Magical music, swish style and committed romance

Feature by Jasper Hamill | 15 Jul 2006
  • Quinn

Quinn have no trouble making friends. Their first album featured Alex Kapranos on guitar, after which they were "stitched up by the papers," for supposedly booting him out, although they just "felt he needed his own band." After this, for their second album, they managed to tempt Kid Loco, a famous Parisian producer away from a lucrative contract with Madonna, to record their album for the price of "a sixty quid bag of herbs."

Always a fan of Glasgow bands like the Pastels, Kid Loco stumbled across their first, self-released album, fell in love with them and invited singer Louise Quinn over to Paris to record some tunes with him. Her vocal style, half slinky chanteuse and half winsome folk singer, has drawn comparisons to Liz Cocteau, Sarah Bracknell and even, although she certainly hits the high notes better, Nico. Musically, they make slinky, electronically augmented pop that's "not quite Goldfrapp."

The husband and wife team are famous in Glasgow for their kooky Club Tromolo night which started at the Buff and gave their record label its name. A sort of wiggy cabaret night, Quinn "get their jollies" from a bunch of strange characters, including DJ Pope Gregory IV and the Govan seer who "writes peoples' fortunes on Rizla papers." They started out playing "music for pissed people to dance to" before settling on the ethereal, trip-hop folk they now play.

Aside from Club Tromolo, they've played down in London where "audiences are used to people sounding like the Kaiser Chiefs and couldn't believe we were playing acoustic guitars." Winning over metropolitan audiences as well as maintaining a fanbase amongst the massed hipsters in Glasgow, they've been played on Rob Da Bank's show on Radio 1 with Sarah constantly summoned to Paris to "work off our debt to Kid Loco." On his visit to Glasgow, he fell in love with the way that Louise would "start playing a song, then Bal would start and we'd just be nodding along in time."

He claimed he wanted the music to "go on forever," rushing back to his hotel room after sessions to "smoke and listen to the recordings. He loved one so much he stretched it out to ten minutes." Quinn have "been though the music industry mill," and seem set to manage their new career in their own effortlessly stylish way. Shots of Louise on their MySpace page started a flurry of young girls claiming she's a new style goddess, or people coming up and saying "you look lovely, like a little doll," even though she's not bought "new girls' clothes in ten years." It seems few can resist the beguiling, magical music, swish style and committed romance at the core of Quinn's ambitions.

Luss' is out now on Tromolo.
Quinn play The Wickerman Festival on July 22 and T on the Fringe at Cabaret Voltaire on August 17