The Black Queen are back with their second album, Infinite Games, which arrives tomorrow (September 28th), and they’ve teamed up with Consequence of Sound and Heavy Consequence to premiere the video for the new track “Your Move” (watch below).
The trio is led by Greg Puciato, the fearless frontman of The Dillinger Escape Plan, the acclaimed metal band who called it a career at the end of 2017 after a 20-year run. Musically, The Black Queen is a stark contrast from DEP, exploring electronic and ethereal sounds that range from moody to poppy.
The group is rounded out by Steven Alexander Ryan (Nine Inch Nails/A Perfect Circle technician) and Josh Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv), having formed in 2015, releasing their debut album, Fever Daydream, in 2016.
Of the ambient track “Your Move”, Puciato tells us, “We wanted a lot of negative space in the song so that the musical movements could be as small and nuanced and slow morphing as possible.”
He adds, “Lyrically, the song is a reference to the intoxication felt when encountering someone similar, and realizing that you have the mutual ability to be open and vulnerable and unguarded with each other.”
Watch the video for “Your Move” below, followed by a brief Q&A with Puciato about the song, the new album and the overall vibe of The Black Queen. The album Infinite Games is available for order at TheBlackQueen.com, and the band’s upcoming tour dates appear at the bottom of this page.
Can you discuss the track “Your Move” both musically and lyrically?
The song originated from a demo that I made on an airplane on the way back from India when I was there with Dillinger in late 2017. I took a bit of a half nap, couldn’t really sleep but managed to get into the perfect midway zone, where abstract ideas form and you’re still able to grab them, and managed to grab one. The structure was fully intact, the lyrics were fully intact. That’s always a great but rare feeling.
Got home, sent it to Steve and Josh, and with this one, Josh really ran with it. He gutted it musically, rebuilt it over a few days, and we went with the approach that we refer to as being “blown outta the airlock”. A vacuum. We wanted a lot of negative space in the song so that the musical movements could be as small and nuanced and slow morphing as possible, so as to force the listener to slow down and get zoomed really far in.
Lyrically, the song is a reference to the intoxication felt when encountering someone similar, and realizing that you have the mutual ability to be open and vulnerable and unguarded with each other in a way you don’t seem to be able to with many others, but then the resultant crushing stalemate when you realize that those same traits will keep it from ever progressing beyond a certain point. Recognition of damaged self in another.
The video for the track is dark, grainy and somewhat creepy, focused on a single subject throughout. Can you talk about how the visual pairs with the song?
The video is a collaboration between Steve and I, and is a mirror of the song, as far as the pace being glacial, the amount of negative space, and the topical focus on being in a state of simultaneous excitement and hopeless frustration, being in a state of heightened sensitivity but also ultimately frozen and struggling to move.
Infinite Games is the band’s second album, following Fever Daydream. Can you discuss the musical progression from the first album to the new one?
We became much more confident. The first record we spent a lot of time learning to speak the same language as bandmates, and figuring out what the natural cross-section of our Venn diagram was, stylistically. The resultant album was more obvious, more heavy-handed, more musically nail on the head. The largest most obvious parts of our overlapping interests. This album we’ve had more time together, so we’ve realized more of them, and we have the relationship with each other to further explore nuance and vulnerability. On the surface, the RNB element is much more pronounced, as is the experimental element.
The Black Queen is such a musical departure from the Dillinger Escape Plan. When did your interest in electronic music begin, and who are some of your influences?
I don’t really care about genre, to be honest with you. I’m not so much of a consumer. I just output my signal and try to stay honest emotionally and artistically. I have no real interest in a certain genre of music too much. If I hear something and like it, I like it. I’m not some encyclopedia of anything as a listener. This band was a result of three people being friends, and having similar views in that regard, and feeling interested in exploring the freedom that came from those views, not a result of saying, “Hey, let’s make a band that sounds like this.” When you work with different people, the Venn diagram changes, and the result changes. I’m more influenced by the idea of an artist, or by my abstract impression of them that I’ve formed in my brain, than what they actually are or even sound like. Like the Art of Noise, or Tangerine Dream, but this is all from a long time ago. I’m just as influenced by Maxwell’s Embrya album as any of that, or Seal “Prayer for the Dying”. Keith Jarrett’s Koln concert.
As I said, this song to me was meeting someone and having a blissed-out night with them that you don’t want to end, and then being sucked out of the airlock, or frozen in the UFO tractor beam in the instrumental bridge section. We didn’t discuss anything musical really at all when putting it together. Most references are either autobiographical or conceptual.
In Dillinger Escape Plan, you were known for your fearless and often dangerous stage antics. How would you describe The Black Queen live experience?
Well, to me it is about being fearless, yes. Addicted to potential self-harm maybe. But not just in performance. This band feels the same to me in that regard but in a different way. So to me, the live performance is the same. Go up there, tear my skin off, see what happens. If I’ve got any skin left at the end I’ve failed.
The Black Queen 2018-2019 Tour Dates:
09/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720
10/05 – Bristol, GB @ Thekla
10/07 – Glasgow, GB @ SWG3 Studio Warehouse
10/08 – Leeds, GB @ Brudenell Social Club
10/09 – Manchester, GB @ Deaf Institute
10/10 – Nottingham, GB @ Nottingham Contemporary
10/11 – London, GB @ Bush Hall
10/12 – Tilburg, NL @ Poppodium 013
10/15 – Sint-Niklaas, BE @ Sint-Niklaas De Casino
10/16 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom
10/18 – Cologne, DE @ Blue Shell
10/19 – Paris, FR @ Supersonic
10/20 – Milan, IT @ Legend 54
10/22 – Vienna, AT @ B 72
10/23 – Munich, DE @ Backstage Halle
10/24 – Leipzig, DE @ Werk 2
10/25 – Prague, CZ @ Chapeau Rouge
10/26 – Warsaw, PO @ Klug Hybrydy
10/27 – Berlin, DE @ Gretchen
10/28 – Hamburg, DE @ Nochtspeicher
10/30 – Copenhagen, DK @ Stengade
10/31 – Oslo, NO @ Parkteatret
11/01 – Stockholm, SE @ Nalen
11/03 – St. Petersburg, RU @ Mod Club
11/04 – Moscow, RU @ 16 Tons
01/18 – Sydney, AU @ Landsdowne Hotel
01/19 – Melbourne, AU @ Northcote Social Club