10Qs with Sasha Alcott of When Particles Collide

When Particles Collide, a duo consisting of husband and wife Sasha Alcott and Chris Viner, is releasing an EP entitled This Town on May 26th.  This is the sixth independent release from the pair and it’s available for pre-order through Pledge Music.  They’ll play two record release shows: Friday, May 29th at The Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge Mass and Saturday, May 30th at The Asylum in Portland.

Sashastudio1-e1417534758261Where were you born?
Bangor, Maine

How long did you live in Maine?
I lived in Maine from birth to age 14 then from age 32 until 40.

What was your most memorable non-musical job?
I’m in my 16th year of teaching high school chemistry. The memory never phase.

What was your most memorable gig?
Oh man, there are so many. Highlights: During our most recent tour we played a show in Lexington Kentucky with our good friends Mad Anthony and The Shanks. The room was packed, into all of the music, and we had an amazing, sweaty fun time with old friends and new. Oh, and people were singing along. And we sold a bunch of merch. And we had a hilarious van ride back to Cincinnati where we were all staying. There was peeing in a bottle, hilarious outbursts and people falling asleep mid sentence. We then got home and stayed up until 6 in the morning. It was glorious. Of course playing at The State Theater in Portland ME for this year’s State of the State was an amazing experience in a totally different but equally awesome way.

 

What was your worst gig?
There are many. But really they are all the same in nature. We’re in a new place, or maybe Brooklyn, and barely anyone is there, the other bands only show up for their set, they play like crap, and the sound is god awful horrible and we wind up going on two hours past our set time.

What album or artist has most influenced you as a musician?
I’m not really sure. I consciously do not make music to sound like some genre or artist in particular. I grew up listening to classic rock and Motown, but I’m not sure the exact ways that this music influenced me as a musician. I also purposefully try not to learn lots of other people’s songs so that I don’t fall into the habit of playing like the people I admire most.

Any advice for a musician starting out?
Work hard at getting better, all the time. Practice, practice practice, get out of your hometown, and don’t fall into the habit of playing mostly covers if you want to be an originals band.

WPCStudio2-e1416580853520What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
I don’t feel guilty about much these days.

What was the first album/recording you owned?
Michael Jackson, Thriller, on vinyl. I got it for Christmas.

What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to my friends’ bands: Album from Rogers Ohio, Mad Anthony from Cincinnati, The Shanks from Toronto ON, and Theodore Treehouse from Portland ME have all been on the listening devices recently.

What was the best concert/musical performance you’ve attended?
Helmet in Rochester NY circa 1994

What’s the origin behind your band name?
I’ve been thinking about how particles must physically collide for most physical and chemical phenomena to occur. And of course, the collision of air particles is how sound travels. And we’re all about sound!

 

Stephen Quirk

Prior to landing his dream job at Automattic, Stephen served as Associate Director of a Boston-based non-profit overseeing the organization's technology, visual design, social networking, and event planning. For twelve years, he worked in the Technology Department at his alma mater, Maine College or Art.

Additionally, Stephen has exhibited his photography in Portland, Maine, Boston, and California. He lives just outside of Portland with his wife and two children.