Composer-Curator 2020 Q&A: QUEEF

[Image Credit: Sam Wood]

To celebrate the selection of this year's Composer-Curator cohort, we caught up with all the selected artists, composers and creators for a quick chat about we can expect from their projects. We also talked musical influences, plans for reshaping events in light of COVID-19, and what their lockdown listening has been!

Here, we speak to Composer-Curators Meesha Fones, Anna Palmer and Kaila Whyte, three long-time friends and musical collaborators from Birmingham who together created QUEEF: Queer Experimental Futurism.


So, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and QUEEF?

Queef is a brand-new Birmingham based experimental live music & art night. We are an immersive safe space for queer parties, collaboration, drag, activism and live performance, showcasing experimental live music and art by queer artists from around the country and beyond. We are techno loving, disco pumping, trashy queer punks. We are here and never forgotten. We are brown, white, orange and neon technicolour.

We are QUEEF. Better out than in.

The core Queef team is made up of Meesha Fones (Director) Anna Palmer (Producer) and Kaila Whyte (Producer). Collectively we hold an in-depth knowledge on both the local and wider national underground music scene, and hold a lot of experience in curating events, tour managing and engaging with the arts. We strongly believe in the bond between queerness and experimental music, something Queef would like to bring to the fore.


And tell us a little about your project!

The pilot event for Queef happened in February 2020 at Centrala, Digbeth, as part of the annual Ideas of Noise festival. In continuing Queef events, we aim to:

  • Reimagine the format between club night, performance art and music concerts.
  • Create immersive spaces to encourage interaction, dancing and creative thinking, dress and imagination.
  • Build diverse crowds with a safe and mindful response.
  • Showcase and provide a platform for touring experimental/alt/queer artists alongside other existing platforms and queer noise nights around the country.
  • Engage with communities and introduce those communities to something new or offer introduction to each other through artistic collaboration.


How have your original project and plans been affected by COVID-19?

With the closure of venues across the UK and social distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future, it is impossible at this point to set a definite date for the second live Queef event.


And has it enabled you to develop your work in any unexpected directions?

We will now use the time to redesign what a music concert could look like, not only with distancing rules but regarding mindfulness of people coming out of isolation and how these spaces could be held.

If anything, it enables us to completely redesign the structure of music listening, performance and concerts, without existing boundaries. We intend to find whatever positives we can from this situation and respond to our current time in an effective way whilst maintaining our Queef aims.


What should we expect to see and hear from QUEEF's project?

We would like to begin work in connecting artists and encouraging collaborations. We will use this time to thoughtfully connect with other Queer communities to see how best we can nurture music and art out of this time. We seek to use technology in imaginative ways to bring the immersive Queef experience online, as well as considering what the ‘new norm’ will be once lockdown is lifted.

Expect to see and hear Queer voices in experimental music and art bringing the party and re-connecting people.


What else is exciting you in the UK new music community at the moment?

Bedroom concerts & DJ sets. DIY artists. More visibility of Wxmen in experimental music. Online festivals. Archive gems being shared. The sheer amount of creative responses to this situation and how it will have a lasting impact on culture.


And lastly, what have you been listening to during lockdown?

Blóm - Flower Violence

John Maus – My Whole World’s Coming Apart

AJA – live set

 


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