A short and incomplete biography

“If I had to do it all over again? Why not, I would do it a little bit differently”, Freddie Mercury was once quoted as saying. 8 years after his death, two Munich-based, fake-Japanese artists – singer Koneko and producer Jo Ashito – decided to do it all over again for him: their EP “Mercury Rising”, released on Viennese super-label Angelika Köhlermann, consisted of nothing but Freddie Mercury covers. Their minimalistic version of “Cool Cat” particularly impressed the blossoming late nineties electro music scene.

One year later, a bass player by the name of Jason Arigato teamed up with the band. Remaining incognito, the now-trio released a very cool electro take on Kiss’ disco-classic, “I was made for loving you”. Within a few months the track became a smash across the global dancefloors, catwalks and queer parties of the time. Still as popular now as it was then, Queen of Japans version of the song continues to appear on film soundtracks, hit DJ compilations and clocks up millions of clicks on streaming platforms.

New albums full of eccentric cover versions followed, “Nightlife in Tokyo” (2001, on Erkrankung durch Musique/Angelika Köhlermann) and “Headrush” (2002, on Echokammer). They included follow-up smashers like “I love rock’n’roll”, “Do you think I’m sexy?” or “The winner takes it all”, increasing the hype surrounding this obscure Japanese threesome. Even major players like Madonna and Pepsi expressed their interest in collaborations.
In 2004 QoJ put out their first album with original song material: “Foreign Politics” (on Erkrankung/Echokammer). Soon after they collapsed in a crazed frenzy, completely withdrawing from the public eye. Only a few compilations and reprints have appeared since.
20 years after the original swindle, Queen of Japan are back, having finally discovered their romantic side. Returning to their inspirational roots, their new “Best Friend” EP features one of Queen’s most romantic songs. Seems like the band has, once again, decided to do it all again… and Freddie would surely second that.