|Photos and video by Matthew Keever|
In the back corner of Fioza Café
, self-proclaimed "folksy-bluesy-rock" artist Nathan Quick belts his heart out to a group of barely 20 people, not all of whom are listening. Quick's raspy moan echoes through the mostly empty shop and all but drowns out the espresso machines and milk steamers.
"Pretty good turnout," he chuckles later as he struts outside after the short show, a cigarette already pursed between his lips. He's dressed in a plaid button down and tight jeans, which are rolled up. He wears sizeable glasses and dark cowboy boots confidently. His mustache quivers when he laughs.
Quick has been hosting an open mike at the café, where he also works, for roughly eight months.
During the summer, winter and spring breaks, when his friends are in town from their respective colleges, the gigs are a hit, and the café unquestionably forgoes its capacity set by the Fire Marshal, but without the support of old high school buddies, sometimes as few as five people show.
"It's extremely difficult to get people to come out on a Wednesday night; it's really frustrating at times, but it's really rewarding at times as well. It's always fun to do, and I enjoy playing whenever I can."
Quick works, on average, 35 hours a week. He lives at home and, although he's taking this semester off, is also pursuing a degree.
"I'm not really sure what it is right now [I'll major in], but I'm working on basic classes."
Quick has been playing guitar for six years. In high school, he spent a lot of time with Chris Rehm, the lead guitarist and vocalist for The Riff Tiffs.
"I got into it because we hung out a lot. He taught me my first chords," Quick says.
Curran Rehm, Chris' older brother, who played rhythm guitar for the Riff Tiffs, formed a band with Quick in December - Where There is Sound, It Is Good - and the duo, along with the rest of the band, plans to record an EP during the Summer. Curran is currently studying architecture at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Curran's role in Where There Is Sound... is different than his role in the Riff Tiffs. "A lot of [our music] is very melodic, and he's playing a lot of the melody lines also," Quick says. "It's a good mix of both [lead and rhythm]."
For as much as he works and strives to save its, money is not a very important aspect of Quick's life or his musical endeavors.
"Funding isn't that big of an issue," he explains. "When people come to shows, there's usually a door fund that goes to the band to save up for making this album."
Quick and his crew are much more concerned with booking shows and gaining support.
"A growing fan basis is always good," he says. "Seeing people come to the shows; that inspires all of us to play even harder and play even more."
More than anything, Quick wants to be heard.
"I just really want to get the music out there... to let people hear what we have to play and what we have to say. Hopefully it hits them like it hits us."
He's worked as a barista for almost two years and is only 19 years old but, at the end of the day, music is his life.
"It's the love of my life, and it's the biggest frustration of my life."
"Sounds like a woman, doesn't it?"