When most people think of life for a band on the road, it’s all rock and roll cliches - expensive riders, huge tour buses, wild nights out. What perhaps doesn’t cross most minds is Prima Queen’s current reality: having to jump on the South Western Railway service to their next gig, supporting Dream Wife in Norwich.
Nevertheless, that’s where we find the two main protagonists of the band today, as they both squeeze into one of the train’s empty loos to get in shot for DIY’s Zoom call. “Sorry, someone’s trying to come in…” Louise Macphail begins to giggle, as a fellow passenger knocks on the door and the pair have to renegotiate their location.
Having begun life after Kristin McFadden decided to leave her native Chicago for a break from university and enrolled on the same songwriting course as Louise in London, it didn’t take long for fate to intervene. “I actually started the course halfway through; they’d cancelled the one I was supposed to be on and I was like, ‘I’m still gonna come!’ I asked if I could do the course that had already started and it’s lucky I did that, because I would never have met Louise if I hadn’t.”
“I’d been having really unsuccessful band dates with loads of different people,” adds Louise. “It had been quite bad, but then they sent a video of Kristin and I was like, ‘She’s the one!’ I was trying to play it really cool and not bring it up, but as soon as I met her I was like, ‘Will you be in my band?!”
“I think all of these songs are quite vulnerable in their own way.”
— Kristin McFadden
Now, almost five years on since that fateful meet-cute first brought them together, things are picking up pace for the best friends. Having supported fellow girl gang The Big Moon before the pandemic hit, they more recently reunited with Jules Jackson and Fern Ford who helped produce their forthcoming EP, due out later this year. “We really looked up to them,” nods Kristin. “They’re just a really good team.”
Led by the mesmerising ‘Chew My Cheeks’ and their gorgeous recent single ‘Invisible Hand’, there’s a warm vulnerability to Prima Queen’s offerings that the pair encourage through their close bond as friends. “Each of the songs are personal stories, and the next two are similar,” Louise explains. “I think all of these songs are quite vulnerable in their own way,” Kristin confirms. While ‘Chew My Cheeks’ deals with unhealthy obsessions, ‘Invisible Hand’ delves into her personal struggles with mental health. “But I think what’s powerful is that we are best friends, and we write the songs together, so we keep each other in check and [ensure] we’re being the most honest.”
And while the subject matter itself may be a little raw, their energy - both musically and as a pair - is incredibly infectious. Even as the conversation draws to a close - mostly thanks to the overhead tannoy announcing their train is pulling into Colchester - they descend into fits of laughter, much like two best friends stuck in a train toilet together would.
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