QUAILS is the solo project of Sydney based singer, songwriter, producer Amy Pes.

From a background spanning indie/alternative through to being one third of electronic popsters Tokyo Denmark Sweden, Pes has collaborated with a number of electronic/dance artists including Tom Piper, Purple Sneakers, Jordan F, Skin & Bones and Barretso.

Now, QUAILS is set to take off with a six-track self-titled debut EP that brings together an ambient blend of dark pop with R&B undertones, glimmering synths, bold beats and emotive soul-infused vocals.

Tomatrax caught up with QUAILS to ask a few questions.
Where did the name Quails come from?

I have occasionally included in my lyrics themes around flight, and flying away.  In one of the tracks on my EP there is a lyric “I’m a dark dirty bird, you can hold me down, but I’ma fly“.  So when it came to working out a name for the project, I kept coming back to certain types of bird names and for me Quails was particularly striking.  Some species of quails are also super stunning, so you know, if the shoe fits  (¬‿¬)

What made you decide to use an alias rather than your actual name?
The ambiguity and mystery around using an alias appeals to me. Even though it’s short-lived once you find out who I am (and I have no plans of chucking a Sia), I like that in the first instance, people could think of Quails as either a DJ, or a solo singer, or a band.  It has some sort of intrigue and makes you dig a little deeper…
You previously were part of the band Tokyo Denmark Sweden, how does performing solo compare to being in a band?

I haven’t actually performed solo as yet! But I think in terms of everything else, and writing and recording, there is a whole lot more freedom to doing it on your own.  It’s kind of like your call on everything, you don’t need to check in or compromise on anything with anyone.  While that sounds great, there is also the downside of not really having anyone else to bounce off, or to motivate you and share your ideas with.

What made you pick ‘With you’ as your debut single?
‘With You’ is a nice, gentle intro into what I am doing as Quails.  It’s got almost a mainstream quality to it, but also has those emotive vocals, it builds, it’s moody.  To be honest, there are more definitively “Quails” tracks on the EP that in my opinion are real corkers, so I can’t wait to get the whole thing out.
The single features a few remixes, what’s it like to hear people remix your work?

Fantastic! It was great to have the guys take the track on a journey they felt it should follow.  There were some really tasty and varied remixes, all of which I love listening to!  I had someone say to me that they play the remix EP while at the gym, and that the don’t care that it’s the same song remixed 4 different ways they love it!

You’ve already received a fair amount of crucial acclaim and commercial success with your debut single, does this make you feel any pressure going forward?

I think there is always that pressure with putting out follow up material, but that said, I think the release is strong, and there are a couple of big tracks on the EP which hopefully people will love!
You have your debut EP out soon, how will the rest of the EP compare with your first single?

It’s all quite moody and emotive music, but each song is different and varied: one track is quite anthemic, another utilises more of a looped vocal which plays around with pitching.  There’s definitely a lot going on but it’s all carries its own vibe.

What made you decide to make your EP self titled?

It was my debut release as a solo artist, so I wanted to have it bold and succinct.   Being self-titled, it keeps it minimal and keeps the focus on the music itself.

When writing what comes first, the words or the music?

I have never really been strict on myself when writing. Sometimes I will sit down and write a whole bunch of lyrics and fit it to music later, but more often than not, I play around with an instrumental and build a melody, then workshop the lyrics.

What do you have planned once the EP is out?

I have no solid plans! I would like to hopefully tour, or jump on some festivals or fun support slots.  I am writing my second EP currently, so I will just keep forcing my music on the world until they take it!

Check out QUAILS’ Facebook page to find out more!