There was never a solid plan. All Queen’s Pleasure knew was that they wanted to create music and, in the process, the Dutch rockers would figure it all out. Originally forming in Amsterdam as teens, after drummer Sal Rubinstein and guitarist Teun Putker posted ads for band members, eventually connecting to lead singer Jurre Otto and bassist Jelmer van Os, Queen’s Pleasure have continued building off their roots—and an admitted proclivity for more UK-bred rock. Honing their craft through the past five years, and releasing first singles “Big Boys Loan” and “Nico 1995” in 2020, everything was building toward debut EP Panic From Dublin.
“It all happened naturally,” says van Os. “There was never a moment where we said ‘we want a song to sound like this’ or a thought of what kind of band we wanted to be. It wasn’t a conscious thing.”
Now, older and more adept songmakers, Panic From Dublin is Queen’s Pleasure’s full introduction. Written by the band, Panic From Dublin marks a graduation of sorts to more enthralling hooks and targeted storytelling and warranted production to match this new stage. Tapping UK producer Edd Hartwell, who has worked with Jeff Beck, Ed Sheeran, Ladytron, and The Prodigy, in addition to his work as an engineer on The Arctic Monkey’s 2006 debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, Queen’s Pleasure recorded most of the album December 2019 with the title track completed in 2020.
“Your focus changes,” says van Os. “Before we were focusing so much on perfecting our live show, and in the last year and we wrote some great songs that wouldn’t have been written if there wasn’t a pandemic.”
Breaking the seal with “Panic From Dublin,” partially reflective of a time when the band nearly broke up and fused in their deeper influences, Queen’s Pleasure never ignore their Britpop sensibilities with Otto singing It’s hard this conflicting image / I like it when boys stay British. “It’s about the hard times in the band and our influence of English, and Irish, and Scottish bands,” shares Otto, who insists it wasn’t meant to be some obscure parody of the The Smiths’ 1987 track “Panic.”
Albeit, a short ride, Panic From Dublin whets the appetite for what’s to come, accelerated through the more punk-rock swagger of Starlet” and “Sitter, Panic From Dublin ends where it began in the chill swagger of “Alex Sender,” a song exploring more self-absorbed individuals.
In retrospect, the band know they have a long way to go, but have come so far already. “We sucked in the beginning,” shares van Os. “It was a very organic process, growing up and each of us becoming better at our instruments. We grow older and become better.”
Operating around a more structured process, everything starts with an idea, and the music precedes the songwriting. “In the old days we would have one idea one riff for 30 minutes,” says van Os. “Now, after five minutes, we say ‘maybe we we should add a chorus or verse.’ We always go in layers. The instrumental first, then the lyrics.”
Once they start thinking, and switching things up, everything falls apart. “That moment when I made a riff at home and we first played it with the band, that’s the feeling you want to capture in the song because that’s when it’s most exciting,” says van Os. “When you start to think too much about it, you lose that thing. Your instincts are smarter than your brain anyway. That’s the thing with music.”
Otto adds, “When you get back to that idea or feeling from the beginning, the song is perfect and nothing can go wrong.”
Working with Hartwell, who the band initially connected with after one of their shows, was a learning experience for the band, though they offered some resistance in the beginning, butting heads with the producer. “We were really stubborn, but he’s so patient and he really has a feel for it,” says Otto. “Edd just has so much experience and we slowly accepted the fact that he should take the lead.”
Jelmer says being around Hartwell was inspirational. “If you take a bunch of 20-year-olds who think they know it all and a producer with 20 years of experience, there’s gonna be some tension and there are going to be some fights, but we worked it out,” he says. ”Being around someone who has that kind of experience and is also a decent human being is one of the most inspirational things.”
Though the writing process has shifted, or “matured” over the years, everything is still born out of the band’s jams in the rehearsal room. “Now we think about it a lot more,” says Otto. “I think about it more like a platonic idea that we jam on, and when it works, all four of us know within 10 seconds know if it’s going to be a good song or a shitty song.”
A more full-length album on the horizon, for Queen’s Pleasure, there’s still no intentional end goal. “It’s not about reaching specific goals or anything,” says van Os. “It’s mostly about us connecting and having fun and becoming better at what we do. We’re changing all the time.”