Ash Carvell, monikered in his music as Quarry, picked up the habit of guitar from his father, who, he recalls, would play songs by ear for hours on end. The daily practice passed down to his son, laid the foundation for Quarry’s songwriting. On June 25, the artist released his debut EP Is That What You Call Love? via Sony Music.
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Reminiscent of ‘80s era pop, Quarry’s synth-drenched seven-track collection is both distinctively retro while also refreshing. The emotional sophistication of his lyrics overlays with ethereal production textures to conjure up listeners’ inner-most vulnerabilities.
“It’s a reflection of everything I am. Little pieces of my heart trying to reach out and connect with people in a world that can feel quite lonely,” Quarry tells American Songwriter about the collection. It’s the best chance I’ll ever have at being understood. Whether it works or not, it’s the only way anyone will ever truly know me.”
When Quarry sits down to write a song, it’s not usually any particular thought or concept. Instead, he will explore sounds and chords on his guitar until he hits the right note, and is struck by a feeling that he says is like “a world opening up.”
His new song “Puppy Love” was born in one of the eureka moments. “Something clicked into place and all of a sudden it started to sound like a feeling, like a part of me that I needed people to understand, and that I felt like if I could just get it out, the world would know me that bit better,” he says.
Is That What You Call Love?, he says, features “little pieces of me.” “Puppy Tears” addresses a particularly complex piece of his emotions with candid vulnerability. The pioneering pop artist describes his music as “the place where the small moments meet the big feelings” and this song falls directly in line.
Quarry tried to leave his lyrical messaging open-ended, validating all potential interpretations from his listeners, but “Puppy Love,” he says, honed in on conflicting emotions.
“It’s about feeling like you wish there was a way to cross the invisible barrier between you and another person, and knowing you just can’t,” says Quarry. “Feeling angry, but understanding their side at the same time. Frustrated, but calm. Hurt, but wanting the best for them. Seeing your part in it and feeling sorry, but feeling like it was inevitable and you couldn’t have done more. Feeling misunderstood, and wanting them to understand. Wanting to be closer, but knowing that you have to move apart. The longer you wait the more it hurts, but it feels too important to just let go.”
As a songwriter, Quarry insists that state of mind is essential to the process, and the small things should never be overlooked. As for what not to do, he says, to never stop “learning,” “caring,” and “never let yourself fully give in to the pull of fear.” He adds, “Never lose sight of the magic round every corner, it’s not going anywhere.”
Quarry has new music on the books and plans to continue collaborating with other creatives and line up some tour dates for next year.
“Realistically there’ll never be enough time to do everything I want to do, but you know what, I’m actually glad of that,” says Quarry. “I hope the day never comes where I feel like I’ve seen everything this world has to offer. I hope I die with a lyric on my lips. It’s just who I am. It’ll never be over.”
Listen to Quarry’s new song “Puppy Love” below.