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

Say it with me: “Queam.”

“At any time when 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 sturdy constructive reactions to it or sturdy unfavorable reactions to it.”

Added JD Christison, his musical associate, 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 turned a logo of how Adragna and Christison strategy each their sonic philosophy and your entire 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 strong musical chops to provide 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 critically,” stated Christison. “I believe lots of people actually take that critically, 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 challenge 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 folks, form of like giving us route. With this challenge, we wished to take the reins in that regard, and simply take extra of a melodic forefront and turn out to be the brains of the operation, moderately 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 believe most bass gamers, in the event that they need to play with a poor drummer, it’s not going to be time,” Adragna stated. “You form of instantly see the place the drummer stacks up. And I simply bear in mind actually form of hitting it off musically.”

From then on, they relished the prospect to play collectively in no matter challenge they may discover. It wasn’t till the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 that they determined to crew up as a duo and see the place their rhythm-section sensibilities—together with just a few new tips—might 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 discovered to work a live-looping machine and different digital results for his bass and vocals, they switched gears to a fuller sound.

“With this challenge, we actually wished to deal with doing lots with somewhat,” stated Christison. “We wish to convey the viewers these very calculated and dense compositions, melodically and rhythmically, and do it in a means the place we’re looping continuously. Mike is super at making these sorts of compositions on the fly, and he’s turn out to be excellent at looping.”

WHIPT showcases Queam’s rock bona fides with intricate beats and punchy riffs à la Rage In opposition to the Machine on tracks like “WGAFAT,” which feedback on consumerism within the age of Amazon, and group vocals that may 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 In opposition to the Machine on tracks like “WGAFAT,” which feedback on consumerism within the age of Amazon, and group vocals that may make the Beastie Boys proud. Later, “Molly” and “Don’t Fear” take a extra melodic, nearly indie-rock strategy, with dreamy, distorted vocals and pitched-up bass traces.

The live-looping nature of their sound introduced a technical problem to report.

“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 often do; in any other case, it might simply give the engineer, like, one fats monitor with each single half on prime,” Adragna stated. “However I believe what got here out was actually good. The issues that wanted to be looped had been looped, after which the issues the place I might play dwell, we’d do some prospers on the baseline the place in any other case it might have simply been static the entire time.”

With a few dwell reveals underneath their belts, Christison and Adragna have turned their consideration to the way forward for the challenge, writing new music whereas reinventing a number of the fundamentals of their sound. Whereas their present recorded work focuses on funky grooves and an nearly pop-like ethos, they’re recording new materials that embodies a darker sound, with Adragna taking the lead on vocals as an alternative of Christison. They hope to report 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—you understand, some distortion, some delay—and I believe lots of that knowledgeable the fabric from there. It’s positively darker and heavier, with possibly extra of that, like, post-punk type of really feel.”

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

“If you happen to’re a artistic particular person, you’ll encounter instances of simply wrestle, the place it’s exhausting to do your craft and exhausting to make it appear worthwhile to you, though 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 primary factor that we simply wish to actually drive residence with this challenge. It’s nearly getting collectively and doing our factor and being pals and making music in the best way we wish to do it.”

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