Interview: Pirate Queen – Her Majesty Maria Aurea “The album is done, and our course has been plotted. Now is the time to sail forth, cutlasses in hand!”

It’s been barely a year since symphonic power metal band Pirate Queen charted their course towards world domination, and with their debut album ‘Ghosts’ primed for release, it surely won’t be long until they reach their destination. Indulging heavily in live-action role play (LARP), there’s an exciting aesthetic surrounding the band, and, with the aid of Epic Armoury, attacks all of the listener’s senses simultaneously. With their debut record and live shows promised, now seemed the perfect time to speak to the band’s vocalist, Her Majesty Maria Aurea.  

Can you give us a brief history of the band? How did you all meet?

“Well, we were formed in 1523 on the floating island of Lyxion, of course! We are all descendants of well renowned pirate families, so our social circles almost certainly crossed paths at some point in time. In a more real sense however, I was contacted by a mysterious and accomplished guitarist from Spain asking if I would like to join a pirate themed, all-female band. Being a big fan of bands like Alestorm and Visions of Atlantis I agreed and now just over a year later, here we are!”

Things have moved fast since the band’s inception in 2023. Does it feel like a whirlwind?

“It certainly does! There’s been a lot of work going into the recording process, both in terms of the music and the videos that accompany them. It’s only now, with the imminent album release that the focus moves on to interviews, photoshoots and promotion. Definitely a whirlwind, but a fun voyage to be part of!”

You’ve found a new home with Sweden’s Despotz Records. How did that come about?

“Well, the Swedes have been coming to Lyxion since the times of the Vikings, so certain agreements had been settled long before my crew and I took command of this vessel. Realistically though, we have good management that takes care of our affairs on the mainland, and they have sorted that side of the industry for us!”

How do you feel about your debut album now that it is finished? 

“I really love the songs on the album, each one brings a little something different to the table and I’m super excited that it’s finally being released! I’m also really looking forward to future live shows and getting to play the songs live in front of a crowd.”

Is there anything that you’d like to go back and change?

“More songs! Other than that, not a lot to be honest. I always like to keep an eye on the future and what that may bring rather than focussing on the minutia of the process so far. The album is done, and our course has been plotted. Now is the time to sail forth, cutlasses in hand!”

What are your hopes and expectations for the record?

“My main motivation behind this all is to have fun and experience new things but of course I and all the other women take it very seriously. We are all professional musicians and performers and want to continue to make and play music for as long as humanly possible. We do it because we like the stage, composing, touring, and all that comes with the industry. Music is our life, so we are very grateful that the scene has welcomed us with such generosity and hopefully people will listen to the record and get on board with us in this strange fantasy world that has been created and enable us to continue to do this for the foreseeable future!”

Can we expect to see you in the UK or Europe anytime soon?

“We have some upcoming shows in Mallorca and Germany, with management looking for more opportunities for us to play on distant shores. So, keep your eyes peeled for more announcements soon!”

What does each band member bring to the table musically

“Everyone in the band is very accomplished at what they do and it’s really nice not having to worry about the performance side of things.”

What’s your song writing process?

“For this record I was given five semi-written songs and was able to work and adapt with what was already written. I was able to change and add to things like the main vocal melodies, harmonies and some of the orchestration, as well as being able to adapt the structures and arrange them to a certain extent and also write some of the lyrics. I was really intrigued and excited by the original ideas and wanted to maintain the mysterious and powerful themes I heard! I would love every single member to have their say in any future tracks and albums – after all, we are a unit, a group of souls destined to plunder foreign shores!”

What made you start playing symphonic power metal? Do you have a few muses to which you owe this love of music? 

“I really, really love Nightwish and have done so for as long as I can remember! Floor Jansen is absolutely killing it right now. She really is the full package! But my first exposure to the genre was the extremely talented Tarja Turunen, and she was my inspiration in becoming a songwriter and metal soprano vocalist.”

Each band member has a striking, original identity that utilises unique characteristics and weapons. What is the essence of each band member’s persona? 

“Yes, each girl has her own colour, plant, stone, perfume, metal and weapon that fit to her abilities and status. For example, our bass player Luna Lyss: her colour is blue, and is associated with Olive, Sapphire, Cedar, Tin and Moon. Her grandmother was one of the last 21 living half-mermaids. My character, Maria Aurea, is associated with gold. My ancestors found the real Eldorado and are keepers of the treasure. Our captain Destiny’s colour is red, she throws Axes and talks to animals. Victoria Pearl’s life is full of myths and legends. Her colour is black, she is an immortal shapeshifter and has mental powers. Raindrop Oceanus is the most technical among us, she is a mechanical engineer and explorer. Her colour is white and she can manipulate water with hydrokinesis. We all use Epic Armoury LARP weapons, from cutlasses to throwing knives and Destiny’s favourite Battle Axe.”

You intend to use Epic Armoury to mix live-action role-play with your music on stage. How easy is that to achieve? What do you expect the crowd’s reaction to be?

“Fantasy power metal and LARP go hand-in-hand, right? Honestly, it’s such a blast to get to wear all the gear! All the attire and swords are made to a really high standard, so we have to give a massive shout-out to Epic Armoury for that. They make it really easy to get into character (fun too!). Whilst we haven’t played any shows yet, we do have some ideas for the performance side of things. I think it’s important that the audience really get to participate in some way, so maybe something like a treasure hunt would be interesting to work in there somehow. You’ll have to come and see for yourselves!”

What can we expect from a Pirate Queen live show?

“An exciting, well-polished, interactive performance and most importantly, fun! We cannot wait to invite everyone aboard the galleon as soon as possible and don’t forget to bring inflatables with you!”

The band even has its own Sikkim gin. How involved were you in its development, and wouldn’t rum be a more appropriate pirate beverage?

“Ah, well, let me tell you a tale! This story goes hundreds of years into the past, to the ancestor of our guitarist Victoria-Pearl. He was a pirate and smuggler of Indian spices and tea. In 1875 he stole a lot of copper from which he made copper stills and started a distillery. The distillery still exists today and is one of the oldest in Spain. The same stills are used today. Because it is a family business, we could choose between the best ingredients. For the first edition we choose gin to be pink in colour. It is very fruity with sweet flavour and aromas of strawberries, cranberries, juniper and red tea. I had to sample a lot of gin too (which is VERY important, don’t you know). Of course, we also love rum. So, who knows, maybe we will come out with some Pirate Queen rum in the future as well!”

Aside from touring and promoting the album, what are your future plans?

“For me personally? Write more music as soon as possible, both for Pirate Queen and my other band Tales of Time as well as an array of other projects I’m working on with very talented musicians! It’s what I love to do!”

Do you have a message for your fellow pirates?

“Ahoy, great adventurers! We can’t wait to set sail with you as soon as possible and we thank you for all of your support thus far! Raise a glass of PQ gin (other brands are available) to the sky and prepare for battles, quests and heavy metal!”

Interview By Pete Dennis

Photo Credits: Culturaldogs