Queen Zee let us into their World before Zutons Show!
Before their penultimate show with the Zutons, I sat down with Dave and Zee, two fifths of ‘Queen Rock’ quintet Queen Zee – To discuss touring, Brexit, and bunkers filled with cats.
W: How many dates are you doing with the Zutons and how did these support slots come about?
Z: I think 6? It all started a couple of years ago when they, well Dave specifically, took a bit of an interest in us. We had been offered slots at Reading and Leeds Festival but had to turn it down as we had no guitars! They lent us a guitar, and their bassist Russ (Pritchard) lent us a bass which meant we could then do the shows. They’ve been big supporters since day 1, so to be offered these support slots on their reunion tour is really nice.
W: Do you view opportunities like this as educational in a way? In terms of looking at how a band such as the Zutons operate on and off stage etc.
D: You learn a lot watching bands like this who’ve toured for over 15 years. You just look at their set up and think ‘that’s sorted’.
Z: A lot of the bands we’ve toured with have been new bands though, and they’re also really exciting to be around, they all have something to prove, you know? They’re fresh, and new, and every night is full of energy in little venues. Whilst touring with the Zutons is like a legends kinda tour – they’ve come back with an album to loads of sold out shows. Education wise, it’s there all the time, looking at how to control a crowd, and looking at why certain songs work. The Zutons are great, down to earth with everyone they meet.
W: You released your debut album earlier this year. How has the reaction to it been?
Z: Bizzarrely good! We won an award at Great Escape Festival, and the prize was 500 of your own records pressed. But we didn’t have a record. So we basically took all our demos, got them remastered, and that was our debut album. NME gave it 4 stars, Dork gave it 5/5, and it’s had good radio/press. It’s been a really nice pleasant surprise. It’s a naive record that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s just us.
W: Within your music, you discuss issues such as transphobia, homophobia and the gender pay gap. Have you ever found it problematic discussing these issues being from a working class northern town?
Z: These issues exist within all echelons of society. Whether you’re from Birkenhead or Oxford, Transphobia, Hompphobia, and the gender pay gap all exist. The difference with the working class community, is that there’s a demonisation put on you a lot of the time. Speaking about the issues isn’t difficult, and never has been, but living them is. The music industry is weird, unless your unique characteristics can be monetised, they are frowned upon. As a community, the music industry is brilliant. But the business side of it is where the issues are.
W: You’ve today been announced for Boardmasters 2019. How is your festival season shaping up?
Z: It’s looking good. We’ve a lot that we can’t announce but we’ll be playing Gold Sounds (Leeds) as well as loads of other up and down the country. We’ll also be visiting the Europe, going to Sweden and France, and hopefully a few more.
W: Seeing as you’ve brought Europe up, what are your opinions on Brexit and it’s affect on music?
Z: I’ve dug a massive bunker under my flat. And filled it with cats, sweets, and a big TV. Nah, seriously though, it is bizarre. Nobody understands what’s going on. There’s a song on the new record (Victim Age) that we wrote 18 months ago, which discusses how the alt-right have positioned themselves as the victim. Nobody knows what’s going on, and I actually think that the people in power would like it that way.
W: How do you think it will affect the music industry?
Z: The Who came out the other day in support of it. Which is ridiculous because they’re so rich it doesn’t affect them. But for musicians who just rely on getting in a small van and getting out there – it’ll affect them the most. There’s a reason that not a lot of bands go over to America, because visas are a nightmare. Europe could end up to be as just problematic for UK acts.
W: You’re busy on the festival circuit this summer. Any bands that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing and catching up with?
Z: Smashing Pumpkins. We’re doing download and it’s going to be mega. Slayer’s last ever UK show too.
Z: Loads of other bands too. Looking forward to seeing Pip Blom and The Blinders at Gold Sounds.
W: Are there any plans in place for a second album?
Z: We’ve been writing recently. But I’m not a massive fan of the album as a format. I love it as a vinyl record, but in terms of online interaction, I think streaming has killed it off. I think we’re actually going to move forward by releasing material fairly freely. There’ll definitely be new stuff this year, probably in summer.