Featuring Donnie Moore of Absolutely Not | By Kelley O’Death
FQP shines a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of the LGBTQIA community and the world of alternative music. While queer representation is often refracted through the prism of normative curiosities and concerns, FQP features queer voices saying whatever they want, however they want. Don’t fear the realness.
There’s something cinematic about Chicago trio Absolutely Not’s hot pink post-punk. Spacey, cheeky, and menacing, the 10 tracks on their fifth album, Errors—out July 28 via No Trend Records—play like lost soundtrack cuts from campy high school horror touchstones like “Jawbreaker,” “Pep Squad,” and Gregg Araki’s Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy. While Absolutely Not don’t actually endorse cutting down the prom queen with your bedazzled switchblade, they are dead set on murdering the mean girls inside your head. Their single, “Strictly Top,” is an outsider anthem promoting radical self-acceptance, its music video featuring a glittering rogues gallery of Chicago nightlife’s most fabulous misfits—including the phenomenal Lucy Stoole! These connections were likely fostered through running Glitter Creeps, a monthly queer rock event created by vocalist and guitarist Donnie Moore and his sister, co-vocalist and keys player Madison Moore, to further Absolutely Not’s ethos of inclusivity, celebration, and all things sparkly and pink.
On Booking in Chicago:
Music is extremely important to me, so being a “musical matchmaker” with all the incredible bands currently making noise around the country brings me great joy. A lot of booking agents can be very lackadaisical with their curation, which can be especially frustrating for out of town acts, so I always try to provide the performers and audience with genuinely entertaining and fluid lineups. If you like the first band, you’ll probably enjoy the headliner too, and vice versa—you get the idea.
That being said, keeping in line with those ideals can be extremely tough and thoroughly frustrating at times, and it definitely takes some thick skin to make it out unscathed. I’d like to think my skin is thick, but I’m probably a medium thickness at best. Bands cancel last minute, demand odd shit, say odd shit to you and the venue’s staff, etc. It can definitely be a nightmare. However, for every band that behaves in such a way, there are two that are chock-full of creative folks with amazing energy and personalities. Those are the bands I live for and work with repeatedly. Those are the bands that leave a more positive lasting impression on the music scene.
On Producing WAD and My Own Dang Record:
WAD. Gosh, I love ‘em. Such an amazing band. Wall of sound post-punk that demands your attention and all of your emotions. Claire’s vocals haunt each track, which only heightens the already gripping music. Producing them was a breeze and a half. We all clicked so well. Claire’s need for darkness during her vocals sessions especially proved that we are kindred spirits. “You want the lights off when you sing, Claire? Like, I really want to put you in total fucking darkness with all your demons… cool?” To which she very quickly replied in a deep voice, “Mmm, yes please.” Swoon. I need the darkness too, with no one looking at me. That’s when the real raw crazy comes out.
With WAD’s record, and with my own record, Errors, I worked with the talented and knowledgeable Brian Fox. He engineered—and honestly, coproduced—both records perfectly. Brian and I work together well because we enjoy similar music, production styles, and tonality. I’m also not afraid to try my weirdo ideas around Brian, which is ideal, and sometimes, he even has a few weirdo ideas of his own!
Errors was the first Absolutely Not record where I really took my time not only writing the songs, but also recording them. I’ve always worked hard on my records, but this one was different, this one was the most important to me. I had a very specific idea of how I wanted the whole thing to be, a sci-fi/horror B-movie and bubblegum molded into a spastic post-punk record, and I hope that’s exactly what people hear.
On Weed and Anxiety:
Weed. Medicine. Opens my mind to all sounds. Opens my mind to all films. Always slowing the pace of my ever-swirling thoughts and helping me focus and relax. My favorite time to smoke—besides all day every day—is when I’m working on a new demo for Absolutely Not or whatever fake second, third, or fourth band I’ve created in my own head that day. I just sit on the floor in my apartment with a laptop, guitar, Casio keyboard, and my Batman pipe (thanks Madison!). Bye world, I’m slipping into the shadows for a while, and who knows when I’ll be back and what I’ll be bringing with me.
Another favorite time to smoke is during shows. I do have some social anxiety, but mostly, it’s just being smashed in larger crowds that overwhelms me. Maybe it’s the heat or the noise, I don’t know, but it’s very consuming. It’s strange, because even though I can clearly be a very introverted person at times, I also equally crave going to shows, performing for people, and clucking away with my friends about all the latest gossip. It’s a constant battle of internal confusion that weed is helping me fight every day. I’m gonna just try to be all red-eyed and smiley as much as possible until the day I pass.
Weed, thank you for being my friend and my confidant.