During the ‘70s and ‘80s, women had to prove their hard-rocking skills to rival their peers in the male- dominated metal world. Groups such as Girlschool and the Runaways paved the way for women in metal music and were novelties of their time. In recent years metal has become less and less a man’s world and outdated gender labels are a thing of the past.
Female-fronted groups have become increasingly popular and have gone on to produce chart-topping hits and headline festivals. Women have become a firm fixture in the metal scene, but what makes the female- fronted Chemiqueen stand out? Victoria Walker shines as a vocalist who possesses a powerful range that effortlessly shifts from the powerful and soulful to the alternative metal screamer. Her strong, mysterious image is beautiful, dark, and all about rock. Which has led Victoria to many alternative modeling jobs. The group’s ability to write clever, dramatic, experimental, and otherworldly lyrics and music is impressive. They have a unique brand of alternative metal that combines melodic hard rock, prog, and nu-metal that demands the listener’s attention.
Twisted Pulp: Who is ChemiQueen and how did this hard-rocking quartet assemble?
ChemiQueen: The band came together around 2019 with our drummer wanting to produce a Technical Hard Rock/Metal band, Our Guitarist Ross and Bassist Phil took up the offer to create the band and started to write songs whilst looking for another guitarist. Gareth Replied back to Dan via Facebook to an Ad in one of the Essex metal band group pages. We all quickly gelled together and wrote material already for a vocalist to join, that’s when Ross mentioned if his fiancé Victoria could audition for the band, and we haven’t looked back, the band was complete!
ChemiQueen Consists of:
- Dan Vinnicombe – Drums
- Phil Lamont – Bass
- Ross Turbin – Guitar
- Gareth Brimley – Guitar/Vocals
- Victoria Walker – Vocals/Keys
Twisted Pulp: What was the music scene like growing up in your hometown? How has it influenced your music?
ChemiQueen Essex has had its ups and downs in the past, with venues closing, and a lack of audiences & bands. But since COVID-19 the Essex scene has vastly improved, I think people have realized how much they have missed live music and it’s shown with the increased attendance at venues. Not only that Essex now has a great variety of bands that are touring across the county and even the country. Regards to how it’s influenced us where we’ve grown up is a difficult one to answer, we couldn’t name you a local band that we inspire to sound like, but we look up to old-school Essex bands like Forever Never, Fei Comodo & From Almost The End, who were at top peak for the Essex metal scene in the early/late ‘00s.
Twisted Pulp: How would you define your genre, I mean, I hear everything from alternative and nu-metal to melodic and progressive rock, and the combination kicks ass.
ChemiQueen: Kickass is what we aim for, haha! We like to think our sound is unique, each song we write we look to create a different sound from the previous song we wrote. We aim to challenge ourselves each time we write and it can take a while to perfect each song, Gareth & Ross are the main Riff creators of the band and use their huge collage of riffs to help create the new masterpiece!
Twisted Pulp: Just going through your back catalog, I have picked up multiple references to science, and alchemy. Would it be fair to say you have a fascination with science/science fiction? If so, how does that factor into your approach to creating music?
ChemiQueen: We think that’s helped with the band’s name. “ChemiQueen” sounded like a cool name for the type of band that we are. We do like to implement a laboratory/science theme to some of our photoshoots and songs, for example, our songs “Chemical Reaction” & “Alchemist” fits around our band name, so writing and naming the songs beforehand aided us in naming the band and giving us a theme we can work with.
Twisted Pulp: Would you say there’s a certain sound or type of lyric or even an instrument, that it just would not be a ChemiQueen sound without it?
ChemiQueen: Everyone! Every instrument, sound, and band member is vital for ChemiQueen.
Twisted Pulp: What is your favorite song to play live? Is it because of the crowd response or something else?
ChemiQueen: I think we’d have to pick either “Into The Storm” or “Guts & Glory” (Which we are currently recording). Each time we play them songs, the crowd looks to get more interactive and the heads start to bob along to the beat, which means we must be doing something right!
Twisted Pulp: Victoria, can you share with our readers your early inspiration to become the person you are and what you think is your calling as a female musician?
ChemiQueen: I started singing in choirs at age eleven. It’s where I discovered my love for singing. I have been an aspiring musician since I was thirteen, I joined my first band at 14! In my first band, The Drunken Monkeys (God knows why we called ourselves that)
I played bass and sang, along with a guitarist and a drummer, practicing in a small music room in my school where I spent most of my time. I remember wearing a Slipknot shirt and busting out songs such as “Sweet Child of Mine”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “7 Nation Army’ in my school assemblies and talent shows (much to my audience’s dismay) I used to play acoustic guitar and do Nickelback covers, and play the keys and sing Evanescence covers too! My music teacher Mr. Beecher was a massive influence on me as he allowed me to use equipment such as guitars and keys for the first time! He would let me take instruments home so I could learn. I also had a friend, Rieko. He would play electric guitar and that was my first taste of dirty riffs! I luckily acquired my own electric guitar, and we would kind of challenge each other to learn new shit. Killswitch Engage and most Nu-Metal at this point were a massive influence! I was absolutely addicted.
Twisted Pulp: What are some of the challenges for a female fronting an all-male group?
ChemiQueen: I must start by saying that the guys in Chemiqueen are the absolute best. They bring out the best in me, support me and give me confidence! We have great chemistry and I love and respect each of them. But do I struggle? Honestly, no! Okay, I might have trouble in the dressing department thinking about it… do I dress like a dude? Sometimes I want to! Baggy shirts and jeans. There is also a part of me that wants to be the frontwoman, stand out, and be myself (whoever that is!) I have always wanted to stand out, from a young age. I think that’s why I model. Although I do struggle to merge my model persona and stage persona! As they are completely different!
Twisted Pulp: Victoria, you model as well, as a model who is also a musician do you see the two as separate arts? Do you feel that music can heighten our emotional reaction to images? How important is an image to your music? And, what do you feel most comfortable wearing on stage?
ChemiQueen: I absolutely think image is important, although I may be biased! I look at bands and I am interested in how they portray themselves; it says a lot about them as people, which when paired with the music can give a more in-depth experience as to who makes the music. We have a unique image that I’ve built up from the name. I am so lucky to work with amazing photographers who like shooting me in my ChemiQueen persona (or just my general stage persona) which I enjoy sharing on our socials. It starts with a lab coat, some syringes, and a smoke- filled chemical flask! I’ve always loved being artistic and creative, like music I have a need to be creative.
Modelling and photography are other passions of mine, I’ve started making my own costumes and again I will use these for ChemiQueen shoots and videos as well as my work! I must say though, the 2 industries are completely different. But I love the fact that I can collab with some great photographers who shoot the band, and I love merging my two passions to create something that I can use in my work and my music!
I always struggle with what to wear on stage though honestly! It’s much easier being a model, where I just need to stand still, pose and I am in control! On stage, I am very much out of control, and I am always having wardrobe malfunctions! My control pants are showing, my IEM’s are pulling my skirt down on one side (trust me it looked awful) my hair is always in my face! My lipstick, from making out with the microphone is completely smudged. I get to a point where I’m like fuck it, but my issue is BEFORE I head to the venue.
What do I wear? Do I want to be sexy? Comfortable? Casual? I don’t fucking know! And I never probably will 🤣
Twisted Pulp: You have played many shows. Is there one that sticks out in your mind as having the craziest crowd energy?
ChemiQueen: I think one show that sticks in our mind, is our Local Castlemayne show in Basildon, which was a Halloween event. Everyone was in costume, including the other bands we invited to play, it was an all-in-all great night with friends, we are blessed to have such a great fanbase in our hometown.
Twisted Pulp: We already received a single (and video) for “Chemical Reaction.” Any plans for other ChemiQueen tracks to be released as singles?
ChemiQueen: I think you mean “Confession.” But, yes we released “Into The Storm” on the 25th of February with the idea of looking to do a video shoot for this song. We are in the process also of recording our next track “Guts and Glory” which we look to release in the summer.
Twisted Pulp: Any final thoughts for our readers? Or, upcoming projects or shows to share?
ChemiQueen: All we can say is, thank you for taking the time to read this interview, and hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed answering these questions. Please be sure to check us out on our social media for shows, content, and new releases!
You gotta give credit where it’s due and ChemiQueen is a groundbreaking act. No one can argue that this band doesn’t have some chops, every song is full of big, bold, in-your-face rock and roll. They worked hard enough and deserve success which will certainly not be denied for lack of talent. They consistently prove that as evidenced by their high-energy live performances.
ChemiQueen has spent the last few years growing a substantial fanbase, hitting it big on streaming platforms, and live shows. They are definitely a group you need to listen to and keep your eyes on as they gear up for more great music and performances ahead.
Check out ChemiQueen on their official media sites: Facebook: www.facebook.com/chemiqueenmusic Insta: @chemiqueenmusic