Quarterback 'Swerves' in With a Queer Anthem

Quarterback 'Swerves' in With a Queer Anthem

by Payton Dunn

Quarterback is back with the full-on queer R&B anthem “Swerve,” inspired by his experience dealing with internalized homophobia in a relationship. Over thumping bass and scattered metallic percussion, he unleashes his anger.

The Canadian singer even worked with an all-queer cast and production team to morph the song from its sultry auditory dimension into the visual realm. It’s accented by contorted choreography as the camera twists and turns with it, taking Quarterback’s unadulterated confidence and having it enthrall the viewer from start to finish.

PAPER sat down with Quarterback ahead of the release of “Swerve” to get a look into his creative process and what he has in store for the future, below.

What was the inspiration behind the music video for "Swerve?"

I’ve always been really inspired by early 2000’s aesthetics, bright colors, the over the top theatrics and the campiness of it all. I wanted to pay homage to Hype Williams, specifically his visuals for Missy Elliott’s "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," and his feature film Belly. I wanted to take references from this era and showcase them through my contemporary, unapologetically gay perspective.

How did the song come together musically?

This song started how most of my songs start: me angrily sitting at my piano. Then I shared it with my long-time collaborator and bestie Prado Monroe. As we listened to it in a mall parking lot, we added some verses. The song was finished before the pandemic, but I took a new dance approach to the production to bring out the queerness of my music. My boy Franco Maravilla (producer) took over and added the four-on-the-floor kick, which brought everything to the next level.

Queer themes are a super huge touchstone for the song lyrically. What were you drawing upon for that?

I wrote this song a few years back about a boy that wasn’t fully out of the closet, but was seeing me on the low. It was originally written during a frustrating time when I didn’t know how to deal with the homophobia and internalized homophobia being thrown my way.

The video also features an all-queer cast and production team. How did you go about finding that team and what was the dynamic like?

I wanted this from top to bottom to be gay AF. I collaborated with director Dylan Mitro, who brought on a long-time collaborator, Goldbloom Micomonaco, who is one-half of Kitsch Generation alongside Onyeka Oduh. As a team, they brought on Kat Zoumboulakis to do cinematography with their queer lighting and camera team. All of the outfits in the video were custom-made by local designer and close friend, Jay Aragoza. I wanted to make sure that the clothes were bedazzled and perfectly curated to the aesthetic of the vision. I hired Matthew "Snoopy" Cuff to choreograph the video. I brought on dancer Twysted Miyake-Mugler, with features from my close friends Myst Milano and Ceréna. They are all pillars, icons, legends in the Toronto Ballroom Scene.

You have an album coming out in Spring 2023. What can we expect from that?

My upcoming album, Hypersexual Heartbreak, is a dance breakup album that visits relationships to sex to process breakups. The album was mostly self-produced along with co-production from Franco Maravilla, Danny Voicu, Prado Monroe and Myst Milano. My artistry and vocals will always have R&B influence, but I was ready to create a more dance-forward pop record that was more authentic to the music that I know and love. I grabbed all of the melodies that I loved from the early 2000s and reimagined it under a queer storyline. Always making sure I have angelic vocals with gritty, dirty, sexy production to keep everyone poppin' ass. GET IT!

Photo courtesy of Dylan Mitro