Pillow Queens’ energetic, urgent DIY spirit instantly purveys the revolutionary politics and activism the band is rooted in alongside capturing the radical tenderness of queer intimacy. As they gear up to release their much-anticipated debut album later this month, the Irish four-piece share five tracks that influenced them and the record.
The aching, emotive depth of Pillow Queens’ songwriting is fully encapsulated in their latest single ‘Holy Show’. Yearning vocals and earnest lyricism combine with stirring, cinematic instrumentation, all executed with a poignancy and precision that manifests Pillow Queens’ inimitable, disarming capacity for distilling a world of feeling and experience into each of their tracks.
They’re also fully a band that practices what they preach, using their platform to highlight pertinent issues, being a prominent voice advocating for Ireland’s Gender Disparity Report, and forming part of Irish Women In Harmony, as well as upholding and fostering the community and solidarity that is at the core of everything they do. A vital voice both within Dublin’s music scene and further afield, Pillow Queens’ imminent release In Waiting (out 25th September) marks a pivotal and pertinent milestone in the band’s burgeoning legacy.
Get to know Pillow Queens In Five…
Hello it’s Sarah. This is easy because we had a playlist called ‘D’album’ which we all added to before recording. It’s one of my favourite playlists to listen to. To be honest, this list could easily be 5 Pixies songs but I didn’t want to be so obvious.
Big Thief – Masterpiece
Big Thief are one of my all time favourite bands but this song in particular hooked me completely from the first time I heard it. The opening chords really remind me of Revelate by the Frames – which another song we referenced on the album – but with a more stream of consciousness style of writing which I find to be particularly affecting. We directly reference this song in a line in Child of Prague.
Gemma Hayes – Lucky One (Bridge of Cassadega)
Little known piece of band trivia is that Rachel & Cathy actually met on a Gemma Hayes fan forum so this record shaped Pillow Queens in a way like no other. When it came to recording the closing track on the album Donaghmede, Rachel referred to this song again and again and it’s only now listening back that I can realise exactly what she meant. The way the song starts off very small and builds and builds in a really fragile yet powerful way is exactly what we wanted to achieve. It’s a beautiful album. Her’s, I mean. Ours too I suppose.
Mitski – Your Best American Girl
I don’t think I would’ve gotten into a band again if I hadn’t heard Puberty 2 by Mitski. It is genuinely one of my favorite records I’ve ever heard and as soon as I heard it I wanted to have listened to it 1000 times already. It’s an album with a palpable live energy throughout that makes you want to stand on stage and empty your emotions out to a crowd of people. I once listened to an interview with Mitski where she said ‘it’s not that I become a different person on stage, I think I finally become myself on stage’ and I really adored that. Your Best American Girl is definitely a song I wish I’d written.
Hop Along – Kids on the Boardwalk
This is a personal favourite. I remember in the very early days of Pillow Queens writing sessions, we went for cans by the canal (shout out to Dublin summers) and I played Hop Along on my phone to Cathy basically being like ‘can you make us sound like this band?’ We went to see them play a few years later and were completely blown away by how incredible they were live.
Manchester Orchestra – Tony the Tiger
This song was consistently playing in our tour van when we were on the road last year. When we started recording with Tommy McLaughlin we kept telling him how we wanted to sound more RAWK and this became one of our strongest points of reference. Manchester Orchestra embody our collective teenage nostalgia of getting into music through Tony Hawk games, and that is definitely a good thing.
‘In Waiting’ is out September 25th. Pre-order here.
Photo credit: Faolán Carey