We first chatted to Katie Queue way back in March 2014 so thought it was about time we made her acquaintance once again. We caught up with her recently and had a good chat about playing at legendary London venues, her book writing and which album she deems 'The Best Ever', read on to learn more about her.....
Katie, thank you for taking time to speak with us, please would you tell us a little bit about yourself and your music?
I am Katie Queue, also known as Katie & the Queue when I play with others. It’s a transient band that allows a different sound to emerge and a creative freedom not always seen, or rather heard, in musical outfits. I’m a musician of many backgrounds and an artist of many mediums, but at present I am playing the blues with a folk and Americana style whilst writing for both book and screen. Katie Queue is me, I am a creative, but when I play with others I create a more welcoming title that suggests more of a head count. So there’s the formula and reasoning behind the two names.
You’ve only recently started playing live, do you get nervous ahead of a show?
I do, I wouldn’t necessarily call it nerves, I call it stress. I am a perfectionist and honourable, so I want to deliver what will be welcomed and needed to the audience. It has nothing to do with me, my artistic contribution has everything to do with the people coming to see me play. I am just a channel. So the nerves come from a place of serving others, and it’s that bit that I want to get right. I don’t have arrogance, in fact I have no guile, I am a customer service orientated person.
When I decided to do this particular artistic expression, I decided I was there to serve a purpose, not make my life easier or interesting.
You played at the legendary London venue 'The Fiddlers Elbow’, how was it for you?
It was incredible, the space was cosy and nurturing. The Fiddlers Elbow has an energy that feels like home, the owner and the bar people there and the sound guy feel like friends. I get tension in my throat, respiratory, I am weak, but they were really kind there and made me a hot drink, so you feel looked after. The venue is warm and you can just feel all this history coming from the walls, it’s just incredible. The crowd there is also honourable, they're quiet, they're music people, who are there to listen, it’s respectful. From a musician’s point of view, it’s not necessarily about you, but when there’s a lot of external noise it can feel like a struggle to concentrate and hear yourself back, you can hear a pin drop at the Fiddlers Elbow, it’s just amazing.
What would you do differently the next time you play live?
Talk more, seriously! I don’t want to do an Adele and have this banter, because at this stage I’ll be forcing it through, so it will probably irritate more than entertain, but away from singing, I am really funny, I’d like that to come through more, break it up a bit, offer something a bit more refreshing and light-hearted. I’d definitely like to entertain in more ways for everyone.
You obviously overcame the fear of playing live for the first time, how did you cope with this and what advice would you give to anyone else suffering from the same fear?
Didn’t I just. You know what, as a child I was painfully shy, I would dangle off my Mums legs and get my Sister to answer for me. I didn’t speak until I was three and now you can’t shut me up. But I think what happened was this innate shyness mixed with some rather awful experiences which I put down to ‘being centre of attention’, so there was this mental block, this inner dialogue, which was completely protective. It was telling me, ‘when you are seen, this happens, or that happened’, and getting over associations and re-writing a new script is incredibly hard. My advice for anyone, is to see this as a mental issue, it’s down to associations and learned behaviour, the only way really to undo this is to go to some form of therapy, whatever you are lead to really and to work on your mind. Read lots of self-improvement books. Listen to your heart not your rational head. My heart wanted to play, wanted to reassure, wanted to help, but my head was holding me back. Don’t live in caution, be brave, you can do it. You may even have to change your setting, change the people around you who will accommodate your heart more, do it, it’s your life, you’re incredibly special, so go for it. I’m always available on Twitter if anyone wants some support.
What has been your favourite gig to date (that you’ve played)?
I have a special admiration for the Fiddlers Elbow because it was the first gig where the reaction was that in which I had hoped for, it was the moment I achieved something, my own inner goal as such, but as cheesy as this sounds, each one is so precious and so incredibly rewarding that to not see each one as a complete blessing would be a shame. I hold each experience in my heart whole-heartedly and therefore, am eternally grateful.
If you had to nominate just one album/record for the 'Best album Ever' award, which would it be and why?
OK, this can change daily, but consistently, Lana Del Rey’s – Born to die. This woman is strong, a hard-worker, she’s poured so much into her work that to not reward her with this compliment would feel a bit ignorant for me; I’m a meritocratic, I like to reward hard work. The way she writes and her compositions are exquisite. I whole-heartedly feel she is a genius and incredibly tenacious.
You play solo, are you looking to get a band together? If so, what sort of people are you looking for?
Normal ones. No seriously, if you’re arrogant, obsessive, possessive and take-over then there’s the door. I’m strict. I probably shouldn’t be, but I’m a cautious crab by nature and a perfectionist and I feel there’s a sound here, it’s developing, it’s reactive too, people are liking it, and like anything that goes to market, there’s a certain lenient mentality you should probably take on, change for the market etc. And I’m prepared for that, but like any stem of work, when gathering a team, you must all have the right energy and the right intention, I’m not doing it for fame and I’m not doing it to manipulate, so I don’t expect anyone else to. This is about honesty, the love of the instrument, and being a good role model. If someone came to me wanting to use it as a way to kiss all the girls, they’ll be shown the door. I’m only interested in positive, positive people, positive effects, positive results and positive examples.
You have written a few books in your time, what are they about and what made you decide to give writing a go?
Ok, so I’m a creator. This comes in many forms, so it may seem like I’m hopping from one thing to another, but I’m really not, I am constantly creating and I think it helps with the other things I do, it makes you multi-channelled. I was the kid who, whilst everyone else was handing in their one side of A4 in for the teacher to mark, I handed in a big pad with songs in and everything, I was constantly writing stories, in fact, I am working with an illustrator at the moment and we’re creating a new book. Everything about me is based around a moral baseline of ‘What can I do, to make this place better’, my books are complimentary, motivational and thought-provoking, they are self-improvement and self-awareness books. I will always write. My songs are like stories, they are very dialogue heavy.
What book can you read over and over again?
The Shack, by William Young. My god that book has a message, and the more you read it the more you realise there’s more to it. I am constantly searching as a person, not because I am lost, but because I live externally, I want to soak it all up and pass it on, I am a trajectory.
I hear you are starring in a film, can you tell us more about it? Who is directing it and do you need any handsome ginger bearded extras?
Ha yes I am! I am the Executive Producer for it and writing it with Will Lester (BBC The Voice - Coach) we will both star in it too, acting here we come, the Director is Thomas Young, we have a whole team of people working towards this goal. We’ll be shooting it very soon with a small budget, again it has subterranean context, a hidden message. I won’t tell you what it’s about, I don’t want to ruin it for you. Of course there is always room in my work for you! You’re a good guy, you’re nice you know! Acting is something I enjoy, I’m very good at it, and I remember at School there was a point in the play where I had to pretend I wasn’t feeling very well, anyway I did it with such commitment and conviction that the teacher stopped the play thinking I was actually going to be sick, I realised at that point, there’s a power to commitment, and behind commitment there’s a conviction, so as long as I get that bit right, this films going to be serving some souls.
You have written many of your own songs, but you have occasionally played the odd cover, which track that isn’t yours do you love to sing the most?
I only play one cover on the regular, ‘Dream a little dream’ originally played by ‘The Mama’s and Papas’, I heard this and thought there was something that wasn’t being told, I felt the lyrics were quite dreamy and romantic, yet the music brought it into a more 60’s upbeat feel, which I loved, but I wanted to see if I could make it more placid. The only reason I do covers is because I can hear something else and I’d like to see how that narrative works. It’s a bit like Chinese whispers I guess, you heard something else within its text.
What is your favourite word? Why this word?
Dialogue. Because it is so poignant on so many levels. We operate by inner dialogue, what we do is because of our inner dialogue, you can hurt people by your dialogue, you can love people with your dialogue, everything in life itself, comes back to this one action, and subsequently this one word, so for me its powerful, it’s almost bewitching.
What has been your favourite ‘trending topic’ on Twitter?
Don’t follow trends, I see hashtags and I’m impressed by their impact, but I do get a little saddened how disasters and world affairs can be trending, as trending is temporary, so it almost tarnishes things slightly. Instead I’d prefer persistent questioning, why is this happening? Who is causing it? Not create a trend one minute and the next day it’s chip paper, and for that reason I’m hoping I never become a trend on twitter, it’s a point of short-lived attention.
Who would you tell the readers MusicMuso who to look out for in the musical world?
Ok there’s a lady I saw play at a venue I was playing at, she is Kate Epps, her twitter is @kateeppsmusic, I felt immediately protective of her, and leaned in to befriend her, I felt she was nervous and didn’t see her impact or talent, she is incredibly talented, incredibly girlie and pretty sounding without being airy, she has substance and reminds me of a Marilyn Monroe, her giggly, un-sure-ity is humbling and vulnerable. She’s cute.
Who would win in a fight between the dragon from the Hobbit and the Dragon from Game of Thrones?
Well considering the Dragon from the Hobbit went down with one little arrow from a bell tower in the Desolation of Smaug, I’d probably have to say the Dragon from the Game of Thrones, and I’m not being funny, the one in the Game of Thrones looks a lot more stroppy and livid. Without going too deep on this one, the one from the Hobbit hasn’t much of a mission, he just wants to create a drama, whereas the one from the Game of Thrones wants the throne, that mission alone creates a stronger concourse.
We asked Katie a series of 'Quickfire' questions back in March 2014, we thought we'd try some different ones this time round, read on to see how she got on with them....
Whiskey or Wine?
Wine makes me feel sick, yet it keeps hijacking my pub visits, but def Whisky
Road trip or Boat Trip
Summer or Winter?
Night out or Night In?
Christian Bale (Batman) or Ben Affleck (Batman)
Ben Affleck, that jaw though.
De Niro or Pacino?
‘Pokemon Go’ or ‘Pokemon Go Do One’?
Pokemon freaks me out, do one.
God or Google?
God – great question BTW
We'd like to thank Katie once again for taking the time out to answer our questions, we wish her every success in the future with her various creative ventures. Please take a moment to check out her social media sites, they're listed below for you, just point and click...
Interview by Mark Wincott