Massachusetts Shoegazers Lilac Queen Discuss Label Signing & Answer Quarantine Questions
I had the pleasure of interviewing Doug DeMars of Lilac Queen, the newest member of the No Sleep Records artist roster and got a chance to ask a few questions about how he is keeping from going stir crazy during this quarantine and about how the signing fell into place.
What has your quarantine routine been?
Honestly my sleep schedule has been super awful. I really have been enjoying eating a lot of peanut butter though which is something I weirdly do on the daily.
Have you taken advantage of this downtime to work on any new music or start any new creative projects?
During this time I’ve been really working on trying to pump out as many riffs and different ideas for new Lilac Queen so I can have them ready to go. We’ve all been group FaceTiming and walking through structures and different ideas which has been a lot of fun. I managed to beat Breath of the Wild within the first few days which has also been a lot of fun.
Any April Fools shenanigans go down?
Haha, no, surprises are always so scary. I appreciate the effort of a lot of people doing it. One of my old bandmates posted on the old bands’ ( Bystander ) Facebook page that we were ready for a union which I thought was very funny.
Have you found any new music while locked up? Any recommendations?
My friends in Awnthay released a long awaited LP that is absolutely fantastic. I also really enjoyed the new Stasis re-release and the Stay Inside record. The new Khaki Cuffs was also absolutely unmatched too. I heard Modern Color is gonna be releasing new stuff in the next couple weeks so I’ve been excited for that. Generally bands have been absolutely killing it in the North East music scene and I’ve been loving every second of it.
Any new Netflix binge worthy shows you’ve found?
“I have yet to see Tiger King but I heard that’s really good. I’m normally watching Wall-E if I get the opportunity.”
What’s upcoming for the band?
Hopefully this is all over soon so we can tour safely. We had a lot of stuff planned but the pandemic really put a huge stop to that. I wanna try and shoot a really crazy music video but it’s all just a matter of time.
Catch any cool live-streams?
I watched the Worst Party Ever live stream which was super cool. It’s been super awesome watching everyone come together to be able to still enjoy live gigs but from a safe distance.
How are you keeping from going stir crazy ?
I call Lily, my bandmate, definitely. We’re usually freaking out around the same time so it’s just always screaming on FaceTime together. We’ve been trying to call the whole band and crew but sometimes it doesn’t always work out. I miss them all dearly. Sitting in the sun in my backyard has been honestly really nice. Life’s been really tough when it comes to personal loss since quarantine started so I’m really grateful for my band and my friends who still pick up the phone.
Lilac Queen started where New England shoegazers Bystander left off. Doug DeMars explains how the sounds that Lilac Queen is putting out are what Bystander was always aiming for but, now more focused, dynamic and, according to DeMars, a sound that aligned with the music that the band was passionate about.
“It all sort of came together” says DeMars. “ We were all just vibing and trying not to limit ourselves. We didn’t want to go into this comparing ourselves to other bands and what they were doing, we just wanted to do our own thing and add our own sense of personality”.
Inspired by the often heavy instrumentation from the hardcore and metalcore scenes with an ear for textured guitar lines, Lilac Queen sought out to redefine what it meant to be a shoegaze band.
“ I love heavy music but, at the same time I feel like I have such a need to be in a shoegaze band so we wanted to emphasize that you don’t need to pick just one sound to go after. “
Tired of the washed out- dreary stigma that surrounds the niche genre, Lilac Queen is determined to show fans of music that genres are bendable and able to be redefined.
However, when the project started, it wasn’t anticipated that the debut Lilac Queen Ep ‘ If Only” would recieve the attention of one of the biggest labels in alternative and hardcore music, No Sleep Records.
“I’ve been playing in bands in the New England music scene since I was sixteen. Its stupid to say the dream is over but, signing with No Sleep is something none of us ever could have expected when we started this project.”
Lilac Queens relationship with No Sleep records started off on the internet when label founder Chris Hansen sent the band a DM over instagram about how a song from Lilac Queens self released EP was added to a Spotify playlist organized by No Sleep Records.
It wasn’t until after a quick exchange of DMs that Lilac Queen received the offer to partner with No Sleep records and got the chance to release a remastered version of their EP on the labels platforms. Choosing an audio engineer to work with for the re-release was an easy choice for DeMars. A well known asset of the New England music scene, Chris Kobialka, who had worked on previous Bystander releases was the band’s first choice for who would re-master the “If Only’ EP. Chris is also who did the original mixing and mastering of the EP.
So, how were the huge drums, walls of feedback and crushing guitar tones recaptured in a whole other way in the Re release you might wonder.
“ We just let Chris be creative with it, we asked him what would you have done differently during the mixing process?” said DeMars.
The comparison is striking, and the remaster sounds massive.
Lilac Queen are looking forward to the state-ordered lockdown in Massachusetts to be over so they can take the opportunity of the signing to share their music with fans on tour. But, for now you can stream the re-release of “If Only” on all streaming platforms or, support the band by checking out their band-camp page.