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Chemistry locked in: Queam exhibits what occurs when the rhythm part takes the lead

5 min read

Say it with me: “Queam.”

“Each time we inform somebody the identify, it’s, like, they’re instantly upset,” stated Mike Adragna, bassist and vocalist of the Reno-based duo. “Individuals both have robust constructive reactions to it or robust unfavorable reactions to it.”

Added JD Christison, his musical companion, drummer and vocalist: “And we form of love that.”

What began as an offhand joke referencing one of many group’s favourite bands, Cream, quickly grew to become an emblem of how Adragna and Christison method each their sonic philosophy and all the music trade. Now, three years after its founding, Queam is a live-looping, drum-and-bass funk machine that makes use of digital wizardry and stable musical chops to supply one thing bizarre, new and—above all—enjoyable.

“We simply attempt to take the piss out of the concept of being in a band and taking it actually severely,” stated Christison. “I feel lots of people actually take that severely, like, ‘Oh, you guys are by no means going to make it with a reputation like that.’ The entire level is to not ‘make it.’ It’s simply to do what we wish to do, how we wish to do it.”

Queam is the fervour venture of two longtime Reno musicians who, of their phrases, have achieved their justifiable share of heavy lifting for different bands round city over the previous decade—each rhythmically and bodily. (Drum kits aren’t simple to lug round.)

“We had been at all times the rhythm part of bands, and we at all times held it down in that regard,” Christison stated. “We’ve at all times been underneath the tutelage of different individuals, form of like giving us path. With this venture, we wished to take the reins in that regard, and simply take extra of a melodic forefront and develop into the brains of the operation, slightly than simply the brawn.”

Christison and Adragna met via mutual acquaintances in 2012, however first performed collectively as a part of native space-rock outfit Bazooka Zoo in 2014. They instantly clicked, recognizing they had been “locked in” to a mutual chemistry {that a} good drums-and-bass pairing wants to hold a beat.

“I feel most bass gamers, in the event that they must play with a poor drummer, it’s not going to be a great time,” Adragna stated. “You form of instantly see the place the drummer stacks up. And I simply keep in mind actually form of hitting it off musically.”

From then on, they relished the prospect to play collectively in no matter venture they might discover. It wasn’t till the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 that they determined to group up as a duo and see the place their rhythm-section sensibilities—together with just a few new methods—may take them. Within the preliminary months of the lockdowns, the pair wrote most of their early tracks, intending them to be solely instrumental. After Adragna bought and realized to work a live-looping machine and different digital results for his bass and vocals, they switched gears to a fuller sound.

“With this venture, we actually wished to deal with doing quite a bit with somewhat,” stated Christison. “We wish to deliver the viewers these very calculated and dense compositions, melodically and rhythmically, and do it in a approach the place we’re looping continually. Mike is great at making these sorts of compositions on the fly, and he’s develop into excellent at looping.”

WHIPT showcases Queam’s rock bona fides with intricate beats and punchy riffs à la Rage Towards the Machine on tracks like “WGAFAT,” which feedback on consumerism within the age of Amazon, and group vocals that might make the Beastie Boys proud.

After an preliminary, self-recorded launch, freesh, in 2021, Queam adopted it up with their first studio album, WHIPT, in February of this yr. Recorded within the residence studio of producer Quinton Bunk, WHIPT showcases Queam’s rock bona fides with intricate beats and punchy riffs à la Rage Towards the Machine on tracks like “WGAFAT,” which feedback on consumerism within the age of Amazon, and group vocals that might make the Beastie Boys proud. Later, “Molly” and “Don’t Fear” take a extra melodic, virtually indie-rock method, with dreamy, distorted vocals and pitched-up bass traces.

The live-looping nature of their sound offered a technical problem to file.

“It was very a lot a studying expertise for me, as a result of I couldn’t simply go in there and play songs how I normally do; in any other case, it could simply give the engineer, like, one fats observe with each single half on high,” Adragna stated. “However I feel what got here out was actually good. The issues that wanted to be looped had been looped, after which the issues the place I may play dwell, we’d do some prospers on the baseline the place in any other case it could have simply been static the entire time.”

With a few dwell exhibits underneath their belts, Christison and Adragna have turned their consideration to the way forward for the venture, writing new music whereas reinventing a few of the fundamentals of their sound. Whereas their current recorded work focuses on funky grooves and an virtually pop-like ethos, they’re recording new materials that embodies a darker sound, with Adragna taking the lead on vocals as a substitute of Christison. They hope to file their new materials this fall.

“I’ve a deeper, less-polished voice than JD,” Adragan stated. “And that is new to me, doing lots of singing via an results processor—, some distortion, some delay—and I feel lots of that knowledgeable the fabric from there. It’s undoubtedly darker and heavier, with possibly extra of that, like, post-punk kind of really feel.”

It’s this freedom to reinvent and experiment that the members of Queam most recognize about their three way partnership. Making selections on their sound and the path of the band is less complicated with solely two members, they stated, and constructive reactions to their previous few dwell exhibits have given them the drive to maintain writing and performing. Whereas previous tasks have been a grind, Queam continues to be enjoyable.

“When you’re a inventive individual, you’ll encounter instances of simply battle, the place it’s arduous to do your craft and arduous to make it appear worthwhile to you, despite the fact that you find it irresistible a lot,” Christison stated. “(In different bands), we now have form of encountered moments of identical to, ‘Hmm, ought to we maintain this going?’ The side of taking part in music is the principle factor that we simply wish to actually drive residence with this venture. It’s nearly getting collectively and doing our factor and being mates and making music in the way in which we wish to do it.”

For extra info, go to www.instagram.com/soundslikequeam.

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