Quicksand are a tour de force in the realm of post-hardcore. They helped refine the sound for a ‘90s audience through their first two full-length records, Slip in 1993 and Manic Compression two years later. Both releases fueled the adrenaline of fans in dive bars and sweaty mosh pits, only for the band to abruptly split in 1995. Attempts at a reunion proved tension-riddled, and many fans felt it best to leave things in the past, remembering Quicksand while they were atop the game.
However, in 2012, the New York band decided it was time to play live again. Five years later, their rise from the dead came full-circle with Interiors, their first new material in 22 years, released in November via Epitaph Records.
Bassist Sergio Vega looks back on the early days fondly. It was an era that helped pave the way for acts such as Korn and Deftones—a band he has quite the attachment to—to take the sound mainstream. He admits that Quicksand did fade way too quickly, but as Interiors dictates, it was simply fate, setting them up for a glorious return built on the experience they lacked decades ago. “[It] feels like the right time!” he says with a smile. “Basically, we had a good time playing shows and jamming a bunch during rehearsals and sound checks. Over time, we realized we had a batch of material we’d be stoked to record and share.”
Vega knows that the questions on everyone’s mind are why they’re back and “Why now?” He chuckles. It’s clearly the mark of someone who just wants to have a ball rocking out and isn’t dwelling on past fallouts, including the band’s conversion to a three-piece mid-tour after guitarist Tom Capone went on hiatus due to a shoplifting incident just prior to the album’s release. Vega indicates that as much as it’s a rebirth, they are the same old Quicksand rising from the ashes, merely older and more musically mature. In terms of their evolution—songwriting, musical vibe, and technical capability—he emphasizes, “I’d like to think we developed as players with the various projects we’ve done and are doing currently. It makes everything more relaxed and fun.”
He certainly doesn’t shy away from his Deftones duty, even while playing in Quicksand. His bass-slapping brings the Deftones vibe to life on Interiors, sounding like the work he put in on the legendary band’s 2016 album, Gore. It’s unsurprising, given that he filled in for their bassist Chi Cheng a bit in 1999, and then replaced him after a tragic car accident left him in a coma from 2008 until his eventual passing in 2013.
Vega reveals that the Deftones comparison doesn’t bother him. After all, Quicksand did open for them and they share a bassist and similar styles, so it’s no shocker that people still make that connection. He does point out that they’ve got a differentiator, an ace in the hole, in producer Will Yip, who helped Quicksand shoot for a cleaner, sleeker sound on Interiors, but still keep that ‘90s edge.
“Cosmonauts” is an example of Yip’s stance, with Vega pointing out how smooth and melodic it sounds. “Hyperion” has a shimmery shoegaze aura, not unlike the work Yip has put in with bands like Citizen, Turnover, and, of course, Title Fight. Vega elaborates, “[Yip] is an amazing person and so skilled. He knows how to find—how to bring out the best in a project.” He also reveals that vocalist Walter Schreifels is the one who recommended Yip to engineer the record. “Besides his amazing track record, Walter had worked with him and holds him in high regard,” he adds, referring to Schreifels adding guest vocals to Title Fight’s “Safe in Your Skin” from their Yip-produced 2011 record, Shed.
On Interiors, Quicksand didn’t want to shy away from merging different sounds and influences or experimenting on the whole. This is apparent in how much Schreifels brings in from his older bands, like Gorilla Biscuits and Rival Schools. Vega reiterates that it’s all about open collaboration, something they desperately want to reflect in their music. The title track, “Interiors,” encapsulates this in its entirety, as Vega reveals it to be the pivot point of the record. “The album’s themes essentially point to interpersonal dynamics,” he explains. “The album title references the song by the same name, and we felt it really tied in well with the cover art.” Vega adds that everyone’s varying personalities and characters tie together in their musical narrative too.
As for songs that bring out the best Interiors has to offer live, Vega finds it hard to pick, because he feels they’re all brimming with energy. He does whittle it down, however. “We’ve played four of the songs live, and they’re all special in their own way,” he shares. “On our last U.S. run, I had fun with the segue between ‘Hyperion’ and ‘Interiors.’”
At the end of the day, Vega emphasizes that it all comes down to making “a record for ourselves”—no matter what—and living it in the flesh when they take the stage. It’s safe to say that when it comes to this aspect of Quicksand, well, some things never change.
Photo by Dan Rawe