GIG REVIEW + INTERVIEW: Prima Queen at The Loft
Hotly-tipped alternative duo Prima Queen were named one of our Sounds of 2022 and although it's only March, they've already proven that our crystal ball doesn't lie. Fresh from a UK tour with Wet Leg and hot off the arrival of their latest single Invisible Hand, we were lucky enough to head down to The Loft, Portsmouth to catch up with Prima Queen.
Hosted by neu waves and Southsea Sound, Prima Queen headlined an International Women's Day gig on Thursday (10th March) which boasted a to-die-for line-up of kickass women.
Opening the night was local indie-rocker Rose's Diary with her full band. Long-time Coven readers will know that we gave Rose her first interview last year when she released the summer bop of the century Superhuman. Kicking off the night with a refined concoction of dreamy indie and alt-rock tunes, Rose even dropped her guitar to jump into the crowd at one point - what a rockstar.
If that sounds like your kind of gig, Rose's Diary will support gal pal babes ARXX with riot grrrls Muff at the Edge of the Wedge, Portsmouth on April 7th - grab tickets here!
Brighton's fiercest threesome Lambrini Girls took to the stage next and unsurprising tore the roof off with their raucous garage-punk grit. Tearing through their set, the trio shredded Big Dick Energy, as well as unreleased tracks such as Gay Panic and Sex Toy (as amazing as the titles suggest). Always ferocious and feral, Lambrini Girls owned The Loft stage and left everyone wanting more of their commanding punk thrashings.
Headliners Prima Queen, usually a live outfit of seven but appearing as the core duo of Louise Macphail and Kristin McFadden, closed the night with their soaring anthems, including 2021's gripping hit Chew My Cheeks and earlier release Milk Teeth. Louise and Kristin's voices melded into awe-inspiring harmonies as they filled the room with their dual guitar strokes. Kristin even impressed the crowd with her heavenly violin playing. The pair's talents were undeniable as they captivated The Loft with their swooning heart-melters and charming melodies.
But we're not just giving you a gig review here. Before their set, we sat down with Prima Queen to chat song-writing, touring with Wet Leg, and world domination:
Hey Prima Queen! Introduce yourselves to our readers who might not know who you are.
Kristin: So we’re Kristin and Louise from Prima Queen. We’re a song-writing duo, but we front our all-female band.
Louise: Sometimes there’s seven of us and sometimes there’s two.
Kristin: We write all the songs just the two of us.
You’ve been touring and playing a lot of shows lately, how has that been?
Kristin: It’s been good!
Louise: We were saying the other day that last year feels like a weird dream now. It feels really lucky to be playing so many gigs all the time.
Kristin: We were on tour with Wet Leg a few weeks ago which was really, really fun, and then we’re about to go on tour with Dream Wife next week.
Louise: And we’re in Portsmouth right now!
How did the tour with Wet Leg come about?
Louise: We met them at Green Man, in the queue for a vegan chicken burger.
Kristin: We were fans of them, and then I think we got put forward for it. I think a lot of people wanted that slot, but we really wanted it! We were dying to have it, so we were really lucky to do that.
Louise: There was a really long time between finding out that we maybe had it and then that we did have it. Everyday we were like, to our tour manager, “has it happened yet? Do you know?!”. But it was amazing, and we’re doing another date with them in June in Bristol, which will be good.
Tonight's line-up is very exciting. What might we expect from your set tonight?
Kristin: You should expect some pink tracksuits. A little bit more of a stripped back set, since we don’t have our band.
Louise: A little bit less distortion, and a little bit more focus on the harmonies. We’re used to playing in one setting, and then suddenly we’re without the band and trying to play all our distortion pedals and playing really loud.
Kristin: The whole thing can be way more chilled.
You’re playing alongside some phenomenal women tonight. How does it feel to play such a female-focused bill?
Kristin: I feel like we’re quite lucky that we’ve actually been playing with lots of women.
Louise: We actually don’t really play with many men. We’re part of a nice community of lots of women musicians. Wet Leg, Dream Wife, and we’ve been on tour with The Big Moon.
Kristin: Billy Nomates, too. Women are taking over. Especially in our genre.
You grabbed our attention last year with Chew My Cheeks, how did that song come about?
Louise: We wrote it in lockdown and spent a lot of it isolating with each other, writing loads of songs. Then we were gonna start working with Jules and Fern from Big Moon, because we went on tour with them like the week before lockdown. We sent them all our demos.
Kristin: We were looking for new producers and they popped up and said they were interested. So we got to work on it with them which was really fun, and they brought a whole new dynamic to the song.
Louise: When we wrote it, I thought it was a really sad song. And then it was like “woah, actually, it’s kinda pop!” It’s funny how a song can be really sad and then happy.
Your new track Invisible Hand seems to be about mental health. What does that song mean to you?
Kristin: It is about mental health, and trying so hard to feel better and not being able to. It’s that struggle that you can tell yourself you’re not doing enough and that’s almost making the whole thing worse. It’s coming to terms with that and realising “it’s not my fault I feel this way.” What inspired it was how the song starts, hiding in bathroom, and there’s too many people and you don’t want to talk to them. Well, you’re not able to. It’s a really isolating feeling.
I really like the lyrics to it, it feels very honest. There’s a lot of vulnerability.
Kristin: I think that’s why our song-writing works, because that’s how we write songs together. It’s like “you have to put this, because this is what you told me” and “that’s not how it went down.” I think we keep each other in check, keep each other honest.
Louise: I think if you’re writing by yourself it’s easy to censor things or dress it up. It’s good to have one person to be a buffer.
We named you one of our Sounds of 2022, along with Lambrini Girls. Who are on your watchlist for this year?
Louise: bb sway, Etta Marcus.
Kristin: Rosie Alena, Lime Garden, Kitty Fitz, TV Room, Moon Balloon.
Some great choices, and some new names we’ll have to check out. And finally, what can we expect from Prima Queen next?
Kristin: We’ve got some more tours.
Louise: We’ve got some more songs coming out, hopefully by the summer.
Kristin: World domination. Just casual, just kinda on the side.
I love it. Thanks so much for speaking with us and looking forward to your set!
Prima Queen: Thank you! It was so nice to meet you.
Prima Queen live dates:
17.03 - The Social, London w/ Olivia Dean (SOLD OUT)
01.04 - Strange Waves Festival, Manchester
24.04 - DIY Alive Festival, London
30.04 - Liverpool Sound City Festival
01.05 - Stag & Dagger Festival, Glasgow
13.05 - The Great Escape, Brighton
04.06 - Sonic Wave Festival, Birmingham
11.06 - Long Division Festival, Wakefield
23.06 - The Louisiana, Bristol w/ Wet Leg (SOLD OUT)
24.09 - Float Along Festival, Sheffield
Photography by Joe Watson & Sami Collins
Review and interview by Chloe Robbins