By Lydia Wiener | March 1, 2023
Since the groovement last caught up with Quarters of Change back in July, the band released its first full-length album, Into the Rift, and embarked on its first headlining tour. The album, featuring standout singles “Blue Copper”, “Ms. Dramatic,” and “T Love”, is a further refinement of the Quarters of Change sound fans know and love, plus an extra touch of production magic. The album also touts an interactive online video game, where players can transform into an 80s video game version of one of the band members and tackle the two-dimensional world, all while listening to the album in the background.
The album has been embraced with open arms by the rock community, which was evident last Saturday night at Irving Plaza when Ben Acker, Attila Anrather, Jasper Harris, and Ben Roter took the stage. From the first song, Ben R’s powerful vocals had the room fixated, while Attila’s unwavering percussive heartbeat carried the energy throughout the entire set. Ben A and Jasper took up the melodic front, delivering a variety of carefully crafted tones. The duo also laid down a joint solo during “T Love,” utilizing harmony and complementary rhythm to parallel the song’s angsty, emotive quality.
The Irving Plaza show was among one of the first stops on the band’s North American tour, and as a hometown show, objectively one of the most fun. The love in the room was palpable for the NYC born-and-raised rock quartet, and the band showed its love for the city right back. “If not New York, where?” Ben R remarked as he closed the set.
We chatted all things music and New York with Quarters of Change leading up to the 2/25 Irving Plaza show and they answered a few questions for the groovement:
How has your experience as a band changed since the album came out?
When the album came out, we hadn’t even done an opening tour yet. Now we’re on our first full-scale headlining tour. We’ve done small pop outs, we’ve done headlining in Chicago, LA, and obviously New York a lot, but this is kind of our first time outside of the city doing a headline.
I mean, six, seven months later and the tour’s doing really well, most things are sold out. So clearly there’s still some good appreciation, love and hype around the album. So it’s amazing, it’s done us only good thus far.
That is awesome to hear. In terms of creating and writing the album, did it differ a lot from the LPs and shorter bodies of work you guys had done before, or was it building on what you’d been working on previously?
Yeah, it was kind of like a refinement of everything that we had been trying to do up to that point, and in a lot of ways going back to like some of our original roots. We recorded our first thing in high school in just like a live room in Beacon, and sort of since then had gone smaller. We became sort of more like bedroom producers and everything up to New Hour was sort of done like that.
And then we decided for Into the Rift to basically go back to writing in the room and recording. We had the opportunity to go to a studio for the first time. So we were like, we wanna write it to take advantage of the studio rather than write it to, you know, do anything that we could have just done in our room.
Did you work with a separate producer then on the album?
It was just more production, more in the sense of just, how we went about creating the song. So it’s always the four of us giving input, the only difference is that this time, instead of doing it in a bedroom, we got to use the full resource and utility of the studio.
We went to Shifted studios in Greenpoint, it’s a great spot for anyone who loves Ableton. We worked with a producer for the first time on three songs. Everything else was all self-produced. But, his guy, Mikey, Freedom Hart from the Bleachers, we love him a lot. Funny guy. Great mentor. So talented. Just a great musician. So, you know, writing with just another great musician is a sick experience. And we were happy with it. We did “Blue Copper” and “Ms. Dramatic” with him.
Did Covid kind of impact any of your writing process as well?
Yeah. We actually were all in college except for me (Atilla) when Covid first started. I had this studio during Covid, everyone was going to school in different states and everyone kind of left school. So it kind of unified us. We got really lucky that we all were at the same place at the same time, and we all had nothing to do because of Covid. So it really pushed us, it was really like our incubation period. That’s where Into the Rift really started.
What does the New York music scene mean to you guys? Personally or as a band?
That’s a good question. We’ve been playing in bands for a while and all of our friends are in bands. So, I don’t know. I feel like we’ve all just been surrounded by music for a while, and I feel like ultimately all of our relationships to music at its root was always just a love of music.
I feel like, you know, there are a lot of scenes in New York and there are a lot of different little loopholes of where musicians are. Some of them are very kept to themselves and some are very outspread, and then some are not in a scene, which is, I think, the category that we fall in.
Ben has this great analogy of “it’s all concrete in New York, so you really have to cut through in a way that feels something.” I think the only way to do that is to just hold the love for it and really get involved in what New York means as a musical landscape or anything like that.
I think now more than ever I’ve been going out to more and more shows at Mercury Lounge and all those same venues that we used to play, and just discovering so many amazing New York artists that are just going around and playing that same circuit and making friends with them. There’s so much talent in New York, and there are so many people just all trying to make it and meet musicians.
So in terms of New York venues, I know you just mentioned you’ve been going to a lot more shows recently and that you’ve played a bunch. Which venues are your favorites to see a show and which are your favorites to play a show at?
Bowery Ballroom is probably my favorite to play a show, and honestly, I love seeing shows there. Probably Brooklyn Steel is a dream venue.
You’re coming to New York this weekend, what does that hometown show look like for you guys?
I think the specialness of it is really that it’s home. I feel like we wear that on our sleeve a lot. So people hopefully identify with that and other New Yorkers identify with that. All our friends are there, our families are there, you can feel the love in the room. Not that you can’t anywhere else.
📸: shot by Sanna Polskis