King’s Queer are a revolutionary art-punk-pop-performance duo from Besançon, France. With one of the most thought-provoking and stunning live performances on the underground and a very strong political message, I've been in awe of them since the moment I first saw them. I interviewed these fabulous French artists through another fabulous French art form, the Tarot de Marseille, and here’s what happened…..
Tarot Cat : Your live show is truly transfixing; the strange costume changes and serious messages you portray often fluctuate between a full-on party vibe, and then into some very dark and strange moments. Thinking about some of your motives behind your performance, I shuffled the Tarot de Marseille cards and drew Le Maison Diev (The Tower). A large building is destroyed by a storm; one person falls from the top, another escapes from the door. Despite the intense image, there are a lot of bright, fun colours present; the mess has created something exciting. How do themes of destruction and catastrophe influence your live performance?
King’s Queer : Well, as we used to say, King's Queer is influenced by all the sorts of art : literature, music, painting, photography, etc. And despite the fact that we're kind of positive people, we really recognise ourselves mostly in tormented art.
I mean, if you're really an artist, you should have an overview of the world where you live in and from this matter of fact you can't always be positive, you see all the horrors that happen every day and it sort of changes you and makes you ask yourself a lot of questions... and all those thoughts and questions are translated in what you create and most of all in what and who you are on stage.
(Le Maison Diev from CDB Tarot de Marseille)
Tarot Cat : Your motto is 'Amours et Révoltes', and there’s a strong message of liberation in your music. You introduce yourselves openly onstage as “a trans man and a dyke”, and your lyrics confront sexism, racism, homophobia and so many other oppressive societal attitudes. Thinking about your politics, I randomly drew Reyne de Baston (Queen of Batons/Wands). A powerful, attractive queen sits on her throne, looking a little sad. She holds a large baton in her hand, which is often said to be a sign of creativity and passion; she is a blend of sadness, creativity and power. How do the queen’s themes relate to your political messages?
King’s Queer : Haha, not easy to answer, but we'll try...
Firstly, how lucky we are that it's a Queen who's representing our political thoughts! Royalty power! Well, to be serious, as we said for the first question, our art is totally connected to the world where we live. And as we said in one of our songs (mon trou du cul est révolutionnaire – my asshole is revolutionary) everything is political : your gender, what you eat, your friendships, your loves, your hates, and we could continue the list for days and days, so of course politics influence our creativity every day and through our music. When we're on stage, we can feel this kind of empowerment, you get the impression that you can say all that you think, and people will listen and, with a bit of luck, they're going to think about it and talk about it with each other after the show…
Concerning the sadness, well, once again, how can you not be sad sometimes being surrounded by such cruelty and foolishness? But we always try to see what will happen next, after the chaos. Thankfully, beauty lives close to the chaos so...
Tarot Cat : It seems that art is as significant to Kings Queer as music. The vinyl edition of your debut album Amours et Révoltes came with an absolutely gorgeous art collection, with 24 different album prints designed by international artists. Your performances and album artwork have also been a part of many interactive art exhibitions in France. Thinking about what art means to you as Kings Queer, I pulled the Reyne de Coupe (Queen of Cups). Another queen! How do you relate to symbols of feminine power? This queen looks a little kinder than the Queen of Wands, and she offers a large golden trophy. She seems generous and approachable. I feel a little baffled by this card appearing here, so over to you! How do themes of generosity and femininity tie in with your attitude to art?
King’s Queer : Hurray! Another Queen! Hail to the Qu... no sorry! We're joking!
So you're confused, that's interesting! Do you mean we're not generous and approachable and feminine?
Tarot Cat : You’re two of the loveliest people I know!
(Reyne de Coupe from CDB Tarot de Marseille)
King’s Queer : To be honest, we've never thought about how femininity influences our art and we're not sure that it takes more place that masculinity, really not. The idea is to balance between both, always, but without really questioning it. This is just what we are, in life and on stage.
But concerning generosity, for us it's one of the most important qualities to have on stage. People came to see you, so you have to give them all the energy that you've got inside you. And generally, they give it back to you and if it's happening at the same time, you can really feel a moment of ecstasy.
Tarot Cat : Finally, you are the most hard-working band I know. I get exhausted just looking at your tour schedule - sometimes you seem to be performing in a different country each week! I wonder what drives you both to keep working so hard, and I pulled the Valet de Baton (Page of Batons/Wands). A young man holds up a large baton/wand to show to the world - he is often said to be in a stage of learning, someone enthusiastically learning new tricks. Your ongoing performances are reflected in the way he shows his stick to the world proudly; you take pride in your work, and you’re right to! I wonder if your motivations for touring are linked to you learning about new people, new cultures/places, rather than just simply showcasing your music to others? Is this one of the main reasons you perform so regularly? Do the different communities you meet inspire you to write new songs?
King’s Queer : Thank you for the compliment - even if we aren't really sure that it's a compliment, we take it as one! Yeah, you know, sometimes we're exhausted by ourselves too, so don't worry, this is normal! Do you really want to know our first motivation? We need to eat! No gig, no food! Haha!
But to talk about our never ending world tour, of course, it's not just about playing music. Both of us are quickly bored so we always need to meet new kinds of people, to discover new countries, new ways of thinking, of living. This is what gives us energy. It's so important to us to share with people with the intention of understanding them, and the world, and ourselves! Generally, when we meet someone or something which inspires us, of course it will be featured in our future songs. For example, in our second album, there's a song called Faa'ito ito : this is a Tahitian word which means something like “may the force be with you” or “take care”, these kinds of things. We wrote this song just after we returned from French Polynesia where we experienced really great moments of music and humanity. So yes, we're really inspired by a lot of things that we experience in life and a lot of people we meet…
Tarot Cat : Thank you so much for taking time out of your ridiculously busy lives my lovelies! What an absolute pleasure it’s been digging into your beautiful brains with the tarot. Amours et Revoltes!
King’s Queer’s new album Amours et Revoltes 2 is out now! They’re also very active on Facebook and there’s every chance they’ll be performing in your country sometime soon - do not miss them! If you fancy a stream in the meantime, here's their first album which is also available to buy on Bandcamp :
The Tarot Cat is a tarot-reading DIY musician based in Scotland. If you liked this post, please sign up to the blog by email (top right of the page) for more tarot-music interviews!