Claire Hamilton, Bass/vocals
Every now and then you hear a song that grabs your attention and makes you sit down and listen. This was the case the first time we heard Queue Queue’s, “Oprah” on KUTX. You see, Queue Queue is no ordinary punk band. This three-piece all female powerhouse shines brilliantly above the rest with their infectious guitar licks, powerful vocals, and texturing loops.
We had the pleasure of meeting Queue Queue at their rehearsal space in Mosaic Sound Collective to sit in on rehearsal, take some up close and personal pics and chat.
Here’s your glimpse into the mind of Queue Queue.
How did you guys meet?
Carrie: Mary and I have known each other for years. I met her as one of my best friend’s niece and housemate. We were around each other casually and socially and eventually got to travel together - which is a pretty great way to get to know someone! Mary was involved in a previous musical project that needed a guitar player, so I stepped in for a while. That’s where we found out that we worked well together musically. Claire and I have had so many mutual friends over the years, that it seems weird that we didn’t meet sooner. She and I finally had coffee together one day and decided to dive into a music project together. Initially it was Claire, myself, and another woman on drums - we had invited Mary to come jam with us as an extra musician/keyboard/guitar. Long story short - that project’s drummer needed to drop out due to health reasons and Mary stepped in as our drummer. After the first couple of practices together, there was a strong mutual feeling that we had some magic happening together as a trio.
What is your songwriting process like? Do you write together, or do individuals bring song ideas to the group?
Carrie: It varies. Sometimes Claire will bring a nearly complete idea with lyrics and basic arrangement, sometimes Mary will do the same. But our best stuff happens when we jam. We get together and just play instruments, find a groove or a musical hook or riff and do a quick iPhone recording of what feels and sounds good to us. Often Mary or Claire will improvise lyrics while we jam and key phrases will end up sticking. Sometimes the temporary title of a song, jotted down as we record a jam will end up leading the song where it needs to go.
Mary Streepy, Drums/Vocals
What's your favorite song to play live and why?
Carrie: Hmm. Lately it’s Oprah. I love playing songs with multiple loops and layers!
What artists are you inspired by?
Claire: Courtney Barnett, MBV, The Breeders, Cate Lebon
Carrie: For me, I was inspired by the local bands that were a part of the “art punk” scene in Austin when I moved here (Ed Hall, Crust, Butthole Surfers) and then as I concentrated on guitar playing and songwriting I was most inspired by early Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, also My Bloody Valentine. Jesus and Mary Chain and Spiritualized have been hugely influential - I guess basically anything that has The Velvet Underground as it’s jumping off point is what does it for me. VU is the well from which all good things flow.
What are you listening to right now?
Claire: Chastity Belt, Aldous Harding.
Carrie: Local radio like KOOP and KUTX for a daily soundtrack. I’ve been listening to a lot of Loretta Lynn (the original riot girl) again after watching the Ken Burns “Country Music” special on PBS.
You all come from successful backgrounds with other projects, how are you inspired differently with Queue Queue?
Clarie: To me it feels more raw immediate and no rules.
Carrie: It’s a relief to not be a front person. Being able to concentrate solely on guitar and studio production is refreshing (I’ve spent most of my time in music as a front person, main songwriter, vocalist) Its great to be in a band with Claire and Mary taking the lead on those things and I can have new freedoms and challenges. Its refreshing!
Punk music originated as an underground art do you still feel like it is an underground scene or has it emerged into a higher platform?
Clarie: Punk was a moment in time when people were expressing themselves in a completely different way than had been seen before. Now we draw from the defiant spirit of it and give ourselves permission to do things our own way
Carrie: The origins of punk have finally been elevated as a “higher platform” in the last couple of decades. Nirvana seemed to be key to that happening. There is definitely a “BN and PN” time frame Before Nirvana and After Nirvana.
Is there an important cause or issue you support?
Clarie: Smashing the patriarchy.
Carrie: Smashing the patriarchy.
Carrie Clark, Guitar/Vocals
What message do you hope to pass on through your music?
Claire: We want to shake out pain and exhaustion with sound and find new energy to move forward and we hope it does that for other people.
Carrie: What Claire said!
What piece of advice would you give to girls who just started playing guitar and writing songs in their bedroom?
Carrie: Find your community and engage with it. Look for people who share a few common artistic or world view. Set a goal and then do the next thing that will get you headed in that direction.
What's next for Queue Queue?
Carrie: We’d love to get our music to a wider audience. There’s something about Queue Queue that people seem to be able to relate to on a very immediate level - especially our live shows. Our recorded material highlights our songwriting and production chops, but there is a very special band/audience connection that happens when we play live. We are real, we are strong, we are vulnerable, and we project a fearlessness about confronting both personal and political challenges. We are rooting for the individual and for the human race as a whole and we try to send that message out. It seems like the world really needs more of that these days and we are happy to play our part!
Catch Queue Queue this Saturday at Kick Butt Cafe for a SIMS Foundation benefit with Dangerous Types, False Nines, The Pins, Holy Motor, and Rad Gnar. Doors are at 6 PM and Queue Queue is on at 11!