For far too long, the West Coast has laid exclusive claim to the sun-drenched sounds of beach life, namely, reverb-laden surf guitars and blissfully layered vocals. The Beach Boys and The Ventures first rode that wave, and contemporary indie bands like Wavves, Alvvays, Best Coast and Fidlar have revived the tradition. In St. Augustine, however, three Flagler College students are beating the Californians at their own game. Meet Quarter Roy.
Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Gabi Yost, lead guitarist Tyler Cooper and bassist Kaylie Gesky met during their freshman year and coalesced as a band in August 2018. Quarter Roy collects from a kaleidoscope of influences. “I draw a lot of inspiration from The Cranberries and Frankie Cosmos,” Yost told Folio Weekly. “Both bands have a way of portraying an idea and making it so effortless and beautiful, and I really like to try to incorporate that into QR songs, while keeping them relatable.”
“I think we do a good job at pulling from the genres that we each enjoy to meet in the middle and create what is Quarter Roy,” Cooper added, also mentioning Philadelphia lo-fi guitarist (Sandy) Alex G and British alt-rock quartet Wolf Alice as sonic inspirations. [Editor’s note: We also detect a glorious bit of Galaxie 500. — GV]
Putting pen to paper and plectrum to strings, songwriting is a collaborative process for Quarter Roy. “We have yet to get it to a science, but we have some methods to the madness,” the band said, collectively. “Sometimes we come to one another with songs that are already pretty much written and then see what we can add and how we can improve it. Recently, we have started with a topic and then pull phrases from those conversations related to the topics and brainstorm lyrics. We then add the melody and instruments as we go along! But it truly depends.”
Every band has one song that its members feel encapsulates their sound. For Quarter Roy, it’s their most recent release, “Monday.” Not only does the track feature all the bells and whistles—poppy drums, catchy guitar hooks and lyrics about unrequited summer love—it marks the trailhead of this indie-rock adventure.
“That one was the first one I wrote that sounded exactly how I wanted it to sound and how I heard it in my head,” said Yost. “It’s like a dream come true, and that’s essentially what this band is to me.”
Creating music is one thing; getting other folks to listen is another. Yost happens to be a marketing intern at The Amp, and her hands-on approach to promotion is something of a commodity to bands today. Still, she’s aware that it’s an uphill battle to get your band seen and talked about today.
“You’ve gotta take advantage of every social media site and make sure you’re posting valuable content frequently and gaining a connection with the people who are going to attend your shows,” she explained. “Since St. Augustine is a small town, flyers and word-of-mouth are good ways to self-promote. To keep the performing arts thriving, it’s very important to be in attendance at the events that go on, and not just when you have a gig to play. It’s all about keeping the music scene alive, as well as creating and supporting the beautiful art around you.”
Though college classes occupy much of their lives, the members of Quarter Roy still find time to make this project active. You’ll see the band’s name on flyers around town. They’re proud to call St. Augustine their base of operation.
“The DIY scene has been very good to us,” they said. “St. Augustine is also a great place to be a band and interact with the bands that also play here—very awesome and extremely talented.”