(John Michael Cordes, QUOR’s Drummer — Left)
Pounding rhythms; precise blastbeats; ecstatic double bass; jumping grooves; graceful style; passion. These are all terms that work together to define a hard rock/metal drummer’s playing — they also all exemplify John Michael Cordes, a 23 year old drummer for the band QUOR, located in San Diego, California. Not only did I have the chance to perform in a band with Cordes for several years, but I also reached out to him for an interview about drumming and the band’s recent success.
1. Let’s get this out of the way, because I’m sure everyone reading is wondering: why the name QUOR? How did it come about?
There are two sides to this story *laughs*. One day Brian was driving down the coast highway 101 from a comedy show when he drove by a “Liquor Store” sign, and the “L” along with the “I” didn’t work. It was kind of ominous, looking [at the sign] with the fog behind it and everything, so it was just that one thing he saw and it looked radical. The other side to it is the fact that we think the whole image thing in metal is just annoying and we are kind of over the superficial crap that goes with it; we love that stuff and think its cool but we want to display to listeners and artists that as long as you just make art and are passionate about making great songs for people…why the heck should anything else matter? After all, we are musicians; isn’t this suppose to be about the music? *Laughs*
2. You guys recently had your material featured in the movie Pizza and Bullets. How did that opportunity come about, and how did the crowd react to the show after the movie ended?
3. Can you explain what the song writing process is like for QUOR and how you add to it?I wish I really could describe it to something comparable that makes sense… The closest way I could describe it is: It’s strange and beautiful as well as instinct. We go into the rehearsal room with no prerequisite to what we think a song “should sound like”. Someone will have an idea for a riff or vocal melody, or ill have a beat and Doug [who plays bass for the band] will have a bass line and we ride with it. I do what I can to add to it in a way where I want to participate with the musical experience with the song, I really don’t want to be the guy that just “plays beats” — I do what I can to always try and come up with something that makes the drums a cool instrument to listen to.
4. You guys have been on tour a few times. What is your favorite tour experience, and why?
I would definitely have to say the tour we did last year and we played the Google/Netflix party. It was truly a humbling and honoring experience to be asked by two of the most powerful companies in the world to have us be their live entertainment for the evening in gorgeous San Francisco. It was my favorite experience not because of the “social status” or “bravado” — it was because when we were offered the opportunity and played it I was just thinking, “Wow, what we are doing is working and we are reaching people”. So to me that was what was a very enriching experience.
5. The single, “Human Paradigm”, was just released. How do you feel this song represents future material, and what can we expect from the next release?
The song I believe very much reflects on the bands mentality of always trying different things, while also just not being afraid to steer forward and race for the finish line for meeting our goals. The next release is going to be much different from the current one; it still is “QUOR” for the sound but that is all I will say. After all, all I can share is only what I think of the song; I don’t enjoy sharing my thoughts on our music much because I think one of the most beautiful things about art and music is how anyone can listen to it and have it become an enriching and beneficial experience in their own way, through their own personal interpretation.
6. How has the music scene in San Diego treated QUOR? When you started playing live shows, did you find it welcoming, or was finding the right audience difficult?
When we started to play shows it was hard in the beginning; however I think it is for any band anywhere. Over time though a lot of our friends starting bringing people who we may not have yet known. I think building any kind of a reputation in general though does take time anywhere.
7. How did the band form?
The band was sort of already together. the project I was previously in, “Fates Demise”, came to a wrap; the other members of QUOR actually found me because I put up an add up on Craigslist stating my resume which they were impressed with. We jammed together in an hour to hour rental practice, and the rest is history!
8. Do you have any pre-show rituals? If so, what are they?
10. Do you have any tips for aspiring musicians?