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Bellingham
Monday, May 10, 2021

BACKSTAGE ACCESS: REX QUEEN

Senior Madaleine DiMarco, a creative writing and film studies major, has been searching for a way to express the lyrics she’s had saved up for years. With the help of three other musicians, she’s finally found it.

Rex Queen is an up-and-coming Bellingham based band that formed in January 2016. Since then, the band has played two shows at Cafe Bouzingo and one at The Underground Coffeehouse. The band also has one show currently lined up at the AS Productions and Make.Shift Art Space’s Battle of the Bands on May 13.

“I’ve been working on these songs for so long and a lot of them just haven’t found homes for years, so I’ve finally found a way to get my music out in a way I couldn’t on my own.”

Madaleine DiMarco

DiMarco, the band’s vocalist, has been collaborating with keyboard and guitar player Chance Eichner since middle school and the two have been writing together since 2014. In January, they started jamming with senior Paul Rhoads, a drummer and psychology major, to see if the dynamic between the three of them worked.

“It was a process of seeing if our dynamic worked and if we had similar music tastes,” Rhoads said.

One they felt it was appropriate, the trio brought in Dylan Hodge, a Whatcom Community College student and the band’s bassist, to form the final product. However, according to DiMarco, the band’s sound has been evolving since its inception.

“When Chance and I started writing together it was pretty folky just because we were using an acoustic guitar and vocals,” DiMarco said. “We started doing jazzy stuff but we never really knew how to classify it.”

Rex Queen members from left to right: Madaleine DiMarco, Chance Eichner, Dylan Hodge and Paul Rhoads // Photo courtesy of Madaleine DiMarco
Rex Queen members from left to right: Madaleine DiMarco, Chance Eichner, Dylan Hodge and Paul Rhoads // Photo courtesy of Madaleine DiMarco

Something DiMarco does know is how to classify the significance of this project to her.

“The band is more important to me than pretty much anything right now because I finally have people to work with,” DiMarco said. “I’ve been working on these songs for so long and a lot of them just haven’t found homes for years, so I’ve finally found a way to get my music out in a way I couldn’t on my own.”

Rhoads, who is a member of four bands in Bellingham, said this is one of the projects he’s taken the most seriously.

“I feel like it has the most merit and we’re not just slopping things together,” Rhoads said. “I feel like we have more credibility as musicians and can squeeze into almost any genre or scene so I want to invest more time in it.”

Rhoads said he’s been influenced by the modern rhythm and blues band The Internet recently. DiMarco said she’s been listening to female vocalists like Grimes, Purity Ring and Kimbra because they do interesting things with their voices.

“It’s been a process of stretching my musical boundaries all together because I played folk for so long,” DiMarco said.

The band practices at Eichner’s house on Sundays for roughly five hours or until they get hungry, DiMarco said.

“I feel like we have more credibility as musicians and can squeeze into almost any genre or scene so I want to invest more time in it.”

Paul Rhoads

Junior Jordan Braun lives with Eichner and hears the band practice regularly. She said the band has slowly started to take shape into its own sound.

“It’s super cool getting to hear them work together because they have so much more confidence now than they did when they first started,” Braun said.

Rex Queen will be playing to enter the final round of Battle of the Bands on May 27 in the Viking Union. The winner of the competition will get to perform at events including Lawnstock and Block Party, as well as at The Underground Coffeehouse once more. The winner will also receive recording time.

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