Jamaican Queens prepare for show of ‘loud pop songs’Written by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pop duo Jamaican Queens gathers inspiration for its sound from New York City and Detroit.
“A lot of important music comes out of [New York City],” vocalist Ryan Spencer said. “And Detroit, I mean, I just grew up there my whole life. It’s obviously my biggest influence.”
The band, consisting of Spencer and Adam Pressley, will be playing at the Ottawa Tavern, 1817 Adams St., on Jan. 26, the second time they have played at the venue. Spencer said concert-goers should just expect “loud pop songs.”
Jamaican Queens’ music fits in genres like hip-hop, folk and electronic.
“It’s all a combination in the blanket of pop music,” Spencer said. “We just listen to a lot.”
Spencer said he listens to pop artists like Brian Eno and the Beach Boys.
Even though the band’s pop influences are clear, Spencer said its bio describing its music as “club-bangers to provide a soundtrack for an evening” is “definitely tongue-in-cheek.”
“It could be played at the club but it also has a lot more to it than that,” Spencer said.
Their debut album, “Wormfood,” is due out March 5. The nine-track album took six months to record, Spencer said.
“I think the title is a reference to my belief in mortality,” Spencer said. “[It’s also about] what the fairy tale of love is. Most of the songs deal with that too. I don’t believe it exists, or maybe I’ve been sold this fake idea of what love really is … [Maybe] I’ve romanticized it too much that now I’m tortured by the fact that I’m never satisfied by anything.”
One thing that can be noted is the dark themes in the lyrics, evident in the song “Kids Get Away.” Spencer said it is not something he intentionally does, it just comes out.
“I’m kind of a dark person and I’m kind of a dramatic person,” Spencer said. “It’s kind of just natural. Everything that happens in this band is pretty natural.”
FILTER magazine said Jamaican Queens’ “Kids Get Away” is a “trippy collaboration of upbeat guitar and synth provides some bone-chilling beats alongside Ryan Spencer’s expressive, shrieking vocals.”
“I have a really tall roof of my mouth, so I don’t have a lot of room for my nasals,” Spencer said. He claims that is the reason for his “shrieking.” “That’s what my dentist told me.”
The album features the songs “Annie” and “Caitlin.” Spencer said even though “Annie” is a name he made up, “Caitlin” is a friend. He wrote the song named after her as a Christmas present. It was written after Caitlin had a bad year following the murder of her grandmother.
“She was going to move out of the city,” Spencer said. “I wrote it to her as a kind of a ‘please don’t move.’”
Spencer said it was a really easy song for him to write.
Spencer and Pressley write songs collaboratively. The two are both former members of the band Prussia. After the band members were beginning to go their separate ways, Pressley and Spencer got together to start their own project 10 months ago.
“We decided to change up what we were doing,” Spencer said.
What sparked from it was a much more experimental, electronic band with a peculiar band name.
“There is no significance in the name, really,” Spencer said. “It seemed kind of provocative and it’s ambiguous. That kind of fits our music.”