INTERVIEW: Bad Waitress

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 

Comic Review: Bad Waitress – ‘Rabbit Hole’

The latest in our ‘Comic Reviews’ feature – where illustrator Sally-Anne responds to a new release with her wonderfully unique drawings – we check out the raging latest single from Toronto’s Bad Waitress. Following the riotous power of ‘Strawberry Milkshake‘, the band have now shared a playful new video for ‘Rabbit Hole‘, ahead of the release of their debut album later this week.

Of ‘Rabbit Hole’, the band explain:

Rabbit Hole’ plunges you headfirst into an airless spiral. You’re unreachable, growing comfortable in the bleak nest you’ve found yourself in, knowing those you love will tire of trying to dig you out. The song begins with rising tension that, with a rough shove, gives way to a deep sludgy conclusion. Dissonant guitars and jarring vocals bring you to that dark place and swallow you whole.”

No Taste, the upcoming debut album from Bad Waitress, is set for release 3rd September via Royal Mountain.

Sally-Anne Hickman
@sallyshinystars

PLAYLIST: July 2021

The GIHE team have unearthed some more new music gems for you to listen to on our July Playlist! There’s an eclectic mix of alternative tunes, synth-pop bangers and raucous guitar anthems for you to enjoy. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of this post.

Follow GIHE on Spotify to hear all of our previous playlists too.

Amy Winehouse – ‘Me & Mr Jones’
“What kind of fuckery is this?” – one of my all time favourite lyrics, courtesy of Amy Winehouse. This month marked ten years since her untimely death and gave us all a chance to reflect on her iconic musical legacy. Charming, intelligent and rib-achingly funny, but simultaneously plagued by addiction, alcoholism and bulimia, Amy Winehouse’s altruistic talent is one that simply can’t be rivalled. RIP Amy. (Kate Crudgington)

Babeheaven – ‘Lovefool’ (The Cardigans Cover)
Babeheaven are a band who do wonders with their covers and this one is no exception. Singer Nancy Andersen’s voice just beautifully falls over the music every time, the perfect accompaniment to this sweltering summer where we just have to slow down. (Tash Walker)

Abra – ‘Roses’
This song has been spinning its way around all of my playlists over the last month. Released back in 2015, I always have space for a return listen for Abra. The way a song sounds six years later is part of the beauty of it, especially the lyrics on this one – “You taste best when you are in full bloom” – turn up your dials for a big slice of distilled electro pop. (TW)

Evil House Party – ‘Head Held High’
I love this captivating synth-pop tune from Copenhagen-based duo Evil House Party. Taken from their debut EP Grand Theft Audio, which is set for release on 24th September via Third Coming Records, the track is a heady, bittersweet reflection on personal uncertainty and laments the struggle of trying to survive in the real world whilst also trying to fulfil your dreams. (KC)

Maria Uzor – ‘Innocence’
The latest solo release of Maria Uzor (also one half of GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth), ‘Innocence’ offers an other-worldly soundscape propelled by glitchy electronic hooks and drum ‘n’ bass reminiscent beats. Interweaving a whirring ethereal splendour with shades of the likes of Grimes with a unique soul-fused drive, I just can’t get enough of its blissful, euphoric energy and bewitching allure. Innocence And Worldliness, the upcoming EP from Maria Uzor, is set for release on 27th August. (Mari Lane)

John Glacier – ‘Icing’
This song! Coming in at 1.44 a song has never left me desperate for more, obsessed is an understatement. East London’s John Glacier released this as a teaser from the forthcoming 12-track project SHILOH: Lost For Words, due on 30th July. (TW)

Moor Mother ft. lojii – ‘Shekere’
Having released her debut album Fetish Bones back in 2016, musician-poet-artist-workshop facilitator Camae Ayewa – aka Moor Mother – has now announced her upcoming new album, Black Encyclopedia Of The Air. Taken from the album, latest single ‘Shekere’ features Philadelphia rapper lojii and is propelled by a stripped-back, jazz-infused musicality as it oozes a swirling, stirring allure and immersive, soulful drive. As poetically poignant lyricism is set against the captivating flow of the instrumentation, an exquisitely enthralling, and undeniably necessary, battle-cry is created. Black Encyclopedia Of The Air, the upcoming album from Moor Mother, is set for release on 17th September via ANTI-. (ML)

Witch Prophet – ‘Makda’
I have Tash to thank for introducing me to the majestic sounds of Ethio queer hip-hop fusion artist Witch Prophet. ‘Makda’ is a celebration of the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba and the accompanying video for the track is all about showcasing “the power of Black women and mothers.” (KC)

Piroshka – ‘V.O’
Taken from Piroshka’s brand new album, Love Drips and Gathers, ‘V.O’ offers a poignant tribute to 4AD’s late in-house art director and graphic designer Vaughan Oliver. A swirling, ethereal soundscape, sparkling with a captivating, shoegaze-tinged splendour, the track reflects not only on Miki Berenyi’s memories of Vaughan, but also her experience of attending his funeral last year – with many of the lyrics inspired by speeches that she heard on the day. Find out more about Piroshka and their new album in our recent interview with Miki here. (ML)

Praises – ‘A World On Fire’
This shadowy track by Toronto-based Praises is such a hypnotising listen. The new project of Jesse Crowe (formerly one-half of Beliefs), ‘A World On Fire’ “imagines a diaspora and a war, whilst tackling other ideas of mortality, identity and love.” The track is taken from Praises’ upcoming EP, EP4, which is set for release on 5th August via Hand Drawn Dracula. (KC)

Tirzah – ‘Tectonic’
Anyone who knows me/has asked me what I’m listening to over the last couple of years will have given you one answer: TIRZAH. She’s recently announced the release of her new album Colourgrade which I am counting down the days to. This song ‘Tectonic’ is totally hypnotic, starting with a conflicting drone before her vocals arrive, rougher than we’re used to, all adding to the music’s intensity – and don’t even get me started on the lyrics. Needless to say, this track gives me FEELS. (TW)

Täpp – ‘Aquaria’
The latest release from Jazztronica/hip hop/ classical collective Täpp, led by classically trained jazz violinist Rebekah Reid. This track is lifted from their debut album, named after the winner of Season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race – ‘Aquaria’ is an anthem created to empower women, transgender/gender non-conforming people and the LGBTQ+ community, encouraging them to step into their light and “shine like the gifts they are to the world.” Can’t argue with that. (TW)

Tiiva – ‘Bones’
Is it even a GIHE playlist if I don’t include a Tiiva track? I’m a big fan of all their releases so far and ‘Bones’ is no exception. The London-based producer has crafted another captivating soundscape full of atmospheric beats, hushed vocals and summery synth sounds. (KC)

Planningtorock – ‘Gay Dreams Come True’
This song gives nothing but pure gay joy, a pleasure to hear it pouring out of any speakers. Planningtorock has to be the most consistent creator of absolute dance tunes right now. I LOVE IT. What vibes, what fun. (TW)

cheeky – ‘SPADES’
cheeky is a classically trained pianist, queer non-binary producer based in Philadelphia. This track ‘SPADES’ is taken from their recent EP The Tower. Constructed of mostly percussive sounds sampled from their piano, cheeky says this song is “about struggling with self love.” Definitely check out their new EP, it’s a bittersweet exploration of their musical influences and includes a bewitching cover of ‘Nightingale’ from Disney’s Cinderella. (KC)

FLOSSING – ‘SWITCH’
FLOSSING is the new project from Heather Elle, formerly of Bodega and The Wants. I love her candid, moody sound on her debut single ‘SWITCH’, which explores her own sexuality and “the deviant nature of men.” I can’t wait to hear her new EP Queen Of The Mall, which is set for release on 10th September. (KC)

Ailsa Tully – ‘Sheets’
Ahead of the release of a new EP next month, Welsh artist Ailsa Tully recently shared poignant single ‘Sheets’. Flowing with a shimmering, stripped back musicality, ‘Sheets’ combines lilting melodies with Tully’s crystalline, honey-sweet vocals. Oozing an immersive, delicate emotion and sparkling grace, there is something uniquely captivating about the juxtaposition of the vocals and the rippling instrumentation; the gentle build up and crescendo evoking images of waves delicately crashing against swathes of sand. Holy Isle, the upcoming EP from Ailsa Tully, is set for release 20th August via Dalliance Recordings. (ML)

CMAT – ‘2 Wrecked 2 Care’
Irish pop sensation CMAT says this song is based around the idea of what “would have happened if Sheryl Crow ever had to work in a TK Maxx” – absolute lols. I love everything CMAT creates and I can’t wait to see her live for the first time at her sold out show at The Troubadour in November. (KC)

Bad Waitress – ‘Strawberry Milkshake’
The latest single from Toronto based Bad Waitress, ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ blasts into the ears with pulsating hooks and thrashing beats, as Kali-Ann Butala’s seething vocals soar with a riotous power. Propelled by a gritty energy and frenzied, empowering drive, it’s a wonderfully sinister – hell-raisingly raucous yet fuzzily catchy – punk-fuelled anthem. Of the track, the band comment: “Strawberry Milkshake’ is saccharine sweet, milky pink terror. On the surface it’s sexy and enticing – but there’s a poisonous sludge bubbling just beneath.” No Taste, the debut album from Bad Waitress, is set for release on 3rd September. (ML)

Pretty Happy – ‘Sudocream’
Centered around the Cork-centric story of a girl who is suffering from alcohol poisoning in the Mercy Hospital whilst her partner sits across the road in the Franciscan Well pub, Pretty Happy’s ‘Sudocream’ kicks and screams with the kind of frustration, panic and anxiety that can’t be soothed by the childhood medicinal staple it’s named after. It’s a frantic, witty, cathartic burst of art punk noise from the Cork trio, lifted from their recent EP Sluggers Bridge, released via Art For Blind Records. (KC)

My Idea – ‘Stay Away Still’
The latest single from New York duo Nate Amos and Lily Konigsberg – aka My Idea – ‘Stay Away Still’ is a perfectly jangly slice of lo-fi, indie-pop. I’m a big fan of this track’s luscious, sunny melodies and the way it juxtaposes a deadpan wit with a dreamy, twinkling energy. ‘Stay Away Still’ has been released with accompanying single ‘That’s My Idea’ ahead of the duo’s debut EP, set for release on 30th July. (ML)

Softcult – ‘Spit It Out’
I’m a big fan of this lush, swirling guitar tune from Canadian duo Softcult. Formed of Ontario-based twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, this new single gently encourages listeners to face up to, and reject their unconscious bias. Check out the accompanying video for it here. (KC)

Meggie Brown – ‘Dusty Smells’
The first song to be taken from London-based Meggie Brown’s upcoming new EP, ‘Dusty Smells’ is a nostalgia-inducing anthem for anyone struggling with their identity. With shades of the likes of Aussie fave Courtney Barnett, it juxtaposes Brown’s deadpan-yet-poetic reflections with a sparkling musicality as scuzzy hooks flow with a lilting energy, offering an uplifting glimmer of hope. Of the track, Brown – who has recently come out as transgender – explains: “Coming to terms with one’s gender identity has been both beautiful and challenging during this lockdown. When I wrote and recorded ‘Dusty Smells’ I wanted it to match through sound how non-binary those emotions and realisations were.” HOME, the upcoming EP from Meggie Brown, is set for release later this year. (ML)

th’sheridans – ‘Awesome Summers & Kate’
The latest single from indie-pop duo th’sheridans, ‘Awesome Summers & Kate’ is taken from their upcoming career-spanning compilation. Propelled by scuzzy hooks, jangly drum-machine induced beats and a swirling, danceable energy, it reflects on the tentative anticipation of possibilities as restrictions start to lift. With shades of the stripped-back hype-pop/dance-punk of Le Tigre, it offers a perfect smattering of effervescent euphoria – something that is much needed in these uncertain times. Pieces Of General, the upcoming compilation album from th’sheridans, is set for release on 10th September via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Death Valley Girls – ‘Sanitarium Blues’
A refreshingly honest reflection on mental health struggles, Death Valley Girls’ latest single ‘Sanitarium Blues’ was inspired by vocalist Bonnie Bloomgarden’s stay at a professional institution amidst a serious battle with her own mental health. Propelled by the soaring, gritty power of Bloomgarden’s vocals, it’ll soak you in its fierce, reverb-strewn riffs that rage with a frenzied, angsty drive. Oozing a sludgey, grunge-fuelled fuzz with a swirling psychedelic allure, it’s an instantly bewitching and eerily immersive creation. Street Venom, the re-issued album, is set for release on 30th July via Suicide Squeeze Records. (ML)

Ms White – ‘Fuck Men’
I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard of Ms White until recently, when Belfast artist F.R.U.I.T.Y thankfully introduced me to her by including this track in their recent Five Favourites feature for us. A wonderfully empowering anthem from the Trans artist, the name really speaks for itself: I challenge you to listen to this and not feel motivated and ready to face the world. (ML)

Track Of The Day: Bad Waitress – ‘Strawberry Milkshake’

Following 2018’s EP Party Bangers, Toronto-based Bad Waitress have now announced their debut album. Ahead of the album’s release this autumn, the band have now shared a fiery new single.

An eerily raging anthem, ‘Strawberry Milkshake‘ blasts into the ears with its scuzzy, pulsating hooks and thrashing beats, as Kali-Ann Butala’s raw, seething vocals soar with a swirling, riotous power, reminiscent of the legendary Brody Dalle. Propelled by a gritty energy and frenzied, empowering drive, it’s a wonderfully sinister – hell-raisingly raucous yet fuzzily catchy – punk-fuelled anthem. Of the track, the band comment:

“‘Strawberry Milkshake’ is saccharine sweet, milky pink terror. On the surface it’s sexy and enticing – but there’s a poisonous sludge bubbling just beneath. It paints the picture of an all-American beauty pageant with buckets of blood as the cherry on top.

Watch the zombie-filled new video for ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ now:

No Taste, the debut album from Bad Waitress, is set for release 3rd September via Royal Mountain.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Kate Dockeray