Toronto based post-punk garage rock duo Queens & Kings have just released the much-anticipated video for their new single “Earthquake”, the band’s 5th release. “Earthquake” features band member Brendan Albert tackling both drums and guitar at the same time, while Alissa Klug is a force to be reckoned with as lead vocalist and frontperson. We caught up with the band to chat about the new single, the video shoot, and how they gauge personal success in music.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Earthquake”.
Queens & Kings: This one is a special one to us and has been a long time coming! Usually I (Alissa) play drums in the band and Brendan plays guitar (with the occasional instrument swap), but on this song, Brendan plays BOTH instruments at ONCE! It’s how we play it live and how it was recorded. I wanted a way to be able to get out up front and go wild and be unencumbered by an instrument for some songs, so this is the plan we devised! It’s always so much fun to play live!
FTS: You just released a video to go along with the single, filmed in abandoned locations. Tell us a bit about the creative process behind that, and what it was like to shoot there.
Queens & Kings: This song is kind of multifaceted and can be seen as being about the singer personally, but is also a general statement about not letting anyone take your power away from you. About not being afraid to make some noise and stand up for yourself. There are all sorts of metaphors of powerful forces of nature that are uncontainable and wild. So we wanted imagery that would reflect the words and the mental state of the protagonist, or a general statement of the power we all hold within us. So these locations seemed like a good way to visually tell that story. They have been worn down but are still standing and because of the storms they have weathered, something new and beautiful started to grow. We did two days of shooting, the first with our friends Jesse Read from Dropout Entertainment who shot at this location, Danny Santos was our stage crew and Kirsten Sonntag did the behind the scenes photography. It was a great day! That location has since been demolished. Then Brendan and I did our own excursion for a second day of shooting where we did the shooting ourselves and did our own little photo shoot too. And we always edit our own videos.
FTS: I’ve always been so impressed with the way you both take turns on guitar, drums, and vocals so seamlessly – and still manage to have a huge sound for a duo. How do you decide who does what in each song?
Queens & Kings: Thank you! Officially, our designated roles for this band is I am the drummer and Brendan is the guitarist. We both sing and although I have sung most of the lead to this point, we have more coming that is more of a split so that may change. We are both very rhythm-centric people I guess you could say, so we both have a sort of percussive approach. It just makes sense for us to change it up sometimes to keep things interesting for ourselves and challenge ourselves creatively. We definitely have more coming where we swap instruments or Brendan plays both or variations on those things! And we have our tricks to make our sound sound fatter and bigger than just two people, haha!
FTS: What was the coolest (and/or weirdest) live show you’ve ever played?
Queens & Kings: Hmm, hard to choose! We have a lot of great memories but I’ll say our last show was pretty cool and unique! It was at The Killroom in Hamilton which is an indoor skate park. We played at the bottom of the bowl. So that was something new and the crowd was really enthusiastic and full of energy! Brendan is a long time skateboarder too, so it was a fun experience!
FTS: How do you gauge personal success in music?
Queens & Kings: This is an interesting one, because the way we would gauge it isn’t necessarily the way the industry as a whole would gauge it. There is a lot of just having to play the game that isn’t always at all an accurate reflection. I think for us, we decided to do this project first and foremost for ourselves as a kind of therapeutic release and a means to take the pressure off. It still can be stressful for sure, but I think having people listen to our music and like it and want to come to our shows is what makes us happy. We have been at a few parties where someone would put our music on and people would sing along…that is happiness right there!
Check out “Earthquake”, the new single and video from Queens & Kings!