On the radar: Queen Kwong

Queen Kwong, aka Carré Callaway, has been turning industry heads since Trent Rezner stumbled across the (then 17-year-old) songwriter at his New Orleans studio back in 2005, but it's taken 10 years for her to get her debut album together.

"To be honest, I don't like recording, at all!" Carré explains. "I tried recording with a couple of pretty big producers but I never enjoyed what came out of it, so this the first time I came out on the other end really liking what was done."

To be fair, trying to capture Carré on record must be a challenge. Her shows are known for their uncompromising approach to stagecraft, one that holds something in common with Iggy Pop.

I get so impatient. Whether writing or playing shows, I'll just be like, 'Okay, next!'

"I get so impatient," she admits. "Whether writing or playing shows, I'll just be like, 'Okay, next!' This time I wrote [and recorded] all of the music with Joe Cardamone from The Icarus Line and we decided really early we'd write without any worry about structure or hooks."

The finished record, Get A Witness, is an untamed creature. One that leans into discordance, but has a palpable sense of danger: full of scything fuzz tones and screeching changes in timbre.

Of course, keeping up with this live requires pros, and Queen Kwong is backed by a killer line-up - not least by her partner Wes Borland (yes, Limp Bizkit's riff god), who's relishing the fresh challenge of Carré's aggressive art-rock creations.

"She just has a fearlessness to do anything in any situation," says Wes. "She kind of becomes hypnotised by what's happening on stage and none of it's an act… And I'm just getting to use massive amounts of feedback!"

In order to channel Cardamone's album tones, Wes has heavily modded a Mexican Jazzmaster and Chinese Starcaster with Mastery bridges and new electronics, while Carré uses a long-trusted Lollarloaded ES-135. "It's a hollowbody, so it gives me a lot of noise and feedback!"

Now the debut album is done, expect to be hearing more from Callaway and co, on both sides of the Atlantic.

"I want to do it until I'm too old to do it," Wes tells TG, while Carré feels the same. "We'll hopefully tour more in the UK and Europe before the year is out. Also, we're moving to Detroit and that's where MC5 [and The Stooges] are from. I'm committing to the lifestyle!"

  • For fans of: The Icarus Line, The Stooges
  • Hear: Cold Daggers

Queen Kwong official site :: Queen Kwong Facebook :: Queen Kwong Twitter

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.