I have two upcoming shows in North Carolina:
Saturday June 8th at Monstercade in Winston-Salem NC, with electronic artists Tide Eyes and Ships in the Night.
Friday June 14th at a secret spot in downtown Greensboro NC, in partnership with SoFar Sounds. This event will kick off the SoFar Summer Series and will feature two other North Carolina electronic and low/fi acts.
New music on the horizon! My upcoming single “Sagittarius” (Ritual Fire Records) will be available on all platforms next week, on Friday June 14th, with a brand new music video!
Directed by Jennida Chase and Hassan Pitts (the dynamic duo also known as s/n), the music video for “Sagittarius” was made in production with third-year students in the UNCG Media Studies department and it features incredible dance performances by Greensboro talents Esha Hickson (choreographer), Devin Simone and Nayirah Harris. Stay tuned!
Here are some sneak peeks from behind the scenes:
I knew Taylor Bays because of his fierce presence in the Greensboro music community. We shared the bill at local venues and parties many times, and we knew the same folks. He gave the best hugs and really cared about his friends and fellow artists. He sang in a way that was raw, electrifying and f*cked up.
Taylor was a complicated being. At times otherworldly, at times wound up and gritty with the world’s pain, he was silly, profound, self-deprecating and uplifting all at once. He caught people off-guard and did unexpected things, which led people to find him weird and eccentric. His charisma usually won people over. Difficult and outspoken, he did have a dark quality to him, and some people remember that side of him too.
I never found him that strange; I thought he was really unique and not afraid to be himself, and I admired his tenacity. He was one of the few people who truly did not give a sh*t what people thought of him. I sometimes wondered how he ended up on Earth. He was different and highly perceptive, behaving as if he came from another place.
He formed close connections with those struggling to make to their art. Since his passing, the musicians I have spoken with about him all say the same thing: Taylor was unconditionally supportive of their music. He would regularly reach out to see how they were doing and was ready to give them constructive, meaningful feedback about their songs. The world needs more people like that.
Taylor was a true friend for many people, and an enemy to some. He listened to people with an open mind and appreciated what he heard. He resonated with people’s pain and felt everything on a deep level. He spoke up when he felt something was problematic or unfair, and towards the end of his life he caused rifts. He left a controversial legacy behind.
He struggled on a daily basis (physically, spiritually and financially) and channeled it all through his music. One of my favorite songs of his is entitled “Pencil Song” (on his album Whatever Dude, recorded in Greensboro at On Pop of the World Studio). I remember seeing him and his band The Laser Rays perform it at The Blind Tiger a few years back. I was so so enthused, so happy to hear someone playing something so unexpected and original that I cried and laughed at the same time.
The lyrics perfectly capture his joyful yet reckless spirit, punk ethos and his supreme closeness to his friends:
I want some ice cream
I want some pie
I want to stick my finger into my eye
so I’ll have a reason to go to the ER
I hope on the way there I don’t crash my car
Cuz I’ll be driving with one eye
Pumping gas with one dollar
I can drink a gallon of orange juice
with one swaller
If there’s a problem
I’ll just call my crew
and they will kick the sh*t out of you
Taylor Bays, you will truly be missed. Your smile was contagious. Your lyrics were genius. I feel like your spirit and music will live on for years to come.
Photo of Taylor Bays draped in a flag by Carolyn de Berry.
I had the pleasure of being on television for first time last week; it was very humbling and exciting! I was on UNC-TV / PBS (Public Media North Carolina) on May 2nd during “MUSE: The Arts Show” which will also included segments on A/V Geeks and Art-o-Mat.
I was featured in a super sweet 4-minute segment during which I played my new song “Boom Ba Da” (which will be out on Ritual Fire Records in July 2019). The track weaves a fun tapestry vocal loops + Latin rhythms + live piano. I was accompanied by three amazing roller skaters: Brandon Powell, Marquis O’Brian and Chase Clark. Directed by Morgan Potts, the segment was filmed at Skateland USA North in Greensboro NC. It was a glorious experience to work with such talented folks. I will never forget how much fun this production was.
Thanks to everyone who wrote to me with kind messages about seeing the segment on TV! I am super thrilled.
“Boom Ba Da”
Written, produced and performed by Quilla
Dress by Ann Tilley
Director & Editor
Marquis Darnell Brown
I’ll be on TV for the first time next week, it’s very exciting! Tune into UNC-TV / PBS (Public Media North Carolina) on Thursday, May 2nd at 8:30pm, and I’ll be on during “MUSE: The Arts Show” which will also include segments on A/V Geeks and Art-o-Mat.
I’m featured in a super sweet 4-minute segment during which I play my new song “Boom Ba Da”. It weaves a fun tapestry vocal loops + Latin rhythms + live piano. I am accompanied by three amazing roller skaters: Brandon Powell, Marquis Darnell Brown and Chase Clark.
Directed by Morgan Potts, the segment was filmed recently at Skateland USA North in Greensboro NC. It was a glorious experience to work with such talented folks.
The song “Boom Ba Da” will be available world-wide in the coming months, will keep you updated on that! 🙂
The music video for “Sacred Field” (the final track on my 2017 album You Got It) is now available to everyone who has access to the hive mind! The story behind this video is worth telling, and one that people in North Carolina may relate to. My family’s basement music studio got flooded in 2018 during Hurricane Florence, and again during Hurricane Michael, and this piece is a dramatization of those events.
At the time of the hurricanes, I was in the middle of making a short documentary entitled “A Storm of Crumbs” exploring the topic of being a musician and a new mother. The project was directed by my good friend Stefan Kei DiMuzio, a visual artist and musician originally from Japan who resides in Greensboro, NC. He actually lives in my old house, four blocks away from where I currently live, which made filming the scenes of daily life fairly easy. The flooding of our music studio shook up the narrative quite a bit. Since it changed the course of the film, so we decided to find a way to weave it into the documentary.
Stefan had a clear vision for how to re-enact the flooding in an aquarium, and to my astonishment, he built the set and filmed it all in a matter of days. The cinematography, visual effects, editing and the tiny set design were all done by Stefan. For those of you have have worked with me in my studio, you know that the resemblance between the tiny set and the real place is uncanny! Many thanks to Stefan’s partner Lauren, and my partner Marty, for being supportive and helpful during this interesting undertaking. Here are some production stills:
When we were editing the flood sequence, the idea popped into my mind to pair it with my track “Sacred Field” whose inspiration was climate change activism. “Sacred Field” an experimental drone piece that I made during the time of the Standing Rock #NODAPL Dakota Access Pipeline protest, which took place in North Dakota in early 2017. I had made the track in the span of two days after having some intense dreams about Standing Rock, and wishing I was there (but I was pregnant at the time, and could not travel). In my dreams, I was a hawk flying over the protestors’ camp, and the music I heard in my mind was loud, synth-laden, resonant and ominous.
The track “Sacred Field” ended up being very different than all of the other tracks on my album You Got It, but it was important to me to include it because I wanted to remember how those dreams felt, and what it was like to watch the protestors from far away.
I felt there was a connection between the track and the visual themes we were exploring in the flood sequence: man-made climate change, water being the source of life and the source of death, loss of protection due to grander forces, losing what is dear to you, adapting to new ways of being amidst loss, etc.
When pairing the flood footage with the “Sacred Field”, Stefan and I were awestruck to see that the audio lined up very nicely with the visual pieces, even having the exact same total length (3:10). While unplanned, the two pieces seemed to be in sync with each other.
The resulting piece was beautiful in and of itself, so we decided to release it in its entirety as a music video. A shorter, edited version of the flood sequence will appear in the “A Storm of Crumbs” documentary, set for release in April 2019. Stay tuned for that.
The vastness of climate change is hard to wrangle, and North Carolina was hit hard in 2018. Each person was affected in unique ways. Seeing the flooding interpreted onscreen has helped me process the complex feelings that arose in the aftermath of the storms. It’s a microcosm of what happened, and a way to re-imagine and heal the past.
Thanks for taking the time to read this far. 🙂 Stay toasty, my friends.
Recently, Quilla recorded an interview with @wallywallacesax on his awesome podcast, Off the Beat. Links below! They talk about music entrepreneurship and being a studio artist. A really fun conversation about work, life and inspiration. Quilla gives career advice to emerging artists, such as learning about publishing rights, understanding your skillsets and goals as an artist, etc.
Johanna Breed‘s solo debut EP Is It Too Late? (Ritual Fire Records) was released worldwide on November 9th, 2018. It was written and performed by Johanna Breed and produced by Quilla, whose background in vocal production helped put Breed’s vocal skills and unique lyrical style front-and-center.
Themes of confidence, joy, and control are expressed through Breed’s lyrics and the upbeat, danceable tracks are balanced by others that are more introspective. Breed delivers gems such as “Mister,” an anthem for warrior queens from the future, as well as the title track “Is It Too Late?” which explores anxiety in the age of accomplishment.
“With minimalist neo-soul production, gospel-tinged piano, layered vocal harmonies, fingersnap backbeats and a warmth to Breed’s singing, the record has a slinky exuberance. It’s a mellow future-funk statement of optimism and uplift. ” – John Adamian, YES! Weekly
“The results are impressive. The title cut from her debut EP (…) is saturated with funk interrupted by intervals of churchy organ riffs. Breed channels ’70s-era sax soul…” – Go Triad
More On the Artist
Johanna Breed is a neo-soul pop artist from Greensboro, North Carolina. She blends analog and electronic elements to create a fresh sound that she calls “future soul.” As showcased on her debut EP “Is It Too Late?” (Ritual Fire Records, 2018), her songs include beats, horns, synths, and layered vocals textured with talkbox. A multi-faceted performer whose strength lies in her powerful, expressive voice, Breed strives to create a sonic world that is uplifting and unexpected with vocal stylings inspired by her love of Soul, R&B, and Hip-hop.
April Harris, founder of Gate City Live podcast, interviews Quilla and bassist Keith Miller on healing, spirituality through musical expression, and much more. A compelling listen that includes live performances by the artists. Quilla sings “Eye to Eye” from her latest album You Got It. Keith Miller plays “Hope” from his 2012 instrumental album Live at Unity Chapel.
Artists at Work is a podcast from Artstitution, which is dedicated to building the arts through storytelling. Thomas Breeden interviewed Quilla for this series and notes, “she weaves her love of music, language, and visual aesthetics to define her musical identity”. They discuss creativity, time management, and not falling into self-indulgence.
The podcast can also be found on Apple iTunes Podcasts.