The DIY musical madness of Quinlan Cementhead

Quinlan Cementhead (L) at his home in Katoomba, while working to finish his latest music video, alongside his trusty photographer/videographer Callan Huggard (R). Photo: Callan Huggard Photography.

Quinlan Cementhead’s surprising musical backstory has now been exclusively detailed for the Sentinel. Story by Youth Editor Corin Shearston, Quinlan’s longtime drummer.

At the age of 21, with three music videos, two solo EPs and two singles already released under his name, DIY music maker Quinlan Cementhead is steadily carving out a unique niche of musical flavour to reside in.

Currently dwelling in his longtime home of Katoomba, NSW, Quinlan first rose to local prominence four years ago as the singer for Alienativ – a wild punk group which formed at St Columba’s Catholic College in Springwood.

Originally consisting of five members with early guitarist Reyhn Marvin, (Tigermoth), Alienativ became a simple quartet of drums, guitar, and bass, with Quinlan impressively handling frontman duties with zany flamboyance and a deeply rich vocal style.

Up until disbanding in early November 2019, Alienativ grew a fervent cult following of motley youth who flocked to see them perform in public and private Western Sydney and Blue Mountains venues such as Katoomba’s Junction 142 (Uniting Church Hall).

Armed with a setlist of irreverently sketchy rock numbers such as ‘Triple J Sucks’, ’Nang Salad’, ‘Get F**ed Aye’ and their most well-known song, ‘Teapot Trauma’, Alienativ were able to release four singles and one live album from 2018, Live At The Steakcastle, which was recorded in one night at Junction 142. 

Alienativ performing at Junction 142 on the night of recording Live At The Steakcastle. L-R: Rory Wilson, guitar; Alexander Giles, drums; Quinlan Cementhead, vocals; Sonny Kooma De Bie, bass. Photo: Alienativ/Facebook.

One year prior, it was at this same venue where Quinlan first discovered a debilitative physical condition concerning his left knee, after dislocating it while performing for Alienativ’s first public gig on November 10th, 2017.

Falling down amongst the crowd gathered in front of the low stage, including his mum (who all initially thought that the genuine agony was part of the act), Quinlan managed to push his knee back into place before being helped back up to sit on the stage to finish the set.

An original comic illustrating the night when Quinlan first dislocated his left knee in November 2017. Photo: Corin Shearston.

A year and a half later in early 2019, the same knee dislocated when Quinlan slipped on a wet wooden floor while moving into an infamous Katoomba share house/party den known simply as Gates (Ave).

Once again, people didn’t believe he was being serious.

After being CAT scanned and diagnosed, however, Quinlan finally received major reconstructive knee surgery this year on 3 August 3.

Now ‘equipped’ with seven scars, four titanium bone screws, one knee cap screw and one synthetic horsehair ligament, Quinlan Cementhead has most recently released a quirky collaborative single called ‘Floating’, with former Alienativ bassist Sonny (Fuq Boi N Tha Boiz, Quiet Carriage) on guitars and Corin (i.e. me) on drums. 

Audio of Quinlan Cementhead’s latest single, ‘Floating’. Video: YouTube.

While Quinlan and Sonny were living at Gates, with band members coming around for chaotic lounge room rehearsals, Alienativ began to dysfunction through too many peripheral distractions.

This led Quinlan to experiment with DIY recording processes on his own, through acquiring related TAFE skills and befriending local sound engineers. His first solo song of vocals and guitar was originally released for Alienativ.

In a filmed interview with entertainment promotion agency S.A.G.E.M early this year, Quinlan revealed, “Alienativ’s spiral of ending has been a push for me to start doing my own stuff and be more reliant on myself … a push of wanting to do something more.”

His fierce work ethic is evident in the fact that he prepared audiovisual content to produce and edit while recovering from knee surgery, resulting in the bed-bound partial completion of ‘Floating’, the music video for ‘I Wanna Be Beautiful’, and his second solo EP, ‘Who The F**k Puts Carrots On Pizza?

After spending large amounts of money on gear for a deteriorating band, Quinlan’s bold choice to become a solo artist has really started to pay off. 

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