BY ABI WHISTANCE
Queen Zee are back with a bang after the debut of their killer self-titled album last week, playing their first show of the tour here at Hyde Park Book Club. Known for their eclectic style and raw punk performances on stage, Queen Zee have quickly risen to the top of the ever-growing DIY scene since their inception in 2017. We sat down with Zee to talk a little bit about the band, and of course the new record.
For those who don’t know, give us a quick summary of Queen Zee.
‘The Stooges covering the Scissor Sisters is what I’d probably say. Phil Taggart from Radio 1 called us ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show on steroids’ and I think I like that too.’
You’ve got a debut album you dropped on the 8th, tell us a little bit about that and the inspiration behind it.
‘It’s a bit of a weird one because it wasn’t really written with the intention of being an album as such, we won an award and were given 500 vinyl records to print so we were like, well, what can we put on it? So it’s really just a compilation of everything we had, remixed and remastered and stuff. But I do actually think it’s made it quite a nice record, it’s quite genuine and not forced-feeling. We’ve always been a band who’ve written quite freely so it just felt right for it to be this way instead of too planned and polished.’
The album feels a little bit more angsty, any reason for the shift?
‘I’ve always just wanted to make aggressive pop music. I never quite fitted in with Liverpool’s queer scene when gay clubs were just playing Kylie all the time, but I didn’t really have a place at punk shows either with all those macho dudes. I think Queen Zee sit nicely in the middle of all that, on one hand it’s quite poppy but it has its aggressive side too which definitely comes out on the album.
I think it’s pretty important we talk about Sasstone Records, it’s a bit Amanda Palmer and I’m here for it. Tell us about it.
‘We did everything else ourselves purely out of necessity, so we’d always done our own artwork and merch and sorted out our tours, right down to last night packaging the records and posting them. So when it came to our debut we just thought okay, we need to do it ourselves. We had a few offers from labels and it’s not that I’m opposed to them, I just want to make sure that when we do sign we are ready. I’ve always been quite aware that signing a big record deal can destroy a band and I want us to have a bit of longevity.’
You’ve carved your own little niche out of the punk scene, it’s hard to name any bands hitting the nail on the head with as much sass as you do. Are there any bands going at the moment that you’re looking up to?
‘There’s a band called DITZ from Brighton who are amazing, they instantly grabbed my attention- their new single Gayboy is really good. In terms of bigger bands I really like IDLES, we played with them a couple of days ago and I just thought they were amazing and had something important to say. There’s a lot of ‘punk’ bands around at the moment who are only in it because they think it’s ‘cool’ and don’t really have anything to offer, but I think IDLES genuinely have something about them. You need the ethos and energy to be in a real punk band like that, anyone can play punk music but without the ethos and energy you’re just a cover band.’
So, desert island discs- what are your picks?
‘If I was on a desert island there’d probably be something like Hollie Cook in there, something really summery. Maybe The Prodigy too- okay Fat Of The Land’s definitely one! I really love the Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack too, it’s such a chill album. In terms of all time favourite’s there’s a really good 90’s band called Space, they’re one of my favourites for sure so I’d have to say them too.’
Queen Zee’s debut, self-titled LP on their own Sasstone Records is available now. Full dates for the rest of their 9-date tour are listed below:
13/02 Bristol, Rough Trade 14/02 London, Lexington 15/02 Brighton, Hope & Ruin 20/02 Glasgow, Garage 21/02 Newcastle, Think Tank 22/02 Nottingham, Bodega 23/02 Manchester, Yes
Image Credit: Queen Zee