“Halo” is the latest single from the NY-based alternative rock band QU!ET. After going through a recent rebranding and name change, QU!ET is tackling a personal subject on “Halo,” delving into trust and fear in an unhealthy relationship. Heavy-hitters in the local Long Island music scene, QU!ET is looking forward to sharing a personal piece of themselves with both new and returning listeners.
QU!ET was formed in Long Island, New York by singer/guitarist/pianist Michael Scarabino, singer/bassist AJay Hosking, and singer/drummer Juliana Pitto. The band has been together since 2016 as a three-piece alternative rock band, and they combine each of their unique musical perspectives to craft their sound. As a band full of singers, they embrace three-part harmonies, and share lead vocal duties to express themselves personally.
For the first two years of working together, the three went by the name “Scarabino,” due to Michael starting the project as a solo artist. As the sound and their musicianship evolved overtime, they collectively agreed that their name began to mislead their fans of their identity. On the morning of March 11th 2019, the band reintroduced themselves under their current name.
The trio rapidly became known for their energetic and passionate live performances, and share the stage with extra musicians performing horn/wind instruments featured in their new music. Over the years they’ve performed with artists such as XEB (Ex Original Members of Third Eye Blind), Nonstop to Cairo, Will Wood and the Tapeworms and VISTA.
Connect With QU!ET Online Here-
Learn more about QU!ET in the following All Access interview-
Now that the year is about over, how would you say that 2019 has treated this band? What were some goals that this group had for the year? What are you already excited about for 2020? What are some goals for next year?
Mike: Pretty well, we started this year with a meeting to plan our re-brand. When we did that, I came up with a plan that I refer to as “making the team.” We needed to practice our instruments, our voices, and work on our writing, then get back to shows and recording. We set realistic goals and expectations, and most of them were achieved! It’s supposed to take a long time anyway. We played some great shows, expanded out of our home market, wrote 33 new songs, and now we’re returning to the studio! We plan on pushing harder in 2020 to expand out of New York, and release more music.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could all agree on?
Mike: As early as June 2016! We got through our first 2 months playing a few shows, and the music I made myself. I started this band as a solo artist so my last name stuck as the name of the group. I felt like playing the EP I did molded us in a way, but things got way more exciting when we began to write new songs as a trio later that year. Skipping ahead to early 2019 when we started to re-brand, choosing a new name was tough, but AJay narrowed down a few good ideas. “QU!ET” was agreed by the three of us to take as the new name. We felt it was time to do this, keeping my last name as the name of our band became misleading, I was no longer a solo artist.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? How has the music scene there changed over the years?
AJay: I think it’s safe to say Long Island has a very strong punk sound when it comes to the music scene over here. It varies between pop punk and hardcore, and it’s been that way before and since we showed up. While we’re not strictly a “punk band”, I think some of that sound seeped it’s way into our writing process a little bit, showing through in some of our instrumentals.
What has it been like going through a whole re-branding and name change? How is it all affected this group and your style of music?
Mike: At first, it was very scary for me. I felt like my vision was being challenged in a way, but after lots of discussion, everything made sense to me, I knew that rebranding was the right move for us. The hardest part during this process is the reality that we had to start again. We needed to get song content ready, re-establish a fan base, and no longer having any material under our new name definitely slowed things down. The style of music was always alternative rock, but instead of writing after our influences, we do our best to bring everything out from the heart. It’s all about being our authentic selves. The music has matured, with a ton of persistence and patience, we’re still here!
Let’s talk about your newest single, “Halo.” What was the inspiration for this song? How would you say that it compares to anything else that you have released?
AJay: Halo came from hearing the stories of friends who were abused or manipulated by people that they put all of their trust into. Along with those stories, I conjured up my own experiences, and I took all of that with the heavy instrumentals that we had and I mixed it all together. This song deals with a more serious and ugly topic that quite a lot of people go through, compared to everything else that we’ve put out in the past as a group.
Do you have plans to release more new music soon and a full collection of new songs?
Mike: Yes! There is a record of some kind in the works. Like I said we’ve written over 30 songs this year. Some of those will make this project. Some of our songs from the former era of this band will be worked in as well. A few of them seem to stand the test of time.
Generally, how does this group go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What is the first step in your music-making process?
Juli: It definitely varies. If one of us has an idea we bring it to the table and we expand on it. Sometimes if we get inspired we do write on our own but definitely the best music has come from just jamming and fooling around. We always try to solidify the song form and instrumentation before we start lyrics, then we track our instrumentals.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? When you aren’t working on music, do you guys hang out for fun?
AJay: Every now and then we’ll have a day or night where we just hang out and do whatever, away from the music. Mike and I are a few towns apart, meanwhile Juli is just a little ways away from the both of us, but we all live relatively close to each other so it’s pretty easy for someone to be like “hey let’s go out and do something” when we’re not all busy.
How do you feel that this band has grown through the years? What has remained the same?
Juli: I’m very proud of how this group has grown. We all have definitely have grown whether it be musically or personally. I can definitely say I’ve grown and changed for the better the day I met Mike and AJay, and I can say that our passion for our music and our love for what we do has remained the same.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Mike: None of the above actually. One of my favorite parts of being in a band is having a nice group of friends, and the community of close fans/friends built around it. I think I’m happiest when we all hangout away from the venue where we can hear ourselves think, and just be people.
AJay: I’m probably the happiest when I’m just in a basement writing new music.
Juli: I’m super happy when I’m on that stage performing and putting my all into my performance. I love the adrenaline and excitement I have when I’m on stage. Also, when I come up with a new song I get really excited.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band? What have been some of your favorite shows and venues lately? Any touring plans set yet for 2019?
Mike: When we’re performing with energy and making ourselves look cool on stage, that’s what makes a QU!ET show. It’s a run of emotionally driven songs that offer one peak after another. We can go from being a trio, to featuring horn players, to playing piano songs, then finishing strong. People don’t expect these things from us, I love seeing their reactions the entire set. My favorite show this year was back in March, it was the very first show as QU!ET at Velvet Lounge, on Long Island, NY. It’s a small and intimate bar with a great soundsystem. For the first time in a while I truly felt like myself on stage, and everyone told us they were impressed and couldn’t wait to see what we do! 2019 is just about over, so we’re just staying in writing mode. We’re aiming to tour in 2020.
How do you think that social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
Mike: We tend to post on our accounts on a daily basis, every now and then we’ll hold off on posting for a day or two. It’s an effective tool to use for keeping in touch with your fans. When we connect with people at shows, we make an impression on them and they stick with us. We’re able to update them with whatever we’d like them to know, music, shows, life updates, cool video/photo content, etc. Committing to social media has only been a big help to bringing people out to our shows, and hearing our music.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today?
Mike: Like any art, music is what we live for, and it keeps us going. Part of living in any nation is dealing with the decisions made by its political leaders. I turn to music and write about how some of those actions affect me in the world I see, and it’s a great outlet.
What musicians have really been inspiring you all since you first started making music? Who would you still love to work with?
Mike: Matthew Bellamy from Muse, Ellie Goulding, Coldplay, and Linkin Park have always been my biggest influences since the beginning. But Muse is the reason why I am who I’ve become, they inspired me to become a musician, and I began to put myself out there. Everytime I’m asked who I’d like to work with, the answer is always different based on the mood I’m in. So I’d like to do a song with Michael Buble! Most of his music are covers, but I’d love to work on a song with a lot of different instruments in it, and I think our voices would go well together. We have similar ranges and techniques.
AJay: As a kid, Green Day was the band that really got me wanting to make music and be in a rock band, and Muse was the band that got me to pick up a bass. In regards to who I’d want to work with, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. He knows how to create an atmosphere with music and I wouldn’t mind learning a thing or two from him.
Juli: My biggest inspiration when it comes to music has been Cher. She’s the reason I’m the woman I am today. I base my stage presence and my attitude towards life from her. She has been the basis of everything I do. I have many different influences when it comes to music such as PVRIS, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper etc. My list can go on forever but I grab inspiration from many different artists based on the music I’m writing.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
AJay: The message varies from song to song. We put whatever we’re feeling into our music. I think all we can hope for at the end of the day is that whoever listens to our music can connect with those feelings… or at the very least just bop their heads along with the tune.