While a thousand trends have come and gone, straight-up rock has endured them all, galvanising fans worldwide with its strict no-bullshit approach. With everything dialled in at maximum, pure rock is larger than life, and few places on Earth let it loose as consistently as Melbourne. Proudly carrying this torch, powerhouse trio SHADOWQUEEN have stepped up as the city’s next serious contenders with their knockout second album, Living Madness.
Produced by Ricki Rae (Massive, Electric Mary, Tequila Mockingbyrd) Living Madness captures every decibel of SHADOWQUEEN’s monstrous live sound and every nuance of their group dynamic – forged by drummer Alex Deegan, guitarist Si Hopman, and the band’s vocalist/bassist Robbi Zana. Gifted with power, control and an electrifying stage presence, Robbi is the band’s literal and figurative voice, an archetypal frontwoman wielding every weapon a great rock singer needs. Alex Deegan from the band shares a few words with Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles about their new album.
What is the latest for Shadowqueen?
We’ve just released our second album called ‘Living Madness’ and our third single and music video from the album Open Up Your Eyes and we are currently touring Australia.
How was the experience of making the new album Living Madness?
It was fun and challenging, we worked hard on the writing process for this album, and we used a couple of different producers. I think we learnt a lot in the process.
How would you compare it to your debut Don’t Tell?
Well the first record was written by Robbi (Zana) and Simon (Hopman) over the course of many years of working together and initially I was brought in to record the drums as a session musician. I made some contributions like suggestions for the arrangement of the songs and recorded the drums but the majority of the album had already been written. With this second record it’s more of a band collaboration. I was a lot more involved in the writing process of this one and I think this album shows more diversity and depth in the songwriting.
Do you think picking the singles was an easy choice or did it take quite a bit of debate?
Picking singles from this album wasn’t too hard but deciding on which single we should release first and so on is the hard decision for us, because there are a lot of factors that need to be considered and being an independent band those decisions are down to us so you want to do it right. We each have favourites that we think should be a single and often you’re too close to the songs, having written and heard them so many times, so it’s good sometimes to get an outsider’s opinion.
Did you have a clear plan of what you wanted to do or did it unfold in the studio?
The plan was pretty clear, we had spent a lot of time writing and refining these songs before recording them so they were written and finished before we started, but you always end up changing a few things here and there sonically in the studio.
Did it go to plan or did you have a few problems along the way?
We had a few problems, but that’s bound to happen when you’re passionate about what you are making. It’s not an easy process recording an album, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into writing songs and pushing yourselves to improve on what you’ve done before. I think the experience has granted us more wisdom.
Is it frustrating that you’re getting recognition in Europe but is taking a while back home in Australia?
We’ve received some recognition in Europe but we still have a long way to go. Australia is a tough market for a bunch of reasons but we’re making some good inroads, the reaction and feedback we get is always positive which is great. The industry in general is forever changing so what used to work isn’t necessarily going to achieve the same outcome these days but you’ve just got to keep nutting away.
Do you think you may have to relocate overseas to be able to live the dream?
Possibly, but I think we definitely need to tour mainly overseas to be able to sustain a career.
Awesome band name, have you had some fun coming up with merchandising ideas?Thank you! We have, we’ve changed our logo up a few times over the years but with the new album I think we’ve hit on something that really captures the essence of the band.”
What does 2018 hold for Shadowqueen?
At this stage a lot more touring both nationally and internationally. Our plan is to head to Europe early in the new year and share this new album that we’re very proud of with as many people as possible, and we’re excited about that.
Interview by Rob Lyon