WE BLEED AUDIO | Artist Profile: Curious Quail

In case you missed it, we here at Bleeding Audio are hosting a very special music showcase playing tribute to The Matches and fundraising for post production on our film.

The event takes place on November 15th at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, and you can purchase your tickets RIGHT NOW!

We have a number of crazy amazing artists on this bill, and here’s an EXCLUSIVE look into San Jose’s indie rock band and musician collective, CURIOUS QUAIL.


Tell us about you and your band!

Heyyy so I’m Mike! I started Curious Quail in 2008 as a solo project and it’s kind of grown out of control at this point. We’re based in San Jose, and our official lineup is Alan Chen on Violin, Joey Guthrie on drums and orchestral percussion, Josh Hotlosz on bass and I play guitar, sing and make music with Nintendo Gameboys…though we consistently have guests and former members joining us on stage, in videos, etc. Sometimes there are 7 -8 of us on stage, it’s zany. 

Why do you choose to make music? 

I don’t really have a say in it – I’ve been humming melodies and tinkering with instruments since I was a kid. Being something other than a musician, or rather – NOT making music hasn’t ever been on the table for me. 

What do you love about it?

Knowing that you can pour your heart and soul into something and that it can impact someone else – the first time someone told me a song of ours had helped them get through a really dark period in their life, like – you can’t put into words how incredible that is. I also love the iteration – sometimes I’ll just have a melody or a chord progression, and seeing what it turns in to over time is always fascinating. Hearing a finished product and going back to the first demo is always such a trip.

What do you hate?

Honestly I don’t HATE anything about making music. Sure I wish at times it were easier to spread the word, or that it was more viable as a living profession but those are just inconveniences and make me strive to do better. 

What has been your favorite fan interaction / moment that validated you as a musician and artist?

Alright so I think I already answered the fan interaction above, so here’s a good validation moment – the first time I looked out at a crowd of people singing along to our music and it was a bunch of people I didn’t know. They knew the words, and I didn’t know them – and that’s powerful. That’s humbling. That’s 10/10 would do again

Tell us about The Matches.

THE MATCHES. You can’t really be a musician in the Bay Area and not have some history there. These are the guys who made it happen – they are the definition of a band ‘putting in the hours’, from the busk sessions outside major shows to their INSANE live energy to the relentless notion that everyone has a place in the community. It was a shame when they went on break, and I had the pleasure of seeing Jon’s Bird by Bird project a few times but it wasn’t until we played a barn show together with him drumming for Finish Ticket that we really met / interacted. He reached out to us about recording our next record together and we couldn’t be happier with how that worked out – Jon was instrumental in making After The Lights Failed the monster it was.

Which Matches song are you going to cover and why?

BORDERLINE CREEP. We’d originally discussed a few other songs but Alan came up with a pretty exciting idea on how to approach this song “as Quail as possible” and we’re stoked to share it with y’all. 


We’re already big fans of Curious Quail, but with an orchestral, chip-tune version of Borderline Creep on the table, our excitement for WE BLEED AUDIO in November just spiked to 110%.


Curious Quail is an indie rock band and musician collective from San Jose, California fronted by singer / songwriter Mike Shirley-Donnelly. Formed in 2008 as an excuse to mix rock music, orchestral instrumentation and the soothing sounds of 80’s and 90’s video game hardware, Quail has created quite a name for themselves with praise from The Bay Bridged, NPR Music, CBS Radio’s LIVE105 and CMJ. They have released two full-length records, one EP, and an award-winning single that has received airplay on radio stations around the country. 

They’ve toured the west coast, twice performed at LIVE105’s BFD festival, headlined San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall and yes – one of their instruments is, in fact, a Nintendo Gameboy. 

Keep up to date with Curious Quail on their social channels & listen to their music here

facebook.com/CuriousQuail // twitter | @ CuriousQuail // instagram | @CuriousQuail