In our latest band spotlight, we chat to Carré Callaway of US alt-indie rockers, Queen Kwong about music, art and inspirations.
S] Hey Carré, how are you doing today?
C] “I’m tired. I’m on a layover at the Chicago airport on my way to Detroit.”
S] What directly inspired ‘Cold Daggers’?
C] “I’m not sure what directly inspired any of the songs on the record. They were all emotionally fueled but because of the way I recorded them – everything was improvised and written as we recorded, about one song per day and lyrics all free-styled. I can’t pinpoint exactly what inspired the songs. I guess whatever was going on in my mind and my life at the moment.”
S] For those who haven’t heard you yet, could you come up with a Frankenstein’s monster for the QK sound, and why you’ve chosen those artists
C] “The head would be my own. Everything comes from there. The arms would be Nabokov’s because his writing is fearless, beautiful and filled with the most profound imagery. The chest would be Iggy Pop’s, representing something primal and exposed. The legs would be Michael Gira’s because he is unafraid to walk to the beat of his own drum. The dick would be the Rolling Stones. Because they’re all sex. But this Frankenstein is built of the people I can only aspire to ever come close to.”
S] How did you find your band (Wes Borland, Fred Sablan and Hayden Scott) – all members or ex members of other touring/successful bands and really ‘turn them on’ to your sound?
C] “Wes and I knew of each other for a long time because of our mutual friend Trent Reznor. We actually met in person to talk about doing a video project together and then one thing led to another. I’ve known Fred for 10 years and he showed excitement towards ‘jamming’ with me and that turned into him being a staple in the live line-up. Hayden is a close friend of mine who I’ve known for years and he initially started playing with me as a favour in order for me to play a few shows I was asked to play. Then the shows ended up going so well that we decided to keep going.
I was nervous that they wouldn’t get my sound and therefore wouldn’t be interested in being part of it live. I was less nervous about Fred and Hayden because they’ve played all kinds of music. But I was unsure of Wes because I only knew him as the guitarist and founding member of Limp Bizkit. I knew he was extremely talented but I didn’t know if it was limited to what he does in that band. But he ended up really being able to bring his own twist to my songs while still keeping true to my sound. Everyone has been blown away by how well he has adapted and taken on my sound. Which is obviously really different for him.”
S] What have been some of the defining experiences of your career up until this point?
C] “I’d say opening for Nine Inch Nails when I was a teenager. Before that I had only played very small punk shows and singer-songwriter open mics. It was a rude awakening to play shows solo in front of a NIN audience but it definitely knocked me on my ass and made me reassess myself as an artist and develop a clearer idea of the path I wanted to be on. As far as other experiences, I think that each show and each recording has been a lesson; a learning experience that made me into who I am now.”
S] What are you looking forward to achieving towards the end of 2015?
C] “Putting out this record and getting it into as many hands and as many ears as possible. Then hopefully touring like crazy and recording another record – perhaps this time with the live band.”
S] What sorts of things inspire you outside of music to get up in the morning – think movies, and/or art for example?
C] “Besides getting up to care for my cats? It’s nearly impossible to get me up in the morning. Supportive fans keep me going and playing shows is the only thing I like to do outside of the house. I love horror movies – I watch at least one a day – and I shamelessly love TV. But I also read like crazy and it’s one of my main pastimes.”
S] Where do you find it easier to write – can you be out in public in a special place for example, or do you need to be in the studio?
C] “It doesn’t matter really. I guess I’ve written most stuff when I’m by myself but it doesn’t matter where I don’t think.”
S] What have been some of your most positive UK experiences – again think people/places etc?
C] “All the shows we have played in the UK thus far have been amazing. I’ve met so many new, great people who have came out and supported me. I think my favourite show was the one at Hoxton Square Bar because the audience carried me from the stage all the way to the bar. That’s a pretty nice way of getting there. A drink was also waiting for me. Can’t get better than that. Other than shows, the band did a Maida Vale session for Dan Carter’s rock show on BBC Radio 1 and that blew all of our heads off. We were so flattered and stoked to do that. It was unreal.”
S] Thanks for your time!
C] “Thanks for YOUR time.”