Scranton electronic musician Quoth poised to release new music after hiatus
Following a paternity leave or sorts from the local music scene, a Scranton electronic artist has returned to live performance, and he’s brought new music with him.
Kenny Hill, aka Quoth, is poised to release his latest album, “Switch,” and expects the record to be available by early February at the latest.
The musician and his wife, electronic musician and local music promoter Stephanie Hill aka Lady Hectic, are regulars in the Northeastern Pennsylvania music scene known for performing their original music, Kenny’s club gigs as ’80s and ’90s spinning DJ Quoth and organizing Hectic Management events in and around Scranton.
But their roles in the music community took a back seat to their roles in their household when their daughter, Fallon, was born in July.
“I took a hiatus,” Hill said. “I wanted to make sure I was there in the fullest capacity. I had no thoughts of deejaying or music. All that went out the window. It was very enjoyable, because having gigs and things on your mind can get a bit overwhelming in a family setting.”
During Stephanie’s pregnancy, the couple discussed whether or not their musical personas would be shelved indefinitely.
“It came down to the point where we both needed the creative energy in our lives,” Hill said. “It’s a positive for both of us, being the creative people we are. We decided, ‘We’re not done. We’re just going to calm down.’ I was taking gigs as DJ Quoth and Quoth every week. Now I’m doing a gig every month or two months.”
And with Hill’s reaffirmation that he’d continue to perform came a return to his focus on a record he’d been working on methodically.
“I announced that I was working on (‘Switch’) two years ago,” he said. “I was a little slow with it, but I wanted to take my time. I would start a song and not return to it until months later, just to have a fresh take on it. Sometimes I’d deconstruct the entire song. Recently, I’ve been working on them a bit more frequently.”
Hill said the record stays true to the dancy vibe he’s come to represent as Quoth but has “a lot more of an ambient feel and sometimes a darker feel than normal.”
A self-described new wave and industrial kid from the ’80s, Hill prides himself in incorporating as many different styles into the Quoth catalog as possible.
“Maybe you’ll get a straight drum and bass song, maybe you’ll get a straight industrial song, but a lot of times you’ll get a combination of one or more. Most of the time, you’ll get a heavy industrial, almost hip-hoppy feel mixed with a little ambient or a little bit of a tonal sound. I try to mix whatever I’m feeling at the time.”
The project has more intention behind it than Quoth’s last release, an impromptu collaboration with Archbald electronic musician The Gary Goblins called “Spectre.”
“With ‘Switch,’ it’s more of getting ideas I’ve been working on for two years done and out,” Hill said. “For the past seven months, I’ve been working on hardware. All my previous albums have been laptop based. There will be some strictly hardware stuff, but I’m combining the two. I’ve gotten over my fear of hardware, and I’m working with synthesizers and drum machines that I can actually touch and make music with.”
One album cut, “Fallon,” was written for Hill’s now-six-month-old daughter prior to her birth. Writing songs for their child has been just part of the musical world the Hill’s plan to raise her in, which includes a living room that doubles as an exhibit of flyers showing the history of Stephanie Hill’s event promotion.
“When Fallon grows up, we want to be able to let her know that this happened and that it’s cool to be creative. And look at your mom; she’s an electronic artist and has organized shows and benefits in the area and was a major force behind these things that went down,” Hill said. “We want her to understand that being creative is a positive thing and you can do a lot with your creativity. And don’t be afraid to do that.”
In addition to releasing his original music in the near future, Hill is excited to host Beastie Boys Night as DJ Quoth on Feb. 2 at the Irish Wolf Pub in Scranton. Honoring one of his favorite groups, Hill will spin Beastie Boys music for four hours, a tribute he’s wanted to make since the death of Adam Yauch aka MCA in 2012.
“I’ve been a fan of the Beastie Boys since they had a song, “She’s On It,” in the movie “Krush Groove,” Hill said. “It was out before ‘Licensed to Ill.’ (Beastie Boys Night) is a thank you from me for putting out great music throughout my whole life.”
He’s also poised to deejay the First Friday Preview Show for Scranton Zine Fest. Hill will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. June 1 at The Leonard theater, and he praised event founder and organizer Jess Meoni.
“Jess puts together great things, and Zine Fest is something I really enjoy,” he said. “Last year, she asked me to deejay opening night. I loved it because she gave me clearance to play whatever I wanted.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
Upcoming Quoth performances
9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Feb. 2 at the Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton — Beastie Boys Night
6 to 9 p.m. June 1 at The Leonard theater, 335-339 Adams Ave., Scranton — First Friday Preview Show for Scranton Zine Fest