Meet Tyrella Slemp and Tori Brothers, podcast hosts of Killer Queens: A True Crime Podcast filled with killer 90’s references and southern sass. These sisters make their listeners feel like their sitting around a table with best friends talking about favorite true-crime cases.
The sisters already had a love for true crime ( Bill Kurtis, Cold Case Files, Snapped) before Killer Queens officially launched in August 2017, but they had no idea there were podcasts on the topic. A friend had mentioned it to Selmp, as she used to work in marketing podcasting, and sent her over Sword and Scale — she was hooked after that.
“I told Tori, ‘we could do this.’ We already watch Snapped, Cold Cases and talk about it. It’s so easy, you just put a microphone in front of you, record it, and put it out into the world,” Slemp said.
Quickly after they decided to do a weekly episode, Slemp realized it might take more than just ‘recording and putting it out to the world,’ due to learning how to edit and what equipment was needed, but that didn’t stop them there.
As the final steps were coming together, they needed to figure out a name, and that’s when Brothers suggested the name Killer Queens. A few years ago, she was an inspired fashion influencer, and her handle was: Killer Queen.
“[The name] was inspired by the Queen song, it was cute and funny. But then I realized it was sh— ton more work than I thought it was going to be and went nowhere after that. Then Tryella kept badgered me about doing a podcast, and I finally said, ‘Ok let’s do this!’ [At the time] I did not listen to podcasts or know what they were. But, the name was perfect for it,” Brothers said.
It may not be most people’s first choice to work with their sibling, but for the 18-month-apart sisters, it was, especially when it’s about a topic they both love. As they might bump heads, Brothers mentions, she admits that it is easier to have the harder conversations with her sister, Slemp, versus with someone else.
“We’ve always had a pretty unique relationship; I have friends that say, ‘I like my sister, but I don’t want to talk to her,’ but Tori and I talk almost 7-8 days a day. If we’re not texting, we’re talking. We do butt heads a little bit, but not that much — we have similar tastes. Tori likes more of the psychology and more of the resolutions cases,” Slemp said, “I like the unsolved and science behind the cases.”
Once Slemp said that out loud, Brothers jumped in and said, “No! F— unsolved.” I have to agree with Brothers on this one, “I get the point of unsolved cases, you need to put it out there, and hopefully someone out there can solve it, but at the same time, I don’t want to only talk about that, and it’s all sad,” Brothers added.
As if being a podcaster isn’t a hard enough job, being a true-crime one doesn’t help either — constantly talking about murders, serial killers, and anything else related can take a heavy toll on the person. That’s why Killer Queens is not your typical true-crime podcast, they add a little bit of humor and 90s references that everyone can relate to — while discussing a topic that fanatics so many people.
“It’s easy for me to listen to [true crime] non-stop, but it is a lot: you’re recording it, you’re researching it, and you’re watching it. I have to make sure I actually listen to music in the car and am not just consuming dark content,” Slemp said.
Brothers felt the same.
“After we record, I put on trashy TV because it’s like pallet cleanser. Or if I am spending all day Sunday watching Snapped, I then take some time in-between and put on a Disney movie instead,” she said.
People who may not be the biggest fan of true crime need to understand it’s not about idolizing serial killers or murders, but it’s to build awareness for listeners themselves. We learn about the past, therefore we do not repeat it in the future or to make the mistake the victims might have made without realizing.
“We’ve struggled with that sometimes, [asking ourselves] are we the problem of people idolizing serial killers — not that we’re on that train, but [for example] with unsolved cases there’s always information someone has that someone might of not known they had. If you can get it out to more people, maybe you can get some type of revaluation. With solved cases, [listeners] can start looking for warning signs, maybe after a domestic abuse episode and you realize it sounds like something that a friend is going through. All kinds of things to learn and apply to how to live in the world more safely. [Such as] keeping an eye out in the Target parking lot because of the kidnapping of Kelsey Smith, who was taken in broad daylight. [The podcast] helps bring an awareness,” Slemp said.
Not only is it about crimes or awareness, but it’s about what happens after the crime — the judicial system, the trail. The sisters hope with the popularity of the true-crime this can help people become better jurors in the future, to understand an investigation, not rush with a decision, and to make sure they know this is such an important job.
“One of the things that I think we’ve been pretty passionate about the whole time but specifically or most recently for me anyways really gotten like a fire under my ass is reform for the judicial system. They don’t get it right all the time until we talk about cases that sometimes it’s like an exoneration or a wrongful conviction, and I think people don’t understand the power that they can possess if they vote in these local elections. We try to bring a lot of that, we’re not just talking about the case, but the trail as well,” Brothers said.
When the sisters started the podcast, they didn’t think they were going to grow a community like the one they have today —they thought only friends and family were going to listen. But, fast forward three years later, and their community is growing every single day. The content is better, the scheduling is better, and the cases are getting better. As their fan base continued growing, the sisters wanted to give their listeners more and opened a Patreon that you can sign up through their website. There are five different levels, and starting low as $3 a month, each tier has different perks, such as bonus episodes, early access to new regular episodes, and more! Click here to find out more.
“Our community is so engaged, and we have a lot of followers on social media that we get to know, we feel like we’ve made good honest friends who listen. There’s not a lot of people or places you can go up to and say, ‘let’s talk about serial killers.’ It’s fun to meet people who have that in common,” Slemp said.
Due to COVID-19, some ideas were put on hold for the future of Killer Queens, but that’s not going to stop them from putting out great content and making their listeners feel like they’re sitting around the table with a couple of friends discussing their favorite case. The sisters for the time being are focusing on more video content for their Private Facebook Group, which comes with their $10 level Patreon, where they’ll be adding on to their already live Q&As with live case discussions.
If you love light true-crime, with endless FRIENDS quotes and southern sass — make sure you tune in every Saturday wherever you listen to podcasts and give Killer Queens a listen. Make sure you’re following Killer Queens for updates and more!