Having just released their debut album, No Taste, Toronto band Bad Waitress have been become firm favourites over the last few months with the riotous, raging power of singles such as ‘Strawberry Milkshake‘ and their playful recent video for album track ‘Rabbit Hole‘. With scuzzy, pulsating hooks and immense, seething vocals, we just can’t get enough of their frenzied, empowering drive and dark, swirling energy.
We spoke to the band to find out more about the new album, what inspires them, and their feelings about how the music scene is for women and non binary people at the moment… Have a read!
Hi Bad Waitress, welcome to Get In Her Ears – thanks so much for joining us! How are you doing today?
We’re doing real good thanks! Thanks for speaking with us.
How did you all initially meet and start creating music together?
Kali came down from the big white north and met Moon, they started jamming occasionally and Katelyn dropped some heavy hints that they wanted in on the jams too. Kali messaged Nicole on Facebook a couple years later when they needed a new bassist… And the rest is history!
We big fans of your raging, energy-fuelled sound, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Sonic Youth, Idles, PJ Harvey, The Birthday Party, Gang of Four!
You’ve just released your debut album No Taste, which is super exciting! Are you able to tell us a bit about the album? Are there any particular themes or inspirations running throughout it? And how does the writing process normally work within the band?
A lot of the stuff discussed in the songs is reflective of turbulent childhoods, political unrest, complicated relationships and uncomfortable expectations being forced on you. The band is definitely a place to air out our frustrations and make sense of the world around us. Sometimes Kali will bring lyrics and a structure and the rest of us will work off of that, other times we just start jamming and latch on to a certain riff or beat and it turns into a song somehow. It’s very much a collaborative process – each of us brings something unique to the mix.
How have you found recording and promoting an album during these strange times? Have you had to adjust the way that you’d normally do things?
We actually recorded this album in the summer of 2019 – it was originally going to be released in 2020, but we decided to hold on to it until we figured out what the heck was going on with the world. We’ve definitely had to work on our online presence more; we did some weird variety show type stuff on our Instagram live, we did a Twitch stream, we’ve done a couple livestream shows. It’s been a lot more internet based stuff, but it seems like live-in-the-flesh type situations are on the horizon, so maybe we won’t have to figure out how to get big on tiktok just yet.
We love your latest vibrant Mad Hatters-esque video for album track ‘Rabbit Hole’ – are you able to tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this song and its magnificent visuals?
We just really like having fun with the videos we make. We’re all into weird horror movies, Kali and Katelyn especially, so we draw from that a lot. It’s a chance for us to live out whatever crazy fantasies we dream up that day. ‘Rabbit Hole’ is a pretty dark song about being trapped in the comfort of depression – we didn’t want to have a drab depressing video for it though, so we went the complete opposite direction visually.
You’ve previously described the main premise of forming the band as being that you “…just wanted to get together and play music with people who weren’t old men” (which sounds like a great reason to me!). How do you feel the music scene is generally for women and non binary folk at the moment? Do you feel that much has changed or improved over the last few years?
We love seeing how many more bands there are nowadays made up of women, trans people and non binary people. Honestly though, there’s still a long way to go. We still get backhanded compliments, or weird micro aggressions about how impressed people are that we can actually play our instruments, or people assuming we’re finding some success because we’re not men, or people telling us what we should do with our music or stage presence, as though they know better. There’s also a lot of misgendering (Moon and Katelyn are non binary, Kali and Nicole are women) and that’s exhausting. But there’s also a beautifully supportive community that we’re a part of, full of people that are constantly learning and lifting each other up. There’s lots of work still to do, but there’s also lots of people willing to put in that work and make the scene a better place for everyone.
The last year has obviously been difficult for everyone in different ways, but has there been anything or anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, recently?
Our local music scene is really inspiring. There’s been so many cool things coming out of the pandemic. Houndstooth is a bar that’s been hosting shows safely, with a band playing inside behind windows and people can watch from the street. Our friend Danny Alexander made a short film about local musicians and how they were dealing with quarantine. Ultra is a Toronto-based zine that creatives can contribute anything to – poetry, music, photography, interviews. Lootbag Records put out a few compilation albums, and there’s been a bunch of bands releasing new music. Everything our friends have been making inspires us to keep creating!
And it’s obviously quite difficult organising anything right now, but – in addition to the release of the new album – what else does the rest of 2021 have in store for Bad Waitress?
We’ve got a tour coming up with Kills Birds in December, which we’re really stoked about! We can’t wait to tear it up on stage again; that’s where we’re really at home. Hopefully 2022 is the time for music to really be able to come back full force.
Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
The Effens, Wine Lips, Your Grandad, Burner, Piper Maru, Animatist, Kali Horse, Hot Garbage, Mother Tongues… Just to name a few!
Massive thanks to Bad Waitress for answering our questions! Watch their latest video for ‘Manners’ here:
No Taste, the debut album from Bad Waitress, is out now via Royal Mountain Records.
Photo Credit: Kate Dockeray