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No Quarter and its long journey to Freedom

No Quarter, maybe some older skatepunk veterans have heard about this band from Australia back in the days, but their situation is now pretty common with punk/rockers in their thirties. When it comes to jobs, families and kids, bands are sometimes taking a backseat. Then, once kids have grown up and jobs are settled, it allows the bands to be back on tracks. We had a chat with Micka Martin (drums) about his band, and their latest release, “Freedom”.

Hey Micka ! No Quarter is quite an old band, founded about 15 years ago. What’s the story behind ?

Yeah we have been kicking around a long time, hey!? I dunno, we all started this when we were teenagers and nothing else mattered. At that stage, we were into it full on, jamming several times a week, gigging during the week and twice a weekend. That lasted for quite a while before it got to the stage that some of us got married, built houses started businesses, etc. So we dropped back to just catching up when we could. We were jamming and writing material before recording our 2010 EP “Lodestar” and then eventually moving toward starting to write material for Freedom.

So, you’ve released your first full-length album “Freedom” this year. Could you tell me more about the writing process and the release ?

Oh man, Freedom was one hell of a fucking journey. At times it nearly ripped me to pieces. In 2014, I rang Chris and said “Brother, I got material for 7 songs let’s do another EP!”. Keep in mind that Chris lives about 800km North, a days drive from the rest of us. Without missing a heartbeat, he said “Yeah man, no worries, but fuck that. Let’s record some old songs we aren’t happy with and do a full album instead”. We’d had a friend of ours from other bands, who’d heard Lodestar and who wanted to record us.

So Lachlan and I did all the guitar demo’s and we moved into recording. We did drums and then straight away, things started to get spaced out. We had to wait months for the next session and once we did that, things started moving slower before our mate eventually pulled the pin on the project. It took us 8 months to get out recordings back and it was 8 months of shit. At times, we thought we lost everything. Then when we got back into it, it was a mess. We had to rebuild so much and re record so much that it’s like we recorded twice.

But, you saying that, I think all of the journey was worth it? It brought us closer together. Chris and I became even closer than what we were, plus we gained a new brother in: Lachlan. I think I things turned out better simply because he took over the recording and joined the band. I have nothing but respect for him as a person and musician, and his wife Alana for allowing him the time to take over. He’s amazing. Plus, the delay allowed Matt and Dan to still be involved but take the steps towards Josh and Paul replacing them so it was smooth. As I said, at the time it was hell, but in the end the journey was meant to be.

No Quarter

There are plenty of good punk/rock bands coming from Australia, like Frenzal Rhomb or The Decline, but I have the feeling that we only see the tip of the iceberg from outside. How is the scene there ?

Man, the scene here is fucking hard. People don’t realize how far apart everything is. For example, when I joined No Quarter in 2005 I lived 40 minutes from the rest of the guys and we were all just barely legally able to drive. And that doesn’t sound like much, but we all grew up in areas where we had jobs as shift workers in mines and stuff so working, practising, then gigging took its toll. And the fact that there were five guys all into the same music and same goals in a spread out area was almost remarkable. We were very lucky.

To put it into perspective, as a band, you wanna pay a good gig every weekend. In Australia that’s really hard. In America or UK, for example, you can play a gig, sell it out, drive to the next major hub in a small amount of time and play another sell out show. Australia is so fucking spread out. Bands like Pennywise or Strung Out do an East Coast tour of Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle if we’re lucky and Gold Coast. It’s nearly 9 hours drive from Melbourne to Sydney, 2 hours from Sydney to Newcastle, and 8 hours from Newcastle to Gold Coast. So to play constant gigs, in the same town, same pub or club makes it really hard.

In saying that there’s still so many bands that manage to get out there. Bands like Friends with the Enemy are fucking amazing. As are our friends from Newcastle Hack the Mainframe. So we have fantastic bands, but the space makes them harder to find, and harder to see them on a regular basis.

As you mentioned, all the band members have grown up and have commitments to their jobs and families. You know how hard it is when you play punk/rock, haha ! Do you guys have touring plans and maybe some out of Australia ?

Yeah it does get hard! We all work full time jobs. Lachlan and myself are shift workers, Paul and Chris have their own businesses and Josh works long hours. So after work the first priority for all of us is our partners and families. But we’re all lucky enough to have super supportive people in our lives. So when we do need to set aside time to record, jam or do shows it makes it easy.

With Paul and Josh joining we’ve been jamming pretty hard to get all our songs up to scratch before starting with a local gig with Hack the Mainframe early next year. Then we move into a Gold Coast/Brisbane weekend with Friends with the Enemy after that before also doing Sydney, Melbourne and possibly Canberra before moving onto a Japan Tour that we have lined up around mid year!! So it’s about to be a hell of a ride!

I wish the next album won’t take 15 years to get released. What are the next steps with No Quarter ?

Melodic Punk Style are working super hard on a vinyl release of Freedom but after that journey I have no idea when we’ll record again, hahahahaha. It’s funny, I’ve had a lot of people suggest we need to get straight back into it. If you’d asked me three months ago, I would have said “No fucking way can I see us recording again soon”, but the Freedom album has been so well received, dude.

I’ve had messages from people all over the globe who just wanna say hi and tell me our music has affected them in some way or another. It’s something I never expected. Music can change the world if we let it. So I dunno, we’ll get next year’s shows out of the way and see where we’re at. We have plans to do some film clips, and I’m pretty confident we won’t repeat the gap that was 7 years long between Lodestar and Freedom before we look at another release. Between us, we already have the basis of 3 new songs written, so here’s hoping!!!

About Greg Legarand

As a musician, I've been involved in bands since the early 2000's and have been constantly releasing records and touring since then. I use to play the guitar and sing in Bare Teeth and sometimes do solo stuff. I've founded Distrolution to provide bands and labels tools and services they need to get more exposure and help them as best as I can.

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