Today The Queer Review exclusively premieres Hell Raiser by emerging queer electo-pop artist, Joel Christian. The energetic dance track is filled with gritty synths, heavy drops and mysterious glitches that characterise LA based Christian’s niche brand of dark-pop. The first single from his debut album, releasing later this year, Hell Raiser is a dirty night club dance track destined to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
Turn those speakers up loud and blast out the Official lyric video below. You won’t need that second cup of coffee.
Ahead of today’s single launch The Queer Review’s editor James Kleinmann spoke exclusively with the hell-raiser himself, Joel Christian, about what inspired the track, his musical idols and why he loves Ryan Murphy.
James Kleinmann, The Queer Review: Tell us about the inspiration for this song and the kind of sound and mood you wanted to create?
Joel Christian: “Well, I wanted to write a pop song that made people feel confident and fearless at the same time. I remember growing up, listening to pop music and getting lost in it. It was my ultimate escape. I would put on a cool leather jacket and play my favourite song and feel like a total badass. This is how I feel about Hell Raiser. A hellraiser to me is someone who is confident, fearless, and unapologetically themselves. I wanted to create a fantasy of hopping on this motorcycle and getting lost in the music. This song should make you dance and forget your fears!”
Does this track give us a good flavour of what we can expect from the EP?
“I actually wrote Hell Raiser as the first track on the album. It’s an introduction to my dark fantasy world of electronic pop music that I feel safe in. I would say that my album is as if a sci-fi fantasy film and a horror movie had a gay pop star baby, that would be me! The album is a journey through my imagination, something I was always so afraid to show because my creativity is so valuable to me. This album represents my journey of not being afraid to show who I truly am and songs that will make you dance and feel like a superstar!”
Why are you drawn to music as an outlet for your creative expression?
“Growing up I was always so interested in entertainment and performing. Throughout high school, I did theatre and acting, but music and pop culture were always my number one obsession. I love music because it’s endless and powerful. Whenever I felt sad, lonely, scared, or lost music saved me. I love writing songs, finding melodies, singing, creating visuals to a story; everything about music excites me.”
Who are you musical idols and was there anyone you were channeling or inspired by for this track?
“Wow, I have so many musical idols. I love Prince, Billy Idol, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, Madonna, Elton John and Cher, just to name a few. Any artist that takes their visuals and art to the next level. I love flamboyant pop stars who take risks with their music and challenge themselves to progress. I channeled the confidence of every pop star I’ve seen or listened to for this track. I wanted a track that was simple, but exhilarating at the same time.”
What’s your favourite LGBTQ+ film, TV series, book, play, piece of music, artwork, or person and why?
“I love Ryan Murphy as a writer – he’s so talented in every aspect of creativity. He always creates so many LGBTQ characters and I just love everything he does. I love Kim Petras because she’s so fearless and such a gay icon. In terms of movies, I love Call Me By Your Name because I wish that was my love life! I love all the guys on Queer Eye because they really show friendship so much. I was obsessed with the show Looking, but unfortunately it ended up getting canceled.”
By James Kleinmann