A Minute with The Slag Queens
by Bonnie Mary Liston
The Slag Queens were once described as the Worst Band in Launceston’ but now having won the 2020 National Live Music Award ‘Tasmanian Live Act of the Year’ and performing at MONA FOMA for the fourth year in a row, they’re feeling pretty good. Bonnie Mary Liston chatted with the now Hobart-based band members Claire, Lucy, Amber and Wesley.
The Slag Queens are a post-punk band. What is post-punk?
Claire: Post-punk is a helpful label because there’s punk music and there was a particular ethos around punk, kind of anti-authoritarian, abrasive. In the late 70s and early 80s there was a furthering of that ethos but a bit of a pushback against the way in which punk style had become a formula. You had post-punk bands like Joy Division who were taking a lot of punk ethos but making music that was adopting different sensibilities and experimenting with genre. So post-punk bands aren’t necessarily a particular sound; it’s taking the ethos and carrying it beyond. And though that’s not what we set out to do, make a post-punk band, but because we were asked to describeourselves, it felt like a helpful term to think about.
You are working on a new album at the moment?
Lucy: We’ve recorded in my walk-in wardrobe, our friend Aiden’s lounge room and our shed. Wesley works in sound and Claire is a producer (note: Claire is a founding manager of Hobart Production Label Rough Skies Records).
Lucy: We’re all very proud of Claire and Wesley and what they’ve done so far on the record – but on one hand self-recording gives a lot more flexibility about what you’re doing and when, but it also means you have to be your own project manager. All of us have multiple projects in our lives so it might take us a little while still.
You’ve joined the ranks of Gang of Youths, Courtney Bartnett, and fellow Tasmanians A. Swayze and the Ghosts by winning a NLMA, how does it feel?
Lucy: Thank you, it was very nice. Claire: It’s a wonderful compliment.
Amber: It was cool to talk to my actual colleagues about it because I feel like it validated my extracurricular activities in ways they have never been validated before. It’s an achievement my parents and colleagues can look at and be like, ‘oh you actually play music? OK, cool I thought you were joking’.
And you performed at MONA FOMA?
Claire: Yes, for the fourth time.
Wesley: They just can’t get enough of us.
Amber: Simps for the Slags.
Wesley: It was sad losing Dark Mofo last year. I think it’s good how it’s been stretched over both cities – I quite liked going up to Launnie.