Hairspray Queen: a self-described “crummy” post-punk group hailing from… Rhode Island. Hm. Sure that’s a first for a lot of us, but I digress. If you were to ask me, I’d rather describe Hairspray Queen with a word that’s more in the vein of, I dunno, “surreal”, “dreamy”, or even something as implicative as “psychedelic”; with twinkling, multifaceted guitars, a permissive rhythm section, and a vocalist so generously trailed by reverb and delay, it’s difficult to prescribe the group’s pensive blend of gothic rock and post-punk as anything but a tranquilizing, equally-stimulating endeavor.” – Jimmy Smith

Raymond Fernandez – Vocals
Ian Benoit – Guitarist
Nathan Phrathep – Guitarist
Ben Bigelow – Bassist
Joshua Rodriguez – Drums


(Interview conducted and written by Connor Sullivan)

Q: Your band name alludes to a Nirvana song off Insecticide. Can you draw any direct fault lines between your sound and theirs?
A: Nirvana was a gateway to a lot of the music that did influence us, but there’s very little direct influence.

Q: What contemporary artists do you look to as influences? Anybody in the Providence scene?
A: Iceage, Weed, and Cemetery are big influences. As far as Providence-based influences, Way Out and Savage Blind God are both incredible.

Q: When I saw Hairspray Queen live at April’s AS220 show, I witnessed Raymond jumping into the crowd with the mic. Have any of you ever been in any real danger during a performance?
A: During one of our sets, a dude was in the crowd flailing a bag of crawfish around. Very dangerously.

Q: Have you always been writing stuff in line with Hairspray Queen’s aggressive, no holds-barred sound? Do you explore more sedate genres?
A: We started out trying to rip off a shoegaze band.

Q: Who designs the art on your releases?
A: Our vocalist Raymond designed the art for both releases.

Q: Can you talk about your involvement with AS220? And the silkscreening involved in the self-titled cassette’s art?
A: Josh and Raymond have used AS220’s printshop to handprint not only both of our Cassette releases, but also our merch. It seemed like the best option to produce everything ourselves to get the exact results we were looking for.

Q: What was the recording process for the S/T cassette like?
A: We arrived at Rubber Tracks [in Boston, MA] and banged out everything in a couple takes; we were done recording in maybe 3 hours. After sitting on it for a couple months, we went to Distorted Forest [in North Smithfield, RI] for additional tracking, mixing, and mastering.

Q: What are Hairspray Queen’s plans for the future?
A: Touring, writing, and recording.