Interview: New Noise-makers Queen's Pleasure Tease Debut Album with Dynamic EP

With anticipation building around their forthcoming debut album, Dutch garage rockers Queen's Pleasure have just released their new EP Panic From Dublin. Their high energy, crisp production and psychedelic flair have generated a buzz around Amsterdam, but lead singer Jurre Otto's Britpop-esque accented vocals give them a certain English appeal.

Photo by Paul Bellaart

Like many indie bands before their debut album, Queen's Pleasure dove quickly into the live music scene, playing sweaty gigs at local venues to attract a growing crowd. Of course, the pandemic shook up their plans and caused them to take a different approach to their songwriting without a live component. After releasing a double-single last year, the Dutch quartet have been exploring their sound more in-depth and according to the band, their songs are all the better for it. They take influence from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Blur and the Ramones, but their modern fusion of post-punk, psychedelic and garage rock puts them in a lane of their own. Every new single sees them carving their own way and raising the bar for their first LP.

Queen's Pleasure consist of singer Jurre Otto, guitarist Teun Putker, drummer Sal Rubinstein and bassist Jelmer van Os. For Panic From Dublin and their upcoming album, they linked with UK-based producer Edd Hartwell who has worked with Catfish & The Bottlemen and Ed Sheeran. Hartwell’s production style suits the band well without impeding on their signature sound. Queen’s Pleasure are crawling with the excitement of a fresh band who’ve poured their passion out into a project. We caught up with the band, who tells us about their formation, the new EP and what lies on the horizon.

What first inspired you to get into music?

Queens Pleasure: My dad played drums in a band when he was younger. I thought that was so cool. So I started playing drums. I always wanted to be in a band just like him. —Rubinstein.

First it was musicals, I really loved acting at a young age and singing was part of that musical. I think there my love of music started. —Otto.

How'd you guys meet and form your band?

QP: We were all attending the preliminary training for the conservatory (DSOPM) of Amsterdam and Teun and Sal were put into a band where they had to cover Tame Impala's "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards." Teun started to do a blues solo over that song and Sal immediately knew he wanted to start a band with that guy. They posted a message on the Facebook group chat of that school saying they were looking for a bass player and a singer who were into Arctic Monkeys. Jelmer and I saw this message because we knew each other and the band was formed in 2016. We began doing covers to kind of get a feel for each other but it went terribly, so we decided to just write our own songs. That's where it all started.

Your music has some older rock and alternative elements that you put a contemporary spin on. Who are your biggest musical influences?

QP: We all, except Jelmer, grew up listening to older music from our parents. But we never decided to make music that sounds like we do. That came totally natural and just felt right to us. When we started, our music tastes were really different. I was listening to heavy blues rock, but for instance, Jelmer was almost only listening to Dutch rap music. This made it so much fun and really interesting to play with each other. Of course, we did start with one band we all liked: Arctic Monkeys. But name one person on earth that doesn't like the Arctic Monkeys when they're young. —Rubinstein.

Being an Amsterdam-based band, do you find that there's some competition from other bands in the area? Is it easy to build a following in a city like that or are there certain challenges?

QP: We don’t know any better than being an Amsterdam-based band. It's great (I think). There really is a music scene with people that absolutely love music and that's a great thing. There's always some competition, but I believe everybody who has something to do in music in Amsterdam wants other bands to succeed as much as they do. Amsterdam is really diverse which I love, not everybody loves the music we make, but like some people say, there is a whole world outside of Amsterdam to discover us. But it's hard to make it work abroad, you quickly become a Dutch indie rock band.

As a young band, what are your goals for the future, short-term and long-term?

QP: In the short term, we're really looking forward to releasing the full-length album and having the vinyl of it in our hands. Also we want to have an amazing festival summer this year but that's probably gonna be next summer. In the long term, we want to sell out shows everywhere in Europe and if possible America. And of course we want to play at all the huge festivals that exist on this planet.

How has the pandemic/lockdown situation affected your creative process?

QP: I think the pandemic really benefited our album, because we couldn't perform or record anything, we made some great songs. And those songs we wrote and recorded last year made the album so much better.

How would you describe your approach to songwriting? What sort of things are likely to inspire you to write?

QP: A lot of the times when someone has a new idea for a song, we know in the first 10 seconds playing it as a whole band if it's going to be a good song or not. And I think the first platonic idea of a song is the greatest version the song could ever be. We always try to reach for the excitement of the first idea of that song and try to stick as close to that first idea or jam as we can. And for the lyrics, I can be inspired whenever it's supposed to be, in the bus on my way home or at the most inconvenient time ever. If I sit down and try to make the lyrics, nothing good comes out of that.

What does your recording process look like? Do you use any unusual methods/tricks in the studio?

QP: We record live (except for the vocals) with no metronome because we love the idea of playing songs with your heart. And that includes slowing down and speeding up organically. Also Edd has a weird recording toy with a microphone he uses on the drums, and it's quite fascinating how good it sounds in the mix.

What aspects of this new EP are you most proud of?

QP: I think the title track is really special for us as a band. It’s about a really really rough time in the band and I am proud we went through that period and came out stronger. It shows how much friendship means in this band and we always look out for each other. It's also a great overview of the five years we've been making music together with new and old material, which gives a great example for us as a band and the different aspects we like to musically explore

I read that you're recording your debut album with Edd Hartwell. What's it like working with him? What does he add to your recording experience?

QP: When we started working with Edd it was our first time working with any producer. We had to learn a lot. We were young, stubborn and impatient, but we learned to have an open-mind and that we didn't know it all. And so we slowly started to feel more comfortable as we got along. Edd is an amazing spirit in the studio, always makes you play on the top of your game. And he gets that we want to record live, he makes that work perfectly. Edd never feels like he's the big know-it-all producer, he feels like he just wants the best for us. That makes us really feel at home recording with him. He can have his unique ways of seeing and doing things and we really like that. Setting up effects as we're recording and hearing that on the headphones as you're playing really makes a difference.

What do you want people to take away from listening to your music?

QP: I hope our listeners can hear that we really love what we're doing.

Panic From Dublin is out now via Bloomer Records.