Queens & Kings Release Electrifying New Music Video “Testify” + Interview with Drummer/Vocalist Alissa Klug
Queens & Kings have recently released an electrifying new music video for their single “Testify”, a truly inspiring song about finding your true purpose or calling in life and pursuing it with conviction. Click above to watch the music video and keep scrolling for an interview with drummer/vocalist Alissa Klug!
With the chorus echoing the mantra “Keep on rolling, Till you die. Don’t just stand there, Testify!” the song pushes it’s listeners to live their lives to the fullest, and let nothing get in the way in the way of that which makes you happy. I think that’s a message that’s more important that ever now after the last few years we’ve had. Life is full of opportunities, adventures and fun to be had once again, and we shouldn’t let anything get in the way of that, we all saw how quickly that can all be taken away! Queens & Kings are an incredible example of not letting anything get in your way, the duo has a true DIY spirit and like the rest of their videos they created it themselves. The band shot all the in studio performance scenes themselves, and co-edited the video together, and with a video that looks like this with incredible effects, colours, transitions and movements you’d definitely never guess that it was the band that recorded the song doing all that behind the scenes work. I (Jesse Read) had the pleasure of shooting the on location scenes with the duo in Niagara Falls, with the location adding to the “roll the dice” feel that you get when watching. It was great shooting with Queens & Kings, finding different locations to bring the idea to life and Niagara was the perfect place for it, it’s filled with bright colourful lights, casinos, arcades, fun houses and so many different aesthetics that fit right in. As Alissa explains
“Life is always going to be a gamble. You have to just weigh risk vs. reward and play your hand and hope the cards are in your favour. When it comes down to it, there is only so much we can control, so sometimes we just have to let go, hope for the best and know how to shift gears when things don’t work out. We play on themes of cards and gambling a lot, being “Queens & Kings.” It’s not necessarily intentional, but it just seems to have unfolded this way. We felt that this location was a good choice for our video shoot and edited to try to capture a sort of late 70s / early 80s old Vegas sort of vibe, hanging around casinos and arcades and just playing the game of life.”
“Testify” is the fourth single off of the band’s upcoming album due for release later this year. Keep an eye out for future releases, because they have some big things coming!
Interview with Alissa Klug
Testify talks about living your life to the fullest and finding its true purpose. What was the catalyst that inspired you to write the track?
Alissa: The way we write is very organic and there is no real plan or forethought to it. We generally just start jamming and ideas emerge and we also often come up with lyrical themes just from the words that come out in these initial jams. I just dug up the first recordings of this song in some old phone recordings and the original melodies were essentially the same and the words to the verses came out pretty much right away including the word “Testify! So we just centered the song around that. Being “Queens & Kings” a lot of our songs seem to end up including themes of gambling…cards and dice, and those gambling metaphors just played in really well with living your life with conviction, taking risks when you need to and fighting for the life you were meant to live. We also started this project for very much this reason–doing what we want to do in the now and not holding anything back. So it all just seemed to fit. It’s almost anthemic for this project, I guess you could say. Maybe one day, we’ll share our early recordings of these songs. It’s really interesting to look back now and listen to those first initial seedlings…
What inspired the scenes and location for the music video?
Alissa: It was those gambling metaphors. It had us thinking old Vegas. Once upon a time, going there to film this was an idea. But then the pandemic hit. And that also would have been a pretty expensive venture. So Niagara seemed like the perfect spot locally to capture that vibe. We also wanted to capture the bright, fun and upbeat essence of the song, so it just seemed like the perfect spot to encapsulate all of that. We were going for a Vegas 70s / 80s sort of vibe. We always like to incorporate us playing our instruments into our videos too because some of our songs are played in interesting ways (such as our upcoming song “Earthquake” where Brendan plays both guitar and drums), so we wanted to weave that in with the on location footage and we did this ourselves very simply. Just rented a bunch of lights and went to a rehearsal space and filmed each other. I had this vision of a very dark room and bright coloured lights and I think we captured this as well as we could in such a DIY way.
The video features some pretty fun spots in Niagara Falls, what is your favorite memory or moment from the shoot?
Alissa: It was just a really fun day in general and we were so glad you agreed to be a part of it and film it for us! I really love going into Funhouse-type of things,so I enjoyed visiting a few of those attractions, touristy and kitchy as they may be. Haunted houses are one of my faves so it was fun visiting that one at the end of the day as a special added bonus!
The video is self edited and has some really cool effects, how did you choose the style for this video?
Alissa: Initially, I was going to edit this one on my own. I had it on my computer and laid out the timeline and added a lot of overlays and effects and other special edits, but I got to a point where I was felt like having Brendan come in and put his spin on it would really benefit the video, so I passed the torch and he put it on his computer and did the really cool intro which we wanted to base off the elements in our single art and the outro and did a lot of timing shifts and coloring and other effects and edits. It became our first collab and it just seemed fitting to do this one together as a united front. We chose the effects based on the vibe we were trying to capture, like a lot of old film filters to make the footage outside the casino have 70s sort of coloring and some of the footage we used as overlays from the arcade as well as some of the overlays we got off the internet added to an 80s feel. Some of what we did just came out of necessity too, like for example, the sky was blue on the drive up to Niagara but went completely white by the time we got there. We did some fidgeting to alter the color tone where needed and got some cool shape effects off that experimentation.
Do you feel you get any extra artistic expression out of doing your own videos, and how might that affect your message getting directly to your fans?
Alissa: Oh yes, definitely. I think these days, artists really need to wear a lot of hats and be able to do a lot of things just in terms of affordability, so having a wide skill set is such an asset. Brendan is a professional photographer, graphic designer and videographer, and I also love editing video and always have a ton of ideas…we both do…and I’m a bit of a control freak too, haha so doing things ourselves can make things easier in a lot of ways. Brendan had wanted to get into video directing and editing since he was young and I also am just an extremely visual person and often immediately get a video concept in my head when I write a song, so editing the videos ourselves is never a question. It also is a great way to show a bit of ourselves and our own personal expression when it comes to our videos, so I think it helps fans get to know us and our characters a bit more than if someone else were to do it.
When not shooting a music video, what’s your favorite thing to do in Niagara?
Alissa: It would be nice to go back again just for fun. It’s a pretty nostalgic place. I think a lot of us who grew up in Ontario went to Niagara every now and then when growing up, but also, I have some fond memories of going there as an adult, with out-of-town friends visiting, or stopping in on our way back from out of town. It’s kind of a surreal place, like living in some alternate cartoon version of reality, so it’s nice to go there and just feel like you’re on a small hiatus from real life. I really like going to the different kitchy funhouse-type places. We hit some of my faves this time around. I’d love to maybe go back and go to a wax museum because I’m not sure if I’ve been in any of those yet.
Testify is the fourth song off your upcoming album, what can you tell us about the album?
Alissa: It has been an extremely long road and a complicated one to finish. Beyond the fact that we found ourselves in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, we just had a lot of complications and things we had to fight to resolve on our own. We did our own vocal and instrumental comping for the most part, and ended up having to re-track some of the vocal and guitar parts from home with pretty simple gear. It has been a big learning experience and often a massive challenge for a perfectionist such as myself. But we have continued to push through and are very close to finishing. It will be an 8 song album and we chose these songs because they represent a period of time, I guess. We just have two more to master and a little left in the mixing department on one of them. They were all tracked long ago, so just a tiny big left in the post-production stage.
The video was shot during the pandemic, what’s the biggest lesson you learned over the pandemic that you now apply to life?
Alissa: The pandemic has been very hard times for most of us, a lot of isolation and friction between people which kind of made me want to be alone more than ever. I think being able to adapt to a situation and find ways to learn from it and make it work for you as best as you can is always of the utmost importance. Time isn’t infinite and life can be fragile. We just need to find ways to keep pursuing our goals even when we are forced to switch gears. The one good thing about the pandemic is that it took some of the pressure off to have to do things outside of what you can do in your own home which was great for really focusing on writing and practicing music and other things. We were really fortunate to have tracked our full album before the pandemic hit so we were able to find effective ways to keep mixing and mastering our songs and working remotely. So many things we wouldn’t have been able to do if it wasn’t for modern technology.
What Canadian artists have you been listening to the most this year?
Alissa: Well, we have a lot of friends who are in bands we really like, like Neon Bloom, Cigar Club, Sunlust, and so many more.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2022?
Alissa: First and foremost we want to get the album finished and are really focusing on that. We have some not yet released songs that are finished and one epic video which you were also a part of and we actually filmed and finished before “Testify”, so we can’t wait to release that one! We are playing some festivals in September, Gussapolooza and Voodoo Rock Queens and have some great local and Ontario shows coming up which can all be found listed in our socials. We are also working on some touring dates and really want to do a lot of touring inside and outside of Canada once this album is done, possibly some even before then.
Do you have any last words for anybody reading this?
Alissa: I would say just especially during these times when the music industry is still in recovery, really support the artists you love and believe in. Just a share or a like or some words of encouragement can mean the world!