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

Track Of The Day: Talking Violet – ‘Caterpillar’ / ‘Superego’

After taking listeners on an audible odyssey with their ethereal extended play, 2018’s Round Dreams – and following last year’s singles, ‘Bloom’ and ‘Indigo’ – Ontario four-piece Talking Violet have returned with ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’; two solid tracks of dreamy distortion and angsty lyricism which secure the band’s place as alt-rock scientists of dream-pop.

Self-described as “the loudest sleepy band you’ve ever heard”, Talking Violet have wasted no time pushing the boundaries of alternative rock with a cacophony of sonically sound elements; slowing down only to gaze at their guitar pedals. In their laboratory/studio, the Canadian quartet have cultivated their sound, crafting shimmering soundscapes that transcend genre.

First, guitarist Jay Turnbull provides lead vocals on the anxiety-driven ‘Caterpillar’, a hopeful song of self-discovery, and an ode to those of us that feel unsure of ourselves and the journey ahead: “It describes going through a time in my life where I was dealing with intense daily anxiety and felt unsure of how I was going to achieve the goals I set for myself.” From Jay’s strummed guitar melodies to the hazily picked shoe-gaze tones of guitarist Jill Goyeau, ‘Caterpillar’ is seething with emotion; further elevated by bassist Nate Blackton and Jill’s vocal harmonisation.

Next, Talking Violet tackle unhealthy friendships with ‘Superego’; a brooding performance from Jay, who reflects upon his own hesitation to end a close friendship, and accept that it was time to move forward. Jay’s haunting lyrics (“So if you stop and ask why I’m not around / Hope it doesn’t take long to figure it out”) are juxtaposed against a fuzzy soft/loud/soft dynamic reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, building to a crescendo of distorted guitars, pulsating basslines, and Jeremie Brousseau’s crashing percussion.

Through the experimental use of guitar effects, Talking Violet have developed a dense, atmospheric sound that captures the feeling of dreams. So, grab your dream-pop mixtape, add ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’ to the tracklist, close your eyes, and press play.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Photo Credit: Kamryn Cusumano

LISTEN: Body Breaks – ‘Between the Heart and the Mind’

An off-kilter guitar tune exploring the battle between logic and emotion when it comes to forgiving infidelity, Canadian art-punk duo Body Breaks have shared their debut single ‘Between the Heart and the Mind’. Taken from their upcoming album Bad Trouble (We Are Time), which is set for release on 18th June, the pair blend candid guitar twangs and straight-forward vocals on the track to help navigate their way towards acceptance and forgiveness.

Formed of Matt LeGroulx and Julie Reich, Body Breaks create sounds that are inspired by the likes of Pavement, Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth. Fuelled by a strong DIY ethos, LeGroulx experimented with quarter tone guitar scales to form his distinctive riffs and Reich mined her own personal history in order to write the lyrics for their new album, with their debut single being a cathartic blend of both these elements.

“I wrote ‘Between the Heart and the Mind’ after I caught someone cheating on me and eventually came to forgiveness,” Reich explains. “When you’re trying to make sense of something hard, you’ve got your feelings and your rationale. You need to use both, and somewhere in the middle you find peace.” Amidst disorientating riffs and hazy vocals, Reich appears to find this middle ground.

Listen to ‘Between the Heart and the Mind’ below.

Follow Body Breaks on bandcamp, Twitter & Instagram

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut