Meet the McQueens
Guest reporter Alana talks to the McQueens about Bieber, first songs and the difference between escalators and elevators.
The McQueens got their official start as Victorian state finalists for Triple J's Unearthed High Competition in 2011. Childhood and highschool friends, the band has a dynamic sound that has been said to be a cross between indie rock and electro.
With downright infectious original songs and a love of producing great tunes, I spoke with the band about their formation and their touring plans for late 2012.
When did you think you could create a band together?
Jules: Noah and I had been in variously named bands since we were in, like, grade five or six, and then Harry started playing with us. And then we changed the name to "The McQueens" and then Yano joined.
Noah: Harry played in a heavy metal band and got kicked out of the band because he did not worship Satan.
Harry: It's not true.
Noah: It's true.
Tell us about the name, "The McQueens".
Jules: One day Noah called me and was like, "Hey there's this actor called Steve McQueen and he's pretty cool, do you want to name the band after him?" And so we are paying homage to Steve McQueen.
Noah: We chose "The McQueens" because Steve McQueen is quite an icon. He is kind of like the coolest guy of the 20th Century.
How did you find exactly the type of sound the band was going to move in?
Yano: There was a point many years ago when Noah bought this synth, in like Year 9. It was sort of a more rocky sound and the synth brought this whole other electronic sound in. And it took off from there.
Noah: We just do things with our instruments that are a bit out of the ordinary sometimes. It involves using a lot of effects to morph the sound, but when we play live, we don't play along with any computers. A lot of bass sounds are real bass.
What was your first song?
Harry: Probably "Digits for Desire". We were just in the room practising and it just came. We wrote it in half an hour.
Tell us about being in Triple J's Unearthed Competition.
Noah: We'd been in it for a long time, in different bands. During last year there was this collective feeling that we were going to ease up on The McQueens and finish high school, and just as that happened we found out we were finalists.
Jules: We had a good recording session at Toyland Studios, where we recorded "Roman Nose" and "Fiasco". "Fiasco" seemed to take the attention of the judges and took us to the final six.
Tell us about "Fiasco".
Noah: It's about a night that I had, that was a fiasco of a night. It was about someone leading you on, and you wanting something to happen and you realise nothing is going to happen. I wrote the rhythms on piano with a dancy feel, using organic instruments, like real guitars and drums.
Tell us about your EP, "Fitzroy".
Jules: We paid for our EP and recorded it at Toyland Studios in Northcote.
Noah: With a guy called Adam. He's a bit grumpy, but we like him.
Would you aspire to playing at any open-air events?
Harry: Probably Big Day Out. We go every year pretty much. I've been since I was twelve.
Noah: To play Big Day Out in Melbourne would be awesome. We'd make back some of the thousands of dollars in tickets we've bought.
Is there anything you want your music to speak about?
Jules: At this stage, I think we are good to just keep having songs that are sounding good.
Noah: Except for, I really want to put across people that don't walk on elevators. I hate that.
Jules: Or people who don't stand to the left. If you're not walking then you're just standing there.
Yano: What do you mean "people who don't walk on elevators"?
Jules: The people who just stand on elevators.
Yano: You mean escalators? He means escalators.
Harry: What do you mean? Why would you walk when it's going up?
Noah: To get to your destination faster.
Yano: What happens if you're in another country? You're in trouble.
Where can people see The McQueens?
Noah: We should talk about the Inca Roads Festival, which is on the 30th of November to the 2nd of December. There are cool bands like Animaux, Albert Salt, The Bangs and Dark Arts. It is going to be like the new Falls Festival.
Any closet Justin Bieber fans?
Yano: I like one of his songs a lot. "Somebody to Love." I'm going to say I downloaded it. I'll show you this one song. It's actually not bad. I listen to it when I'm at home alone.
Do you have anything to say about pursuing music and doing what you love?
Noah: As soon as you start playing, play like you've played for ages and just be really confident about it, instead of being really critical. Go head-first.
Yano: That's pretty much all my mum ever says. It's just like the Nike slogan. Just Do it.
Find out more about The McQueens, listen to their songs and check out their tour dates on www.facebook.com/wearethemcqueens (new window) and www.twitter.com/TheMcqueensBand (new window). For more Arts & Music articles, check out our Articles Archive.
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NOTE: Photograph by 'adamNOTeve'
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