As electro-pop artist Quigley prepares for the release of her debut EP, Initium, on May 8th, we decided to ask her a few questions about her upcoming music, and ended up discussing growth, mortality and the distinct color of a pool reflection.
AMMO: What’s Your AMMO?
Quigley: My AMMO is probably the idea that I might be able to be a role model for young girls someday. I want to inspire girls to dive into the technology of making music, to know that they can do any and everything themselves. I remember, when I was little, watching the movie Legally Blonde, and deciding that I wanted to be Valedictorian just like Elle Woods… and I did it! Having a female role model that taught me “being smart was cool,” really motivated me. Sounds pretty cheesy, I know. But I want to be that for other girls. It fuels me!
A: From what I understand you’re originally from Minneapolis, MN. I happen to be a huge Atmosphere fan and I’m aware of the phenomenal history of impactful Minnesotan musicians with artists like Prince and Bob Dylan rooted there. How has the culture of Minnesota affected your music? Which Minnesotan has influenced you the most?
Q: Thank you! I feel incredibly proud to say I am from Minneapolis. I feel kind of bias, but I really do think that I could not have grown up in an environment more conducive to creatively. I had a lot of mentors in Minneapolis who shaped me into who I am. Patty and Paul (St. Paul) Peterson, of the Peterson family in particular. Patty was my vocal coach and Paul (The Time, The Family) was my manager for a while. They both encouraged me to take my first production classes at Minneapolis Media Institute, which was Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ old studio, Flyte Tyme. I’ve always really admired the empire they created in MPLS at the time. It was so cool to know that Michael and Janet Jackson, Sting, Mariah Carey, etc. recorded in the same exact studios I took classes and recorded my earliest demos in. I don’t think I realized just how special that space was at the time, but now I think it really gave me a head start growing up in such a rich musical environment. I always believed that my potential as a musician expanded outside of Minnesota, and that anything was possible. I never felt like I was living in a bubble or that I was limited by my location… it was quite the opposite!
A: Now that you’re based in L.A., has your perspective as an artist changed at all? In other words, how has your musical style evolved?
Q: Being based in LA has really allowed me to interact and create music with so many different people, from all corners of the world, with every type of style and taste. There are so many people here and so much to learn. I think I definitely came out to LA, thinking I was just a “Singer” and now I would call myself a writer and producer, first and foremost. There are so many people here that you have to set yourself apart a bit by playing on the things that make you unique. For me, that meant really diving into the world of production, spending the time hammering away at my laptop, and ironing out my set of skills, etc. I wanted to get to a point where I was confident enough in what I was making, so I could really own up to being a female producer.
A: Your music started gaining public recognition with your work on the Stella Project when shows like “Gossip Girl,” “The Real World,” and “Jersey Shore,” put your songs into rotation. What was that moment like for you?
Q: I was initially hired for the second Stella Project record as a vocalist, and then the third record I was able to participate in the writing process with Bryan Shackle and Drew Lerdal, the creators of the project. They are incredible writers and I learned so much from being able to work with them. It really felt like my first taste of what it is like to take “sessions” in LA. I feel like it prepared me for what was next! I guess it’s pretty cool to have some of the songs featured on shows, but the funny thing is we never know when they are going to air, so it’s not really something you can get excited about in advance. Every once and a while my 16 year old cousin will call me and be like, “omg I just heard you on the Kardashians” and I will kinda laugh and be like… “That’s news to me!” I hope Quigley can follow in Stella’s footsteps though, that would be neat!
A: Your latest single, “Post Post Apocalypse,” has been described as “a soundtrack for the End of the World parties” by The Line of Best Fit. I tend to agree. If you had only one word to describe the single, what would it be?
A: To me, your single is an exploration of a world free of social anxiety. With undertones similar to Ellie Goulding and M83, you give listeners a reason to feel vindicated with lines like “none of this is actually real.” Take us through your thought process, what does “Post Post Apocalypse” mean to you?
Q: I pretty much struggle with the idea that life is a big, giant question mark on a daily basis. Post Post Apocalypse to me is a way of coming to terms with human existence, and our mortality. We are constantly letting the weight of the unknown kind of creep up on us and bog us down. When I wrote the song, I was looking for a coping mechanism to get rid of that weight I was feeling. I guess I decided that the world just needed one big dance party… I knew I did. The “none of this is actually real” line, is me exploring the idea that existence might not actually be what we think it is anyway, so why worry? I’m sure I’m not alone when I laugh about the idea that we could be living in one big Truman Show. Writing this song was very cathartic for me, and I hope people can relate.
A: With your new EP, Initium, coming out May 8th, what can you say was your favorite of part of recording the EP?
Q: I think my favorite part of recording the EP, was just discovering that I could make music on my own… That if I worked hard enough, I could give myself the tools to create what I had always dreamed of making. I had spent a big chunk of my life with the expectation that one day I would move to LA, the stars would align, and I would meet a producer who just got me, my musical style and taste, and would make all my music with me… But what this EP taught me was that that person I was looking for was me. That “aha moment” was pretty much the best one ever.
A: Having had a chance to exclusively listen, the EP sounds very therapeutic. Was the songwriting process spiritual for you?
Q: Definitely! I think your 20’s are a time of extreme change. I feel as if I am looking at life through a completely different lens at 26, then I saw it at 20. This EP really follows me going through that process of questioning my identity and myself. Leaving college and Minnesota and looking out into the seemingly infinite abyss that was the rest of my life was the most terrified I have ever felt in my life. The overall theme of the EP is me coming to terms with the unease I felt at that time, trying to find peace in the face of such uncertainty. It’s really scary to say, “I don’t fucking know.” This was my way of screaming it out into the world, kind of like that moment in Garden State where they scream in the rain on top of that giant tractor. It feels good to get it out.
A: If you could describe yourself by 1 type of food, 2 colors, and one animal what would you pick?
Q: If I were food, I would be a really big plate of my grandma’s Baked Cheesy Spaghetti. I mean, c’mon, I’m a Minnesotan… I would clearly be a casserole. If I were two colors, first, I would be the kind of turquoise that gets reflected off of a pool on a hot summer day and sort of appears to be having a continuous dance party.
Also, I would be the color of cotton candy clouds in the sky at sunset, the ones that can’t decide if they are blue, purple, or pink. If I were an animal, I would be a big fat lazy cat. They’ve got it made.
A: Finally, what’s next for Quigley after Initium is released? Will fans get a chance to see you on tour?
Q: After the EP is released, I will be putting out a couple covers and remixes, so expect the content to keep on flowing. We also have a second EP already in the works, so I will continue writing for that! No concrete dates set yet for touring, but that’s definitely on the horizon for this fall! Stay tuned!!!
Check out more from Quigley, here.