- 29 Aug 18
Electric Picnic-bound Pillow Queens wax lyrical on festivals, four-legged furry friends and their first foray into the realm of stadium rock.
They say that you should never work with children or animals, but - daredevils that they are - Dublin’s Pillow Queens decided to flip that old showbiz adage the bird when they made the video for single ‘Favourite’, which features a cavalcade of four-legged furry creatures. Continuing the high standards that started with the promo for the anthemic ‘Rats’ (a wonderfully bizarre audio/visual treat that’s best described as the greatest episode of The Den that never made the air), it affirms that “’80s dog show married with pop-tinged garage rock” equals all kinds of awesome.
“The video was just an excuse to hang out with dogs for the day,” begins bassist/vocalist Pamela Connolly when we meet up for a natter. “We put out a call for people to bring their dogs for the video, and we had a lot of friends who wanted to be involved too. It was a lovely day. Now, we did obviously have a few accidents, there was pooping and peeing in the studio, but that can’t be helped.”
Much like the canines in their video, the well regarded foursome have come on in leaps and bounds since forming in the winter of 2016. Pamela tells us that the band’s beginnings bucked the tried and tested convention of “gigs first, single/EP second” and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It was a deliberate decision to make the Calm Girls EP first then start gigging,” she explains. “I don’t think the shows would’ve gone as well if we hadn’t released the EP first. The first ever gig we did was in the second week of December, and I think two weeks beforehand Calm Girls came out and it went really well. ‘Rats’ became a bit of an anthem and it was our last song and despite it being our first gig, the crowd sang it back to us.
“I don’t think the night would’ve had the same energy if we showed up and people hadn’t heard the songs first. It would’ve been more nerve-wracking to have our first show be the first time people hear what we are about. At least when you put the music out there they knew what they were getting. I didn’t want people to come out of curiosity. I wanted them to come because they enjoyed the music and that’s what happened.”
Currently lauded by any critic worth their salt thanks to their recently released State Of The State EP and their always entertaining live show, Pillow Queens are an unstoppable force right now. Don’t believe us? Just ask the crowd at their first ever stadium show a couple of months ago.
“Supporting Future Islands at the Energia Park in Donnybrook was class,” beams Pamela. “We never thought we’d be playing a stadium, definitely not at this point anyway. Just being on that huge stage and getting the crowd going was actually pretty surreal. It was certainly one of the stranger gigs we’ve done, but in a good way. I think next time it won’t feel weird and will be even more fun.”
On the subject of fun, festival season is currently in full swing and Pillow Queens are a band in demand by bookers across Ireland and the UK.
“I’ve never gone to as many festivals in one summer as I have this year,” Pamela beams. “It’s really good though. Body & Soul was amazing, we escaped the rain at Sunflowerfest and then we did Knockanstockan the next day and that was so good. At first I didn’t like festivals, as I’m not used to the whole camping thing. A few years ago I went to one and it rained the whole weekend. I said, ‘Never again, I don’t like this’ - but I do enjoy them now.
“Back to back, weekend after weekend is a little bit much, but we know how to pace ourselves now and when to stick around and when to go home and rest. I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.” In a few short weeks, Pillow Queens will play at the long sold-out Electric Picnic and Pamela tells us that the band are excited about letting their hair down in Stradbally.
“We played Electric Picnic last year on the Other Voices stage on the Sunday,” she recalls. “That was our first festival so we were very prepared! We were like, ‘We’ll go down on the Sunday and go straight home, as we were playing with [emo legends] American Football the next day.’ We were a bit prim and proper when we did it last year, as I’m quite an organised person - I always have to know how I’m getting home, where I’m going and stuff like that.
“This year, we’re doing the Saturday and we’re planning to enjoy ourselves. I’m looking forward to it. There’s a few bands I’m really excited about catching and hopefully they’re on the same day we are. I really want to see Girlfriend, Death Grips, Dua Lipa and Massive Attack. Oh, and St. Vincent too. It’s a great line-up.”
State Of The State is out now on Specialist Subject Records.
Watch the music videos to 'Rats' below.