Thoughts I had of you
Now they’re cast away like stones
Sometimes the cards one is dealt are so bad that the only way through is the creation of art. Several years ago the unthinkable happened to singer-songwriter Queen Kwong, a.k.a. Carré Kwong Callaway: she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. CF is a cruel, incurable disease that causes the lungs to fill with blood and, as a result, causes drowning. Doctors told her that she had, perhaps, a decade left to live.
Two months after this diagnosis, her husband jumped ship.
Her album Couples Only wanders through betrayal, loss, the realization of one’s mortality, and the impermanent of everything we know and cherish. The latest, emotionally-charged single from the record, “Without You, Whatever”, stands out from her usual fare as an unabashedly pop song, and almost never made the cut. When she sent the folder to engineer Tchad Blake, she said not to bother mixing it.
“Initially, it wasn’t even going to be on the record,” laughs Carré. “When I recorded it, I was just trying to entertain Joe by singing in falsetto and trying to imitate Bowie…Tchad basically said, ‘WTF? That’s your single!”
The new video was filmed by Mimi Supernova in Brighton, UK during a trip to visit close friend and collaborator Laura-Mary Carter (Blood Red Shoes), who co-stars with Carré.
“She’s one of my best friends and we also have a podcast together (Never Meet Your Idols), so having her co-star in it just added to the fun. We filmed it the first two days of my trip, so I was really jet-lagged and felt delirious, but that added to the wackiness of the video. We used whatever was lying around the house (rubber gloves, vacuums, fake flowers, etc.) to stage mundane domestic scenes with hints of disturbances or discomfort. Mimi has a great eye, and we have a lot of respect for each other, so the process was totally painless. Usually, making music videos is very emotional and draining for me, but this was the opposite. We just hung out, drank wine and had fun.”
Watch the video for “Without You, Whatever”, below:
Queen Kwong was discovered by Trent Reznor in 2005, who invited her to open Nine Inch Nails’ With Teeth tour, and again in 2009 and 2018. She has released two albums (Get a Witness in 2015 and Love Me to Death in 2018) and two EPs (2013’s Bad Lieutenant and 2019’s Oh Well).
Couples Only (Pre-save here) comes out on July 12th via Sonic Ritual. The album was produced by Joe Cardamone (The Icarus Line / Dark Mark vs Skeleton Joe).
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