Rock n’ Recipes: Quivers
Earlier this year, Quivers released the most excellent Golden Doubt, receiving rave reviews all over the globe…not to mention ATH adoration. So, having followed the band, we reached out to songwriter Sam Nicholson to ask a few questions about the record and its release, and asked him to share a recipe with us. He’s obliged with some incredible answers, and a recipe for Golden Doubt Lemon Delicious Self-Saucing Pudding. Read on and find yourself a detailed recipe you can easily follow at home!
ATH: The end of 2020 saw the band cover REM’s Out of Time in its entirety. How’d that come about? And seeing as it was between album cycles, did any of that bleed over into the recording of Golden Doubt? Will there be any breadcrumbs of your REM influences? Are there other musical influences that’ve made their mark on this new LP?
Sam: A long time ago I reached out to the Seattle label Turntable Kitchen who put out one off 7 singles and also have an ongoing vinyl series where bands cover and re-imagine whole albums. To my cold-call email surprise Matthew Hickey at Turntable Kitchen was into our band and keen to put out a 7 of our song Youre Not Always On My Mind. They were also keen on us doing the covers series and gave us pretty free reign, so we went with R.E.M.s Out of Time. I chose that one because Im kind of fascinated by that period of R.E.M. where they committed to being a big pop band, but still had a beautiful strangeness to their music. Also we got pretty excited about Bella singing the Mike Mills songs and really re-moulding the songs we werent as into (Radio Song, Shiny Happy People – haha). We only had 4 days to record the covers and couldnt afford a studio so we just did it in our practice space.
We were actually 80% through the recording of our Golden Doubt when we did the R.E.M. thing. I think I still had some vocals to go and we hadnt yet recorded the strings or choir. There was a few breadcrumbs between the two I think – maybe we included our accidental piano ballad title track Golden Doubt as the album closer after doing a piano cover of R.E.M.s Country Feedback. It felt like a confident move to make? R.E.M. seemed so confident in their songs, and in the tracklisting and pacing of their albums. The thing I love about Out of Time is that you can actually hate some of the songs (see Shiny Happy People) and weirdly it is a better album because the band are just doing whatever they feel like.
ATH: Speaking of the new album, how much did the global pandemic impact the album. either in the process of the recording or thematic elements, etc?
Sam: The pandemic slowed us down from finishing the last 20% of recording as Melbourne had I think the worlds longest and strictest lockdowns (111 days!). So many Melbourne bands are probably about to release triple albums written during those 3 months! You better get ready at ATH! I feel guilty that I wrote some songs, but mostly just gardened, walked the dog with my partner, and went back to playing Age of Empires 2 with childhood friends like we were 14 years old again. If anyone wants to game with us drop a line.
Anyhow, it felt good to take the rush and the pressure off the album in a way. When we were able to record the strings and choir we just felt really thankful to have more friends involved in the album. It felt good to get the album over the line.
The difficult part for us was definitely cancelling our US tour, and losing the money wed spent on visas (about $6000usd in the end). We will make it happen somehow still, and maybe a few more people come along if they like this new record! We are also already getting ready to record the next album, so we may have another new album by the time we get overseas.
ATH: You’ve got several labels (BaDa Bing/Bobo/Spunk) all handling the release of the new record. Has it made it easier to generate press, working on three different continents? Have there been unforeseen challenges working with album promotion this way? I can just imagine with various time zones, etc?
Sam: We feel so lucky to be part of these labels, and all of them seem to be labels with a strong community around them. Bobo Integral is based out of Spain so we are now way too keen to get to that part of the world. To be honest it is such a relief to have the help of labels in reaching out to media – when bands do that themselves it is really hard work. It feels like you are sending emails into the void.
The time zone thing didnt really seem to matter. I quite like getting up early, so sometimes a 6am get the emails done on US time approach kinda works. Feed the chickens, then feed the internet.
ATH: Also…Jordan Thompson of Pop Filter/Ocean Party (and who once slept on my couch) designed the video for “Chinese Medicine.” How has the camaraderie evolved in Melbourne amongst all the working bands? It seems like a golden hour for Australian music, and just curious how close the community over there works together?
Sam: Jordan is great! We were so happy with the animated clip he made for that song. Melbourne is a big but small city, so once you move here it doesnt take long to build up a bit of a network of good people (and good bands to play with). There are probably lots of overlapping communities, and then also communities of people that just get out and love live music. Thats the part that really glues it all together I think.
ATH: So, now that the record is dropping, and the world is beginning to open up, does the band have touring plans outside of Australia? Is that even a thought right now? Are there places you hope to play?
Sam: We have just started looking into it again! Currently the cost of quarantine when we get back will be about $9k usd, so we better wait a little in the hope that situation changes. The nitty gritty practicals. We still have that US tour in place, although sadly we’ve heard a few of the venues have gone under, like The Bootleg Theatre in LA. Its going to be a tough few years for everyone. As soon as we are able to, we want to head to North America, and also to Europe. It is such a privilege to get to tour, and we have loved what touring we did before the pandemic (Canada, New Zealand, SXSW). We even love the sitting in vans allday part of touring. We also love the meeting people straight away in every town, and travelling with an actual purpose. Also, we love how you can play a gig to 5 people sometimes and the people are amazing and its the best show you’ve played. You never know when you are about to have a next-level good time.
ATH:And, with touring, there are always a lot of needs, things the band need for survival? What would Quivers need in order to be comfortable on the road? What are the must haves? Certain foods?
Sam: I learnt a long time ago playing a little drums with Michael Beach (who youve surely covered a couple times!), that eating some vegetables is a good idea. We were driving all across the US and Michael was vegan and basically just living off snowpeas, carrots and hummus. Meanwhile, I was eating my way through every diner meal and loving it. Way too much meat. Bottomless cups of coffee. After a month though I did feel kind of destroyed.
We dont need much for survival, just music and podcasts maybe to help pass the time on the longer drives. Cities in Australia are so far apart that you get pretty used to long drives. We’ve always dreamed of having a little bus on a tour, decked out for sleeping and also a little TV set up to play video games. Probably a Nintendo 64 so we can play Mario Kart.
ATH: And with that…what role does food play in your life, or in the band’s life? Or both?
Sam: We all love food and its a big part of checking out a new city. So many memories end up revolving around food – the pizza we had in Seattle for Mikes birthday the night before playing at KEXP, the Tel-wink diner in Houston, our first Austin breakfast tacos. We pretty often eat together at band practice, and if its not pizza one of us will cook something. We also quite like pairing a cocktail with something haha – either a whiskey sour or my favourite, pisco sour (https://www.thespruceeats.com/clasico-pisco-sour-cocktail-recipe-3029217).
One easy go to for that is pasta with Marcella Hazans simplest tomato sauce (https://food52.com/recipes/13722-marcella-hazan-s-tomato-sauce-with-onion-butter).
I grew up in Hobart, Tasmania, and my parents grew all their own food and hunted for deer and wallaby. What we didnt eat was fed to the dogs. Wed take the dinghy (small boat) out to set the nets and catch fish. Now Mum, aged 74, still swims the nets out and they catch the big salmon that escape from the fish farms. My brothers would dive for abalone and big Souther Rock Lobsters/crayfish (I think you call that crawfish?). My next oldest brother, Tom, was the keenest diver and got really into freediving, which is how he had an accident. Our first album, Well Go Riding on the Hearses, was in lots of ways about processing him drowning.
Whatever bands I was in we’d always sit down for dinner with my parents. It is so not rock and roll. We would usually eat roast venison with vegetables from the garden. Quivers have had this meal now a couple of times.There would always be pudding or fruit and ice-cream too. We had dessert every night. I thought that was normal. It was a pretty lucky way to grow up, and also kinda funny because all my band friends know my family really well. I think of bands as honestly their own weird new chosen families anyway, so you need to be able to sit down and share a meal and not talk about music sometimes.
Golden Doubt Lemon Delicious Self-Saucing Pudding
There are three wintery self-saucing puddings Ive been obsessed with at different times – lemon, chocolate and caramel date. You can even make a ginger self-saucing pudding. Woah. Lets go with lemon delicious today though as theres always lemons hanging over fences and we better use them.
60 gm unsalted butter, softened
330 gm (1 cups) caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, plus 150ml juice (from about 3-4 stolen lemons- they taste better if they hang over fences)
3 eggs, separated. Also separated from our chickens who made them.
60 gm self-raising flour (I used plain flour instead and added baking powder)
375 ml (1 cups) milk
Icing Sugar for dusting and then ice cream to serve.
Drink suggestion: Whiskey cos we had it, but limoncello wouldve been more on theme.
1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees celsius (unless you are making this in the USA, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, Belize or Palau). Beat butter, sugar and lemon rind in an electric mixer for a couple minutes until pale as a lemony ghost. Add yolks, beating well to combine each one, add flour, then gradually add milk. Mix until a smooth batter forms. Scrape down sides of bowl and stir in lemon juice. Transfer batter to a bowl. Annoyingly you then have to clean and dry the mixer to re-use it again for the egg-whites. Cheer yourself up for this step by licking the mixer first and having a nip of whiskey.
2. With that clean mixer whisk eggwhites for a pretty long time until firm peaks form. I had to ask my partner Ninas opinion on this as she sometimes works as a chef. I then completely messed up the next step. You are supposed to gently fold the whisked egg whites into the main mixture but I didnt do this gently. I got gung ho and threw them all in. Nina came and helped stir it to an OK consistency. Oh no!
3. Next, pour the lemony mixture of strange consistency into a 1.5 litre ceramic dish, place in a deep baking tray, and fill the tray with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. I think the water bath is what helps the pudding keep its liquid lemon curd sauce staying saucy. This is important!
4. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown (the length of our new album if this helps you pass the time AND keep track of time). https://quiversss.bandcamp.com/album/golden-doubt. Then, get it out of the oven and let it cool a little. Dust it with icing sugar and serve warm with icecream. I think actually 40 minutes isnt enough time and will lean towards 50 minutes next time. So yeah, maybe an album plus a few other songs is a safer bet time-wise.
Golden brown, texture like sun. Never a frown with golden brown!
Even better cold the next day!