Not so quiet night at The Pub

John Seiler/Sun Star Reporter

On the last bit of their Alaska tour, Portland band Quiet Life performed at The Pub on Saturday night. The Quiet Life has performed all over the United States with members Sean W. Spellman, Ryan Spellman, Craig Rupert, Thor Robert Jensen and Jesse Bates. Before the band got on stage, I talked with Sean Spellman about touring Alaska, playing at the one-week music festival at South by Southwest and being in a band with family.

Guitar player Phillipe Bronchtein plays his electric guitar in the audience with the band Quiet Life at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Annie Bartholomew/Sun Star

Guitar player Phillipe Bronchtein plays his electric guitar in the audience with the band Quiet Life at the UAF Pub on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Annie Bartholomew/Sun Star

Seiler: How long have you guys been together?

Spellman: About eight years.

Seiler: Besides playing at the pub tonight, where else have you played during your tour of Alaska?

Spellman: We started at the Taproot in Anchorage and then we went to the Marlin and then Denali Salmon Bake and then back here.

Seiler: When was the first time you came to Alaska?

Spellman: Three years ago.

Seiler: With each new time you come to Alaska, do you have a new goal or something you want to see?

Spellman: I think today the goal is to see the Northern Lights. We also saw a bear to for the first time so that was pretty cool.

Seiler: Where at?

Spellman: Black bear down in Seward. That was cool. It literally crossed the dirt road in front of us.

Seiler: You’re also in Quiet Life with your brother [Ryan Spellman], what is it like being in a band with your brother?

Spellman: It’s like uh, being in a band with your brother. It’s like good and bad. It’s great. We have that like blood connection so I feel like he always knows the changes that I’m gonna make on stage, the unpredictable changes. Got that brotherly connection, then we get to beat the shit out of each other all the time so that’s pretty cool.

Seiler: You recently played at South by Southwest, was that your first time playing there?

Spellman: Nah, I think it was our fifth or sixth time playing.

Seiler: How is it playing at a huge venue like that?

Spellman: It was great. The crazy thing about South by Southwest is that it’s just so hectic. There are so many shows, so many bands, and people there, it’s just kind of a whirlwind of a week you know. I like that place. I really like Cedar Courtyard, it’s a cool venue outside.

Seiler: Was there something that you guys learned the last time you went to South by Southwest?

Spellman: Yeah, not to eat the Mexican food at Pulvos during South by Southwest because that’s my favorite place, and I’ve been there a bunch of times like during the year, and it’s so good but the quality goes downhill during South by.

Seiler: You mentioned that this was the third time you’ve been to Alaska, is there something that makes you want to keep coming back?

Spellman: Yeah man, the adventure of it and just the people, different kinds of people up here. It’s not like a traditional tour, you just never know what to expect. People up here appreciate music a lot and make it really enjoyable for us.

Seiler: Where did the name Quiet Life come from?

Spellman: So we wanted a neutral name. We wanted something that couldn’t define the band. Which is funny because a lot of times we’re not quiet at all. When we play live, we’re more of a rock and roll band. It was inspired by a song called “Quiet Life.” It had a ring so we called ourselves Quiet Life.

Seiler: Was the song “Quiet Life” a song that you guys did?

Spellman: No, it was this [band] called Jealous Sound, wrote it like fifteen years ago.

Seiler: In listening to another interview, you talked about gaining energy from a crowd. How does that influence how you play?

Spellman: When you’re on stage performing, you’re feeding off the energy of the room and you can’t deny that energy, you just got to go with it. Last night, I got an acoustic guitar this time around and we got a three-piece band, it’s much more mellow then the past couple of tours as a full rock band and last night it was crazy. I was sweating, I was having a great time and it was a lot louder and that’s just because of the energy of the room. People had been drinking for hours, it was the last week at the Salmon Bake and, like, people were ready to party. We definitely are affected by the crowed.

Seiler: What’s the largest venue you’ve performed at?

Spellman: I’m not sure, maybe around 1,000 people, 2,000.

Seiler: So, when compared to a crowd of a thousand to a crowd like at a house show or The Pub, do you still try and bring the same energy and how different is it?

Spellman: That’s the thing, it’s interesting because you don’t know what to expect. One of the biggest shows we had to do, I did solo because a couple of the guys had to go out of town, and I was worried because I thought it wasn’t going to be upbeat enough for a thousand people. It was the complete opposite. These people were entirely engaged in what I was doing so I was able to play quieter songs even though it was in a bigger venue. There are times that won’t work in a bar of twenty people. It’s all about reading what the crowd wants, and that’s something that I’m still learning about.

Seiler: For people who missed this show, what would you like to tell them about Quiet Life?

Spellman: Well, we just play music that we enjoy playing. We want people to feel the positivity of that and I think we have a lot different forms of the band with everything from folksy stuff to rock and roll band. We’re an American rock and roll band that loves to have fun.

Quiet Life’s new album, “Wild Pack” is out on Oct. 2, and more information can be found at the band’s website, quietlifeband.com.

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