered to theintoxicating feeling of fame, then realising the real dangers of the music business.

As you mentioned, you’ve been involved with theatre companyVanishing Point and its re-interpretation of The Beggar’s Operawhich seemed to polarise critical opinion, attracting reviewsranging from one to five stars. When you were working on it, did youever imagine it would provoke such strong critical reactions?

It felt quite intense in places when we were working on it. The intention was to dosomething radical to get a younger audience into a theatre [the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh] whose patrons were literallydying off. So I suppose it did what it said on the tin. If it had been on at a different theatre,it would have got a very different reaction. There were older audience members who lovedit too, but it was a work that was constantly being tweaked. By the time it got to its finalvenue I think it was finished but it could have been a great piece if we had more time tomarry the music to the dialogue.

You describe your band’s music as “art pop” and your gigs havebeen described as theatrical, having been wheeled into one gig in acardboard box and carried onstage by a gorilla in another – how haveyou developed your performance style?

I was always a shy kid but one of those annoying ones who’s always putting on showsin the living room. I wanted to study art but instead went to the Royal Conservatoire ofScotland (formerly RSAMD) to study production. I left in my third year to pursue a careerin the music industry but eventually went on to have a “day job” with Bal from the band, insurrealist, interventionist theatre company Mischief La Bas, so with that background andthe fact that we’ve never been afraid to cross over into different art forms, it was probablyinevitable we would be theatrical.

With your music currently being featured in Scottish Television’snational commercial, how has having your music on TV every eveningaffected the bands profile?

Apart from my mum and dad now realising that I’m not just messing around, it’s been greatto go out into the wider world and hear people talking about our work. The response hasbeen fantastic.

Many of your songs have been featured in films and TV series; do youthink you might pursue writing soundtracks specifically? We’re getting a lot of calls, and we’re definitely getting a reputation as a band who soundgood on film, so hopefully we can pursue that.

What next for you and A Band Called Quinn?

Firstly, we’ve been trying to release our album Red Light Means Go for a few years,the songs have been used in the BBC’s Lip Service and Carter Ferguson’s film FastRomance, and finally it’ll be released on 1st November to coincide with some live showswe’re doing. After that we hope that the music written for this show will appear on itsown album and hopefully Biding Time (remix) will have a future – we’re working withfilmmaker Uisdean Murray to take the visual content of the show and make it into a feature-length film.

A Band Called Quinn’s version of Pippa Bailey’s Biding Time, Biding Time (remix) is at TheArches, Glasgow on 6th November. More details at www.thearches.co.uk.

Biding Time (remix) trailer:

Image: Tromolo Productions

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The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.