By Rob Duguay
Special to The Independent
The Quins, from East Bridgewater, Mass., are one of the fastest rising bands in New England in terms of talent and popularity. A mix of rock, blues, punk and soul is what makes them standout. The talents of dual vocalists and guitarists James “Quincy” Medaglia and Robbie Sturtevant, bassist and vocalist Donny Hayes and drummer Dave Petti consistently come together to create something special. They’re one of those acts that make people instant fans after seeing them perform. The good folks of South County will get the chance to become fans as this quartet shares the stage with Annapolis, Maryland ska punk act Bumpin’ Uglies at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck Saturday.
I had a conversation with Medaglia ahead of the show about vocal harmonies, a couple music videos the band put out this year, working with a recording and video studio and a new album that’s in the works.
Rob Duguay: One thing that always sticks out to me about The Quins are the harmonies that you Robbie and Donny create. When you guys first started writing songs together, what made you realize that combining your voices together would be a good fit?
James “Quincy” Medaglia: We each come from various musical backgrounds and Donny is my cousin, we’ve practically known each other our whole lives. Donny and I come from a very musical family and we grew up with music like The Beatles, Queen and so many others. Listening to those harmonies definitely have an impact on our sound. Another big influence of what comes with that is from guitarist John Frusciante’s time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I really enjoy his backing vocals on a lot of their songs and I try to bring that into what we do with our songs. I also think that we each have great singing voices in different ways and they compliment each other well.
RD: Recently the band put out a couple music videos for “Bright and New” and “John’s Song. With “Bright and New,” it was filmed at Biddy Early’s in Boston. What made you guys pick that location and who came up for the ideas for the different scenes, like the one where Donny caught a dart in the neck?
JQM: Biddy Early’s is a bar that Donny has been going to for years. He works as a cook in the city and he’s close with the owners, the bartenders and the door guys there. One day he was talking about the band to one of the bartenders and they brought up an idea of shooting a music video. Donny said, “Are you sure? Because we’ll totally do it.” We then started setting up the idea, we made an event page for the video shoot and we had 100 people in the place for around eight hours making the thing.
RD: That’s awesome how you guys put it all together, it’s also very entertaining to watch.
JQM: Thanks, it was a lot of fun.
RD: Seems like it. With “John’s Song,” the setting is dark with various symbols. The song is about suicide, so what made you guys go that route when it came to capturing that feeling?
JQM: The sense of being alone in the dark can be a serious thing to deal with. No one is around to help you and eventually you have to figure out how to get out of the situation yourself. Sadly, not everyone can get out of it. What we wanted to do with the video is to show that but also echo the message of the song that there is hope to get out of the darkness. That’s kind of what the flowers in the video represent but they can also represent someone’s funeral.
RD: Both videos were directed by Revelry Studios in Manchester, NH. How did you guys get connected with them?
JQM: Before Revelry officially started, our friend Joe Sambo was doing some vocal work with the guys there. Joe is also from New Hampshire so that’s how he knows them. Robbie and I played in Joe’s backing band for a bit we eventually met the guys at Revelry, they dug our sound and it’s been great working with them. They’re actually working with us to make our next album with them that’s due out in the fall.
RD: That’s awesome, do you have a name for the album yet?
JQM: I’ve been kind of alluding to it to a couple people but I want to keep it a secret, just so it can be a surprise.
Rob Duguay is a Rhode Island-based music writer. Send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.