According to NME, QTY is the NBT.
That sentence might not make sense to many, but Dan Lardner, the lead singer of NYC two-piece QTY, would probably love it. Joined by guitarist and longtime friend and collaborator Alex Niemetz, the 27-year-old Lardner will make his first trip to Florida as one of the opening acts for Bad Suns at Culture Room November 4.
For as fuzzy and as loud as the duo can get onstage, "QTY" is a properly tongue-in-cheek name.
“It started out as a joke,” Lardner says. “I had been calling Alex ‘cutie’ because of these clementines. She has this red hair, and they have this face on them that I always saw at all the bodegas. I was just fucking with her, I guess.”
When they needed a name for their new project, the xx’s Romy Madley Croft suggested they not only use Niemetz’s nickname but also spell it QTY. Lardner was instantly sold.
“I got really carried away with the phrasing of it," he says. "I really wanted to name the LP QTYQLTYLP1. I wanted to make QLTY T-shirts. But I don’t do any of those things. Maybe later.”
Although a number of outlets have compared the duo to early Strokes, that's a bit misleading. Lardner and Niemetz have much more in common with their heroes, including David Bowie, the Ramones, and Velvet Underground.
“That era of glam rock is my favorite. It’s my passion,” Lardner says. “[Niemetz] and I also love that Drag City [Records] stuff — Silver Jews, Smog, Bill Callahan. It’s a mixture of those two things that bonded us musically.”
Lardner sings the praises of the DIY scene in New York, a city known for and crowded with gifted rock bands, while admitting that succeeding in the music scene is much tougher outside his comfort zone.
“Outside of New York, it’s hard," he says. "There’s some trick to it, I guess. I don’t know what it is.”
For this initial big push across the country, Lardner and Niemetz are bringing little pieces of home to keep them company. He has his good-luck charms such as plastic dinosaurs, and she has her sock monkey.
For the long miles between cities, Lardner also has on hand the definitive biography of one of his favorite musicians, Gram Parsons: Twenty Thousand Roads. His enjoyment of the book is, well, forthcoming.
“Man, it’s so much about his fucking family," Lardner laughs. "I’m like 180 pages into it. It’s dense, this book, and Coon Dog, who is his biological father, just shot himself in the head. I’m getting there.”
The biggest relief from life on the road is their set each night.
“We play pretty fucking hard," he says. "I just finished wrapping up my finger after ripping it apart at the last show. We give it our all. We’re in the van for so long, and then we have 30 minutes to win over as many fans as we can.”
His ears perk up when he hears how intimate Culture Room can be.
“Shows like that in particular... there’s like people handing me shit, coming up onstage — when there’s no barrier or anything — people kind of shoving things in your face. I don’t know,” he says, laughing. “People, drunk people, just get up onstage and play things. Whatever, I’m into all those weird things and interacting. These shows we’re playing lately, though, have been the biggest stages for QTY so far, so it’s been an adjustment.”
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Still, just a few years shy of 30, he says of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, he’s “trying to mellow out a little bit.”
But perhaps not this day.
“Alex just walked in. She brought me a thing of whiskey. If you wanna continue the interview, it can get real good from here.”