If you don’t know Alissa Klug and Brendan Albert yet… you will. The Toronto-based duo behind Queens & Kings offers up a powerful garage rock sound that is not to be missed. With the release of their debut single “You Got Me”, we caught up with the pair to learn about the message behind the new song, their influences, and what shapes their sound.
From The Strait: Your latest single “You Got Me” has quite a powerful message behind it, finding a parallel between political messages and sleazy come-ons. Tell us more about that!
Alissa: Some of the things that come out of the mouths of certain prominent politicians—I don’t even think names are necessary— just show such weakness in moral character… blatant sexism and prejudice, changing stories or denying things that they’ve said—I mean, things that have been documented, filmed and are just indisputable, speaking on topics publicly without bothering to educate themselves on those things first…It’s like we know we’re being fed a line, but some people are still buying into it..I don’t know if it’s just cheap and dirty entertainment value or what, but we will all pay the price. It’s pretty baffling and heartbreaking at the same time…
FTS: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences, and how have they helped to shape your sound?
Alissa: For me, I have been music-obsessed since I was a little kid and always made it my mission to dig a little deeper than what was being force-fed to me on the radio or mainstream media. I listened to a bit of everything—well almost everything over the years and from all over the world …From jazz to high life to Brazilian forró and MPB to Cuban timba and son, post-punk, electronic, new wave…you name it. I can even be inspired by non-musical sounds..like the sound of clothes in the dryer…but I think I have always been most drawn to female vocalists, being one myself, and have always listened to a lot of high energy rock with a strong female presence—Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, Savages, PJ Harvey, Spinnerette, Kite Base …those are among some of my faves…
Brendan: I have always gravitated to solid groove and melodic hooks… mainly it has to have a solid rhythm and catchy melodies. My main influences growing up for my drumming and guitar playing would include Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Steve Miller Band, Black Sabbath, Metallica etc for the early years and then later my listening tastes were Soundgarden, Nirvana, STP, Chilli peppers, Weezer, Alice In Chains etc and currently lead into bands more like Queens Of The Stone Age, The Kills, Spinnerette… I’ve also listened to TONS of other artists from all genres over the course of my life, from Peter Gabriel to The Police to Nine Inch Nails….
FTS: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Alissa: Our music can be compared to other bands—and has been—sometimes bands that we don’t even necessarily listen to, and that’s cool. I think we both have our influences but also strive to not sound like anything other than ourselves…because what’s the point of sounding like what’s already out there, really. We just want something that is authentically us, both individually and as a union—what can only come out of this particular merging of these particular two people. We both have our own influences and there is some definite overlap, but I think the differences also give us something that is unique. We definitely both thrive on solid guitar hooks and interlocking rhythmic parts between us. Style-wise, we could definitely fit on a playlist with some of our influences mentioned before. For us, our music is just a release…pure and unrestricted…
FTS: If you could perform anywhere in the world, at any venue, where would it be and why?
Brendan: Madison Square Gardens.. My whole life I’ve heard “You know you’ve made it once you play Madison Square Gardens” If there is a pinnacle in your music career that is a good one to strive for. To stand on that stage and know Led Zeppelin’s performance in the movie The Song Remains The Same was recorded there, to share the space of that absolutely legendary show would be a huge highlight for me.
Check out the video for Queens & Kings debut single, “You Got Me”!