Prima Queen’s love story is one which cinema could only aspire to. An instant connection that was nearly missed. A divide of 4,000 miles and an Atlantic Ocean. An almost-marriage. A tour supporting The Big Moon, Dream Wife and Wet Leg, and six-figure streams. The magic of their ethereal, guitar-driven sound is built not on romantic love, but something immeasurably stronger: female friendship.
Louise Macphail and Kristin McFadden almost didn’t meet at all. Kristin travelled from her native Chicago to join the same course as Louise last minute in London, and as soon as she saw her perform in front of the class, Louise as good as musically proposed to her right there and then: “Will you be in my band?”
Armed with bassist Kitty Drummond, drummer Heledd Owen and an arsenal of demos, the band began to cut their teeth on the live circuit of South London, putting their songs to the test in the likes of Brixton tastemaker, The Windmill. The arrival of their 2019 debut single “Milk Teeth” was a statement of intent, with its mellow grooves and intimate, diaristic lyrics which unfurled their feelings in media res, steeped equally in storytelling and vibrant imagery.
After sparking a friendship with Juliette “Jules” Jackson and Fern Ford of Mercury Prize shortlisters, The Big Moon on tour, the pair volunteered to assist Prima Queen on the production of singles “Chew My Cheeks” and “Invisible Hand”, encouraging them to elevate their sound to new emotional and musical heights through experimentation.
It stands to reason that Prima Queen’s singles released last year are their most adventurous and sensitive portrayals so far. “Eclipse” is an anthem of incredible tension and release about the way your first heartbreak is the hardest to recover from, and “Butter Knife” is a masterclass in spoken-word catharsis, exploring the deterioration of a loved one due to Alzheimer’s. Prima Queen sold out their show at The Lexington two months in advance and have already found fans in from The Guardian, the NME and Steve Lamacq who has given the band over 100 plays across 6 Music and Radio 1, personally inviting them to wrap up 2022 with a Maida Vale Session.
But with their debut EP Not The Baby on the horizon, Prima Queen are ready to not only deliver on their early promise but far exceed it. This collection of songs, being their first body of work, demonstrates the band’s remarkable gift for empathy beyond their own parallel experiences. They explain, “In this EP, we explore different types of change – birth, death, leaving and returning – and how it can affect our relationships. It’s a reflection not only on our own feelings but also the feelings of our family, friends and lovers.” Resonance, above all else, is what Kristin and Louise are striving for – that, and a sense of unity which bleeds into the way the music is intended to be heard: all together. So, take their hand. Prima Queen are going to tell you a story.