Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Quivers
Words by Willem Brussen
Tuesday 22nd June, 2021
Having had a US tour cancelled on the cusp of worldwide COVID lockdowns, it is an exciting prospect for cathartic guitar pop outfit Quivers to be back on tour around Australia, celebrating their latest album Golden Doubt. We got in touch with Quivers to find out the influences behind Golden Doubt.
On their second album, Golden Doubt, Quivers find beauty through the mess of life - examining love and heartache while simultaneously celebrating friendship and solitude across the record. Friendship, a theme throughout the album, is evident even in the way that it was recorded, with the core group of the band consisting of Sam Nicholson, Bella Quinlan, Michael Panton, Holly Thomas expanded, as they enlisted an extended group of friends featuring Angie McMahon, Merpire, Jo Syme of Big Scary, Georgia Knight, Hannah Blackburn and Feelds who sing as a choir on a number of the songs. Quivers are in a great lineage of jangle-pop bands, wearing their influences on their sleeve. Quivers venture beyond the guitars and drums and enlist strings and piano on a number of the songs to great effect. Lead singer Sam Nicholson says of the album,“the album tries to bottle the rush of feelings and fears when you give in to falling for someone. It’s also an album in love with other albums, and the other bands around us.”

‘Gutters of Love’ sets the scene for the album, an album coming to terms with ideas of falling in and out of love. At once hopeful and on the other hand world-weary. The upbeat instrumentation juxtaposes against the largely anxious lyrics. Though the lyrics dig to the murky depths of the heart, it remains accessible and relatable throughout the album. ‘Nostalgia Will Kill You’ is a song filled with heartache and yearning, about wanting to go back to a relationship despite knowing that it’s perhaps not the best. This confusion of love is also explored on ‘Hold You Back’ and ‘When It Breaks’. ‘Videostores’ is a reflective nostalgia filled song that meanders along, and centres on the idea of change. Much of the album feels like the inner thoughts of Sam, however on ‘Overthinking’ the album shifts, it is essentially a duet between Sam and Bella Quinlan. Having delved the depths it comes back up, with the refrain, “stop overthinking, everything will be fine”. Like the calm after the storm of emotions, album closer ‘Golden Doubt’, is a zen meditation; “to be here, to be now is to be golden doubt”. This last track shows the band at their most tender, and also demonstrates their versatility in songwriting. There is a poignancy in Golden Doubt that centres around love but is about so much more than this, it has cathartic sing-along moments coupled with more tender meditations on life.

“An album in love with other albums…” is an accurate description as there are so many reference points for Quivers sound that one could choose from, but for me, the instrumentation sounds like the Go-Betweens at their most upbeat and summery, whilst Sam’s vocals have the sincerity and lyrical vulnerability of Tim Freedman from The Whitlams. There is a universality in sound and lyrical content that anyone who has loved and lived with a battered heart can relate to. It is catharsis wrapped up in neat jangly guitar pop.

As listeners spend time with the recently released Golden Doubt and with the tour on the horizon, we caught up with Sam from the band to find out what inspired him and the band in the recording of the album.

The Roches - 'Hammond Song'
This singing of the Roche sisters on this song is my favourite singing ever. My partner introduced me to 'Hammond Song' when we started dating - she was in a choir called 'Crying on the Eastern Freeway' (best name ever) and they covered it. Something about this song just kills me, and makes me long for a time before auto-tune. They are the most incredible singers, three sisters, and the melody seems so effortlessly linear. The song is so sincere, but also so funny. Then there's just the best bizarro production choices, like Robert Fripp's guitar wizzies and the triangle that insistently keeps time. Also, sidenote, on our ill-fated 2020 USA Tour we were at one point going to play in the town of Hammond, Louisiana. I'm glad we didn't, because we'd gone down to Hammond, we'd never have come back! I could honestly listen to this song on repeat for a week.

Chad VanGaalen - 'Rabid Bits Of Time'
Do you ever think about your Sliding Doors going deeper into music moment? I wonder if I'd never heard of Chad VanGaalen's Soft Airplane (2008) album I'd still be playing in reggae bands and wearing vests. It is self-produced in his home in Calgary, Canada. It's all homemade instruments, sci-fi imagery, mechanical percussion, and just enough folk in it's oddball rock to ease you in before you listen to his whole catalogue which gets weirder and weirder and heavier. Who else can sing in offkey but beautiful harmony "I can hear the cries of the dead, maybe it's your neighbour beating his dogs in the basement" and make it sound so damn pretty and pop? Twee-ish but dark as fuck. He also produces other bands (Women, Alvvays, Viet Cong). Oh, and in 2018 he made a soundtrack for Rick & Morty! Oh, and, haha, he is also a cartoonist and makes wild and strange animated videos for his own music but also for others like Andy Shauf, Shabazz Palaces, J Mascis and Father John Misty. Father John Misty would have been on this list of influences list a few years ago but now I find him to be kind of insufferable. Like he would be that person at a party who talks your ear off but never asks questions or shows an interest in anyone else.

Ringo/The Beatles/ YouTube rabbit holes
I love a late night YouTube adventure (tonight's favourite video: 'Mariachi Connecticut Serenades a Beluga Whale'). Many late night YouTube adventures for me have been watching interviews with The Beatles. Ringo especially cracks me up. Now, I know it's a cliche but I can't imagine growing up without The Beatles. When I was ten I got cancer (Rhabdomyosarcoma) and I was super-happy about it because my family gave me The Beatles Box Set - all the albums and singles. And I got to eat fish fingers and go to Camp Quality with one of my best friends (who'd already gone through cancer). I was so happy about all this and I honestly feel like listening to The Beatles (and family) got me through the treatment and the less-good-bits. Then, the wildest part, through Make-A-Wish-Foundation I got to make-a-wish and asked if I could meet a Beatle, and so of course it was Ringo who answered the call and let our family come backstage at his concert. We talked for over 30 minutes, and I remember us talking about trout fishing in Tasmania (I grew up in Tasmania), and how much George Harrison and Eric Clapton loved fishing in those alpine lakes. My face hurt from smiling so much.

Sharon Van Etten - 'Every Time the Sun Comes Up'
Sharon Van Etten is all-time. The album Are We There and Jessica Pratt's On Your Own Love Again are also a very specific time for me when we first started this project and called it Quivers. Sharon's songs, lyrics and delivery are just so commanding and devastating. I saw her perform at the most amazing small festival in Tasmania called "A Festival Called Panama" after this album and Sharon and her band just slayed it. I met her and she was so ridiculously real and friendly and kind. She said I could house-sit when she went on tour! Then more recently my partner and I saw her again in Hobart touring that latest record and again she held us in the palms of her band's hands. I think now too, it's a reference point everyone in the band can get behind and we should definitely play her whole catalogue on our upcoming Australian tour.

Berta Bigtoe - 'Hold The Fort'
When we were scouring Bandcamp to find bands to play with on our ill-fated 2020 US tour this band, Berta Bigtoe, from Chicago gave me hope that there are incredible bands and people and music scenes everywhere. This song, and another called ‘Can You Listen?’ are just gems. Bandcamp is just a wealth of gems when you go fossicking. Holly and I spent so many hours organising US music visas and DIY booking a 20+ show US tour around our return to SXSW, only to time it just right with when the world went into crisis. Finding songs like this one kept me sane and made me very excited to tour, and in a funny way softened the blow of cancelling a tour we'd put so much work into. I hope we can play with Berta Bigtoe when touring the US again becomes possible. I also just love this song so much and knowing it exists. Touring with bandmates you love and trust is the best thing, as is meeting all the other bands and people as you move about, and we will never take it for granted anymore. We can't wait to tour our own new album around Australia in August and September, and hopefully overseas when the world is in a better place again.
Golden Doubt is out now. Head to to purchase the album on limited vinyl, and catch Quivers on the road this August and September.