QTY is the sort of band that will make you feel nostalgic. This isn’t to say that they sound like the bands of a romanticized, bygone New York (though they sometimes do, in the best possible ways) or that their music isn’t emblematic of the time we’re living in right now (listen to the lyrics, man). What I mean is they have the uncanny ability to make the sort of music that tickles your soul and brings your cold dead, apathetic heart to life in a way that makes you feel as though you’ve heard it before, perhaps in a previous life or an alternate timeline. Also, nostalgia is potent (just ask Don Draper) and nostalgia is, like, totally trending right now.
QTY is also the sort of band that will make me, personally, feel nostalgic. I met Dan Lardner and Alex Niemetz right around the time I moved to New York and to my naïve, Canadian mind, they were the embodiment of everything the city had promised. Like, two months later I realized not everyone was so singular, so kind, so talented and so, so weird. Go figure. But their tunes always transport me to those first few, decadent months – late nights (disturbingly late nights) in wacky apartments, too many cheap beers (though we still do that, sometimes) and all the other things I definitely can’t talk about here.
Anyway, I caught up with my old pals outside Lovely Day in Nolita over wine (me) a sandwich (Alex) and tequila shots (Dan) and then I went home and listened to their new, self-titled debut, roughly 1 billion times. New York may not always deliver on its promises, but Dan and Alex certainly do because QTY is some next level goodness.
QTY is out November 3rd via Dirty Hit. You can pre-order it here.
So when I first met you guys you were playing as Grand Rapids. What made you put that project to bed and start QTY?
Dan Lardner: Grand Rapids just kind of died. It just did. Like, of natural causes.
Alex Niemetz: And Dan and I had been working on songs.
DL: We were on our fourth fucking drummer, and we had an opportunity to record some stuff for fun. We hadn’t been writing that much. The things we did for fun and then eventually we got signed based on what we recorded for fun.
Then a few years went by…
AN: Yeah, it took us so long to make the record. It feels weird that it’s finally coming out, like, three years later.
DL: I know. No one gives a shit.
Where does the name QTY even come from?
AN: It was kind of a joke. It came from “Cuties.” And then our friend was like, “Oh, I’ve wanted to name a band QTY…”
DL: I don’t remember it being that way at all. I remember exactly how it went and I’m right.
AN: I don’t know if you’re right, because you were definitely very under the influence that day.
DL: Yeah, but I’m always under the influence.
AN: That still doesn’t mean you’re always right.
DL: Doesn’t mean I’m always wrong.
AN: Well, Romy from The xx definitely said that that would be a great name for a band. And then I made [my girlfriend] Lauren ask her if we could use it, because Romy had said she maybe wanted to use that name at one point. And then she wrote back saying “Yeah,” so it was fine.
DL: Yeah, she came up with it. After fucking six years of really trying to be in a band with a name, we got signed and we just didn’t have one. But everyone hated the name Grand Rapids, including us.
So you’re going on tour, like, forever in a couple days. Where’s your first stop?
AN: San Francisco. We have to drive there. Tell her the schedule for the tour.
DL: The schedule is insane. We’re driving to San Francisco, then we go up to all the Midwestern States, then we come down the East Coast, go down to like Florida, Louisiana, all that shit, Texas, everything. Then it ends in Nevada, at Las Vegas, which is a horrible place to end.
Do you guys like to gamble?
AN: He does lottery tickets all day.
DL: I’m horrible. That’s all I spend my money on.
What’s the most you’ve ever won?
DL: I won $400 last week on a $2 scratch off. I’m pretty good at it.
AN: I won $1000, with less chances though. I had bought five tickets.
DL: When Alex won, our label was here. The guy came to our practice. You did the nice thing and bought everyone a $2 ticket. But our label guy was like, “No one ever wins these, Alex, this is a waste, you could’ve bought $10 of beer, ha ha ha.” Then Alex wins a fucking grand.
AN: It all went to credit card debt. But at least I used it for that. I was proud of myself.
DL: I won mine at, like, 2AM and it was gone by 3:30.
You guys have been doing this together for so long now. How has your relationship changed in the past several years? Do you fight more, or less?
AN: We never really fight. We get into arguments. It’s usually when one of us is drunk or stupid.
DL: Mid-argument we realize it’s not a big deal.
AN: It’s kind of the same as it’s always been. We’re good still. We’re looking forward to being together on tour.
DL: I make her sit in the front with me when I drive.
AN: And then I fall asleep.
DL: And I’m like “Alex!” “My eyes are failing me.”
I’m glad to hear your eyes sometimes fail you when you’re about to drive across the country.
AN: He got glasses. But first he tried to pretend he wasn’t blind.
DL: I had to get my license renewed and I don’t have health insurance. It’s so much money, and you need a doctor to sign off on it. I was like, “Ok I can just fucking fake this shit.” I went into the eye exam and memorized the chart.
How did you know what chart they were going to use?
DL: Oh, they changed it immediately. He changed the thing and was like, “Alright, can you read this?” And I was like, “Fuck you.” I was mildly inebriated. This is probably the single dumbest thing I’ve ever done. After that I was like, “Hey man, I don’t have health insurance, I can’t afford these glasses, I have to go on this tour it’s a really big deal for me, personally. This is a life-affirming event, this needs to happen.” He literally went, “You’re driving how many people? And you want me to let you? There is no chance.” So now I have these shitty glasses that don’t really work.
I didn’t even ask, have you ever been to Vegas before?
DL: No, and I’m so excited.
AN: We’re going to have so much fun. We’ll probably go to jail that night or something. In a fun way.
There’s a fun way?
DL: When I went it was kind of funny.
When’s the last time you were in jail?
DL: You were around, for sure. I feel like everyone went to Cabin [a now defunct bar in the East Village] that night. I threw my phone at [my friend] Peter as I was getting handcuffed, saying, “Keep my phone,” because otherwise you have to go get it. There are pictures. I’m pretty sure there’s a picture of you.
There’s a picture of me?!
DL: There’s a picture of you pouring out some of your drink in the smoking area.
Sounds right. So this album is finally coming out – are you proud of it? Was it worth the wait?
AN: Yeah, I think so.
DL: If it came out in 10 years it would be worth the wait. It’ll change the world for the 10 people that hear it.