Traitors to the Queen: Spotlight

Here are some of their answers to the questions we had for them:

We asked Traitors to the Queen how their band and the name had come about, and if there was a significant meaning to it. Here's how Nick responded:

Zac and I had just gotten out of a band that ended rather poorly. We were jaded about making music, at least in the traditional sense, but wanted to keep writing. At the time (early 2008) we were listening to a lot of British rock. One band in particular was called Hard-Fi. One day while checking Hard-Fi's website for news, we saw they were hosting a remix contest of one of their new singles, "Suburban Knights," the winner of which would be played in clubs all over the UK. Since we were still wanting to write, but with no real direction or inspiration, this remix contest was a needed push in a new direction. We remixed the song using computer software , which we were completely new to, and needed to decide what to call ourselves and our remix before we could enter the contest. Since we were Americans entering a British contest and with all the history between our two countries, we decided to call our remix "Suburban Traitors to the Queen," and call our group "The Matriarch." It wasn't long before we took notice of how many groups were already called "The Matriarch" and wondered if Traitors to the Queen was a better fit. It was, and it stuck.

Next we asked them about their influences and inspiration. This is where you can get a good idea of their sound.

When writing "3" we decided to be as honest as we could possibly be. This included writing about things that were intensely personal. So, from that starting point, we drew musical inspiration from a huge number of groups, spanning many genres. On the album you can hear drum beats that sound like they shoudl be behind rap or R&B tracks. Guitar and bass lines range from the simplicity and twinkliness of Coldplay's "Parachutes" to the straight up rock of Foo Fighters' "Colour & the Shape." Keys are airy and light, sounding more atmospheric like a movie score. Finally, the lyrics were written with the thought of "would Ben Gibbard, Jesse Lacey, or Colin Meloy be proud to sing these lyrics?" If not, they didn't make it.

When we asked TTTQ about their collaborative process on the songs they produce, and they told us this:

Generally we start with one part. This part could be anything, but has often been a lyrical concept or a guitar line. We then look at the song like a timeline of where we stand now and where we want to be once the song is over. Then it gets fun and often very frustrating. See, we are extremely hard on ourselves when it comes to what we write, and we often will write an entire song only to scrap the whole thing the next day. In fact, before "3" came out (which it almost didn't, by the way) we had written an entire record. Probably a week before sending it out, we scrapped the whole thing because we suddenly realized that we could do much better. So, to get back to the point, every song is a little different from the last, but we are generally most successful when we keep the songs simple, which is also very difficult for us to do.

In regards to their album "3," we asked them about the multi-dimensional characteristic of their style; each song seems to have its own personality as compared to most albums which have a common theme, and we wanted to know why. They told us this:

The music and lyrics really reflect what we were going through during the 3 years of our lives that it took to get to this point. We each went through some serious stuff, and I think the music conveys that. This is also why there isn't really a theme to the record, at least not from our vantage point. As I said earlier, we wanted to make the album as honest as possible. As far as the songs having a different dimension, the lyrics of almost every song are dark, but we didn't want the music to also come out that way. A good example of this is on "What I Meant to Say," where the music is light and almost fun, but the lyrics have a body count.

We asked them about their plans after Westword, and they said they are just starting to book more shows, and have already begun writing new music. Basically, they are just going to write and play the best they can and see how far they can take it. In line with taking it far, we asked them which band they would tour with (if they could pick any) and why? Nick responded that he thinks every member of TTTQ would pick someone different, but his personal choice would be Death Cab for Cutie. He says the storytelling elements of Death Cab's musical style are exactly what TTTQ are all about. They'd like to get to a level like Death Cab in the future.

When we asked them exactly what to expect tomorrow, TTTQ confessed that this will actually be their first show. We are blown away! The fact that they were chosen for the showcase when they haven't even played a live show yet speaks volumes to their talent and potential. They told us we can expect a little bit of nerves, and possibly a little fray around the edges, but mostly just a great show. They are going to do their best to rock it for us!

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