House tracks inspired by a key Chicago gay party.
Frankie Knuckles was a one-time Queen! resident before his death in 2014. Equally vital to the party's DNA is the trio of local drag performers who navigate the party's dance floor: Lucy Stoole, Jojo Baby and Nico. While the party usually just features residents, it's also hosted international guests like Josey Rebelle, Brawther, Paranoid London and Prosumer. Queen! pays homage to nightlife's founding ethos of inclusivity and freedom of expression. While the crowd is predominantly gay, you'll find just about everyone at Queen! Black-clad hipsters, industry types looking to let loose before their day off, perhaps even a confused passerby stumbling in from a nearby sports bar.
Queen! was Garrett David's upbringing. He credits the night for shaping not only his musical taste and DJ style, but his open-minded worldview. While resident of the party, David's been steadily releasing quality house records on labels like Lobster Theramin's Distant Hawaii and Chez Damier's Balance Recordings. His latest EP, a second in a series of EPs dedicated to Queen!, is on the local Chicago label Stripped & Chewed. It's a snapshot of what you might hear during a night out at the party.
"Free Willy" nods to Queen!'s foggier moments, with David's colorful production featuring subaquatic flutes and deep bass notes. "Coming In (Too Strong)" ups the energy with wiggly synths and cheery bells, while "Clap Ya Hands" is a singalong house track with the Detroit vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Javonntte. Alongside his unabashedly positive lyrics of acceptance and dancing, David throws in bright keys and an earworm bassline. "Clap for yourself, feel the music," singes Javonntte. It's easy to imagine the smiling crowd of drag queens, club kids and house music lifers at Queen! doing just that.