Instrumental music can be quite the challenge taking in but with CLOSET DISCO QUEEN you are hooked from the start. I didn’t have the chance to see them when they played in Sweden but an interview has to do. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Could you please introduce yourself to those of us in the dark?
-We’re Closet Disco Queen, a swiss instrumental duo consisting of Luc Hess (drums) and me (Jona Nido) on guitar. We’ve been very active through different bands throughout the years including COILGUNS, THE OCEAN, KUNZ, THE FAWN or RED KUNZ.
Back in june 2014, we organized this pop-up festival in our rehearsal room. Every band had to play 20 minutes. We were missing an artist for one slot so we decided to take the gig jam around using the moniker CLOSET DISCO QUEEN. We then played a couple of shows here and there until march 2015 when amercian proggers THE ATLAS MOTH offered us to tour with them in Europe. Until that point we were not a band but since this tour was about to happen we had two weeks to write, record and send our album to the pressing plant. We did it. We even eneded up organizing the tour for both bands until THE ATLAS MOTH canceled it 10 days before its start. It was then too late for us to go back, we were now a band with an album and an upcoming tour. The whole thing about this band is basically an accident. Now over the last 10 months we’ve played 3 european tours including a direct support for Baroness as well as a Russian tour last october.
I often wonder how people discover that they can do what they do. How did you discover that you can sing and play instruments?
-I think people discover they can do what they do by trying to do what they think they should do, not thinking whether they could be doing something they did not thought about doing since they thought they should try to do this other thing assuming it was what they should do. Obviously, when they think they should be doing something -but aren’t good at doing it- they realize they should be doing something else. Something they are better at for instance. Unless you are a prodigy you gotta dig a little bit and try out a couple of things.
never discovered whether I can sing because I actually don’t. That’s why the band is instrumental (so far). I realized I could play guitar the day I decided to get one and took my first lesson. Then I practiced a lot when I was in my teenage years and eventually, after more than 15 years of playing, I’m kind of capable of doing the thing I thought I could be good at doing if I’d do it for a long time.
When did it become a revelation that you can do this and maybe get paid for having fun?
-I grew up with a dad running his own music shop (being his own boss) and back in the 70’s he was a touring musician (the hotel/entertainement version of touring musician ;-)). As a kid he would keep on telling me repeatedly that you can do whatever you want as long as you want to do it…Although both my parents kind of freaked out after my first couple of tours -wondering what the fuck will I be doing with my life- they then accepted and realized how demanding it was to make a (poor) living of playing this kind of music. They still laugh at me when I tell them how much money I make.
I honestly never cared about having to make a living out of something. I just pursue my stupid teenage dreams and adapted my lifestyle to it when it was necessary. We know how to live with nothing. As long as we can go on tour and make records, nothing matters so much. Though it’s important to understnand that we both had the chance to have very supportive families, this is def. a privilege not everybody has. But this is the only « luck » part of the story. Everything else we can only thank ourselves for. It’s all about choices, we did the one we had in order to play the music we like and still not have to work a job we don’t give a fuck about. The whole point being : to do whatever you want, whenver you want how you want it. Most of us have no idea how demanding it is to do this kind of job, but the outcome of it is so rewarding in hundreds other ways than money that once you’ve passed that point, there’s no going back.
When you spend an amount of your life on a band does it ever feel like you have wasted time, that you have fought one too many windmills?
-As far as I’m concerned, no. Every band experience -even the negatives one- have served me very well in many regards. Social interaction with different beings, a band also is a great observatory of human behaviour, it can go very deep depending on the personalities involved. It’s a real school for life. A band and its envirronement and surrounding is an endless network of knowledges, ressources and interesting folks.
No matter how small or big you were as a band you will leave a legacy behind you. How do you want people to treat this legacy?
-My hope is that people will be inspired by the way we did things. To reach out to people’s emotions, all you need is to offer something honest and soulfull. No need to be any big or famous for that. The first musicians we got into as kids were locals and they shaped us the way we are now. I certainly hope that after being so active in the underground scene for all these years that some people might have had the will to dig it more or maybe to even start playing music after seeing / listening to us.
Also, if someone from the other side of the world would stumble onto one of our records in 20 years and spin it, I hope his reaction would be like « wow, these guys sound like they were playing their life on every note ».
Is digital taking away the mystery of waiting for a new album now that you can upload as soon as you have written a song?
-Mainly idiots are taking away the mystery of things in general. The digital era is a great one I think. What sucks is these idiots uploading online full albums when they’re due to be released in months. Fuckin’up the band first and most of all as well as burying a bit deeper the days where an album was actually expected and seen as an event in itself. Music HAS to be accessible to everyone, it should not be a luxury to listen to an album. BUT, it does not mean you have to fuck up the whole buisness by being an idiot wanting to show off being the « first one to listen to / upload the album ». This highly devaluates the band’s efforts and work. It’s pure disrespect. Johannes from CULT OF LUNA has released a great statement about it recently, you can find it here:
Poor are the bands being born in this digital age, thinking they have to share any fart they do -as if anyone gives a shit about their shitty sounding pre-production or studio report-. On the other side, it does not feel like any promoters, labels or medias will likely show up to any of your first gig anymore (people are too fuckin’ busy telling other people how busy they are telling them they’re busy. POSERS!) and if your best option is to send an e-mail introducing these people to your band and you have nothing to make them listen to…that’s how you end up uploading shitty rehearsal room demo to soundcloud.
How important is image in separating you from all the million different styles of metal there is out there?
-Visual identity, artwork, designs…these are all things that can def. make you top of the basket or not. I can’t talk much about it because although we’ve always worked with artists whom we love the work, we never really made sure it would be killer enough to get us noticed. We always focused on the music and 98% of what we’ve achieved is because of the way we play music and because of the songs we write.
But nowadays, depending on the scene you’re in, the way you dress or cut your hair can make a whole difference. Especially in scenes with strong codes. I don’t have any problem with communitites gathering behind a flag and adopt a certain clothing style or a certain brand of guitar or whatever (actually I think it’s fuckin’ stupid, but hey, they aren’t killing anyone are they?). But a lot of bands today, have the right stage outfit and wireless mics and side banners as well as posters and promo pictures before even being able to play their shit or having recorded something. This is how things rule now. Even historically established labels are embracing these trendy bands that are gonna be
around for 3-4 years only. People consume fast. Once they’re hooked, you gotta suck them as much as you can and as long as they’re in. It’s a hard choice wanting to go the « old fashion way ». Meaning to aim at a long-time carrier instead of somekind of « 15 minutes of fame » hold up making you look good on fuckin twitter for 24 hours.
I always keep an eye on what’s going on just to be aware of things. For the most part I don’t give a shit and I think it’s rubbish anyway but it’s interesting to see some of these bands growing super fast and disappearing just as fast without anyone but a couple of college fans regretting them. Or worse is these teenage niche trends. Bands appealling to the 16-20 years old, filling up 600 cap venues after their first album… Only kids are giving a fuck about them. And this is all about image obviously. But in 5 years they won’t exist anymore, and even now, no one really gives a sincere fuck about what they do. They’re like kinder garten entertainers and eventually they’ll all grow up and start doing something soulfull.
Do you deal in different topics lyrically or do you keep to one, just using different variations?
-Yes, because we don’t have lyrics we are actually covering a universe of topics. Our favorites being encouraging people to the use of recreative drugs and to have sex with a lot of different partners in a lot of different places.
Do you consider yourself a live artist or do you like to spend most of the time secluded in a studio?
-I really enjoy the creative/writing process and the live performances. Rehearsing and being in the studio (the recording process) is abolutely boring. I mean, once you know how to play your instrument and your songs, I really don’t see the point of rehearsing. Same goes with the studio. Placing microphones, listening to the first take…This is fun. But when it comes to DO takes…Boooooooriiiinnnnggg. What is this? Trying to play as good as possible and keep the best take ? What are the criterias for the best take? What’s best ? Recording a take without mistakes or one that smells like balls and sweat?
We always record everything live. That way, we do a couple of takes for every song -one shot- and then we drink and listen to them and decide on the one that sounds the most alive. That’s why we only need a couple of days to record full albums. Once the recording is done, we don’t do any edits. We send the tracks straight to mixing.
It is -of course- one approach amongst others and it’s not better or worse, but it’s ours.
How much of a touring band are you guys? What memories do you take with you?
-Well, we’ve played more than 70 shows since june 2015 (with this band only). For a band that was not meant to be one it’s a decent number.
The two of us -as musicians and through different bands- have been full time touring for the last 8 years.
I’m sure any touring musician could write a book about their life on the road. From basements to arena shows, crazy people, delicious food, astonishing landscapes, weird drugs, blackouts, kinky sexual encouters, despair, accidents….We’ve done our bit of it, we love it and we’ll try hard not to have to do anything else, EVER.
What does the future hold?
-The release of split 7’’ with berlin based noise power trio HEADS. This will come out in april and will be released through Crazysane Records. order your copy here: http://www.crazysane.bigcartel.com/
Then we’ll be playing a couple of off shows in and around Switzerland until summer festivals. In september we’ll tour a whole month in China and from there we’ll fly to Russia to do another month of touring in october.
So by the end of the year we might start writing new music (or tour Europe once more) and then we’ll focus on the new release of our other band, COILGUNS.
Free download of CLOSET DISCO QUEEN’s first album:
Hardcopies and other CLOSET DISCO QUEEN’s merch item: