Larger-than-life Merseyside noise-punk outfit Queen Zee are putting the show back into, well, shows, and now it’s time for their debut album.
Hey Zee, how’s it going? Ready for 2019?
It’s hectic, and I’m a bit daunted by what I’m going to be putting my body through in 2019.
Your debut album is nearly here, how did you approach curating the track listing?
Some of it was easy, a lot of was taken from the order we play live, making sure the energy is kept up throughout it. But the rest of it we just argued until someone gave up. I think that’s how all bands do it.
Was there a particular vibe you wanted to achieve?
This is our flag in the ground moment of ‘this is Queen Zee. Look at me.’ We wanted it to be brash, and rude, and raw and make your boyfriend blush.
What do you think Queen Zee do better than other bands around at the mo?
I’m sick of this bland wave of apathetic crap. It’s depressing that in the totally obscure and absurd world that is 2018, these bands still have nothing to write about and no passion to write it with. It’s minimalism to the point it’s nothing at all. Queen Zee is the antidote to that: it’s colour; it’s chaos, it’s community and passion.
How are you finding releasing on your own label?
I love having control over everything we do; there’s no compromise, this is 100% our doing.
Is building up the label as a hub for upcoming bands important to you, or are you mostly focused on your own music?
We’ve worked a lot with Zand this year, who is smashing it, as well as a few more releases for 2019 pencilled in. Really, I just want to create a home for artists who share our ethos, who want to create an antidote to the drab generation. I see Sasstone of more of a collective than a label; we go beyond the call of the label. It’s not so much about releasing records, its more how we act and interact as artists.
How much time do you spend working on the Queen Zee aesthetic, and where do you look for inspiration?
I don’t really spend time working on it as such; I’m just from that world. I think it comes across quite stylised to people who haven’t met my mother. But what’s wrong with colour? If I’m going to walk out onstage, why the hell wouldn’t I dress up? It’s bizarre to me. I’m here to put on a show. What happened to that line of thinking? I grew up watching the total insanity of The Cramps, Lux dragging himself around the stage dressed as Frankenstein while Ivy throws herself around in nothing at all. It stimulated all the senses.
You’ve previously mentioned that you’re working on album two already, where are you headed next?
Every time I write music, I just wanna write the best I can. I never sit down like “okay, let’s go drum n bass”. So really I think it comes down to how I measure what the best music is. I heard old school punk and now Radio 6 DJ, Tom Robinson say that he has to listen to something and it make him go, “Wow what the fuck was that?!” For him to be drawn to it. That’s the best way I can describe my attraction to music: originality, authenticity, a bit of bite to it and a whole lot of honesty. So album two will be me trying to push Queen Zee forward, so it doesn’t sound like album one, it sounds fresh and new. Yet is still just as raw.
Do you have ambitions to get it out fairly sharpish, or are you just super prepared?
Ideally, I’d release music constantly, it wouldn’t be album cycles, it would just be a continuous stream of output. It worked for the Beatles, and I heard they did alright.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing new bands right now?
There are loads; I think culturally we’re in a shift. Technology changed the playing field for the generation of bands before us; now it is the playing field for our generation. So we live in this world where there isn’t really anything to reference in terms of a bands lifespan. There are no rules anymore; bands are getting pumped full of money, with the best PR, the best teams and falling on deaf ears. Then we have The Chats posting Smoko on YouTube and exploding. Idles are getting a Top 5, with an aggressive punk record fuelled with political rage and plenty of swearing. Yet radio darling indie is struggling to match it. There is no set path to success anymore; you just have to be yourself, create your art and be as authentic and hardworking as you can. It’s daunting and liberating in equal measures.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve currently got in your diary for 2019?
Our debut album is coming out, which should be everyone’s most exciting thing of 2019. Or maybe even entire lives.
Taken from the February issue of Dork. Queen Zee’s self-titled debut album is out 8th February.
Words: Sam Taylor