Ever wondered how a vegan musician finds vegan food in unknown cities whilst on tour? Where are the best places to play a show if you’re needing your cruelty free candy? Welcome to a new series which gives you the lowdown on how your favourite vegan artists manage it, and where they’d recommend you get your fix.
VC: Hi Quentin! Thanks so much for sitting down with Vegan Connections to talk about your music and tour diet. For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your projects: Throw Me Off the Bridge and Birds in Row?
QS: Hi Graham, thanks to you too!
I fit into the band Birds In Row (Deathwish Records) as the bass player, and joined approximately three years ago. To me it’s my ‘family’ band, because the two other members (vocalist B and drummer T) are the people I started playing music with twenty years ago. We’re punk-rock in style, fused with hardcore. I would say we’re very much ‘urgent’ and raw, aggressive but with losing any emotion.
Throw Me Off The Bridge is my solo project. I started it six years ago. It’s got a vibe of indie-folk singer-songwriter stuff, crossed with the mindset of post-hardcore and with some moody pop influences!
VC: You’ve toured extensively with Throw Me this year across the UK and Europe, and with Birds in Row in the States during late 2016. How has the last year been? Things seem to have really ramped up from an outside perspective.
QS: The past three years have been crazy for touring. With Birds In Row, we’ve been everywhere! It’s been pretty extensive, yes. In between Birds In Row shows, I was doing Throw Me whenever I could. It’s good to do that though, because I discovered so many cities, but I also discovered a lot about myself and perhaps even the limits I have within myself. I certainly do not regret anything, but it’s been nice to slow things down a little and take time to compose myself right now – with both projects – then I can feel ready to go back on tour later.
VC: I believe you and B are both vegan, but how long have you been vegan? How did the change in diet come about?
QS: I’m actually not vegan! Though I always cook vegan at home and have done so for about eight years now. And when I go out to eat, I always eat vegan then too. So I eat vegan a lot.
For me personally, I think I learnt to cook properly by trying to cook vegan food – it really helped me to cook better meals. Before I did that, my cooking followed a similar pattern: I was always making the same things. The change in diet originally came with all the tours and the fact we come from a pretty DIY scene. The best meals we had on tour were always vegan and I noticed my body would feel better during the entire day if I’d eaten only vegan or vegetarian.
VC: You’ve been all around Europe this year. What has been your favourite country or city to play in and why?
QS: I would have to say Germany is the top country for me. The best promoters I met were from there and some of them have become really good friends. Also, during the first tours I did with Throw Me, I had the chance to play attics, parks, villas etc. That was really cool and interesting to do as an artist.
In terms of my favourite city, I would say Benicarlo in Spain, where I played on the last tour I did. It’s a perfect example of a small city no one knows about, much like where I live (Laval, France) where everyone comes to the shows, even if they don’t know the bands playing! To put it into perspective, I played to three people in Madrid and the next day one hundred people turn up in Benicarlo. Everyone showed up right on time and stayed right until the end. So cool.
VC: Where do you find the best places to eat vegan on tour? What have been your favourite restaurants and are there any places you’d recommend people try?
QS: I have had good and bad experiences everywhere I guess, but I would say ‘Benicio Live Gigs’ is a great place for vegan food. It’s a little venue lost in the mountains in north Italy. They have some awesome vegan options.
We also kind of have places we go to almost ritually. Places we like to always go to after a show – such as Zeus Pizza in Berlin or Curry & Co in Dresden. Germany is great for a fantastic vegan meal.
VC: Music will always be influential in getting a message out, all of your bands focus heavily on a social aspect of life. How important a role do you think music plays in bringing topics such as animal rights, and indeed human rights & all that goes with them, to the public’s attention?
QS: I think that every message we are able to pass over via music can be really comforting for some people in need, people looking for an outlet. It can make you think, feel or make sense of a situation. I think, with music, it can create a safe place in people’s minds.
VC: You’ve played in Glasgow with both bands quite a bit, you played the Flying Duck in May – a show we reviewed. How did you find Glasgow as a city, and how would you rate it out of 10 for vegan food?
QS: If there’s a bad side to touring, it’s that you don’t get enough time to see the city – even if you’ve been there several times. Glasgow – and Scotland in general – always have had an exotic feel to me because of the architecture. I’m also a fan of the accent! I really enjoyed Glasgow, I wish I could see more of it.
I don’t think I tried too many restaurants in Glasgow for the reasons stated above, but the last catering I received was from yourself, Graham, and I will give that an 8/10! 😉