Interview with Bad Waitress

Katelyn (guitar), Nicole (bass), Kali-Ann (vox/guitar), and Eva (drums). Photo credit: Bad Waitress.

Sarah and Weronika jumped on Zoom with their new BFFs, the Canadian punk outfit Bad Waitress, to chat about about keeping the scene safe after the fall of Burger Records, what type of monster they’d have carnal relations with, and stinky jobs. Listen to the interview here!

Especially over this past year, there’s been so many allegations surrounding several bands in the scene. How do you think we can work to make shows a safer space and how do you try to enforce this idea at your shows?

Katelyn: I think this has shed a lot of light on the smaller communities, and people being vulnerable in those spaces, because there isn’t a lot of light on them. There’s been a lot about the idea of rock and roll mystique, and kind of crushing that a bit. Because people look up to those of us that perform, and have microphones. There’s something very grandiose about the whole process, and the whole experience. Especially as an audience member, especially being young and impressionable.

It is a tough thing, and it really starts with communication between the band, their fans, what they stand for, the venue, venue owners, the promoter, and being very, very transparent about what’s okay and what’s not okay. And developing like, check systems. There’s a woman in a band called War on Women that actually wrote a book on that, that I think more people should look into. It’s basically about all the safety checks for venues and just anyone with that kind of setup, so that they can help protect lots of different people. Not just young girls, but everybody.

Nicole: I remember when we were playing this show there was some dude creeping on this girl, and I was kind of near the wall. She came over and wedged herself between me and the wall. We’re kind of at a point where if you’re a non-dude, other non-dudes will feel comfortable asking for help. I hope people come to me and uses my body as a shield against someone I don’t want to be around. But as much as we do that, when we say there’s an issue like ‘if there’s an issue, come to us,’ the onus is on those people who are doing the shitty thing to change their behavior. There’s only so much we can do to raise awareness. That really lies on the people who are abusing other people.

Eva: Keep the dialogue open with that as well. As bands, your fans and people you work with feel comfortable talking to you, because you’re already that vocal and creating that platform. And hopefully the people who are doing the shitty things should be like ‘oh, maybe I should stop being a flaming shitbag and imposing myself into peoples’ space, and assuming, and thinking that because of XYZ I can act like this.’

I’ve been in the music scene for a very long time and a friend of mine started a zine called Ultra Mag, and I ended up sharing an essay. It was after the stuff with Burger Records that you guys are referring to right now. After reading, when those things came up, I felt like ‘fuck.’ I hadn’t said anything publicly about that experience, ever, because we need to hear those stories. [Note: the folks at Ultra Mag were kind enough to compile Eva Moon’s writing here! Be sure to check it out.]

This stuff is still happening, even to younger kids. Women, boys too for sure. Nonbinary, what have you. It’s like, being that vulnerable, impressionable young person. A lot of them get taken advantage of. You think ‘oh, they’re older, it’s totally fine, they know better.’ Fucking whatever, builds that trust with you. And this stuff happens quite a lot. I feel like, the more we share our stories, the more we feel comfortable doing so. Because it is a hard thing to talk about. And I think as artists, it is our responsibility to keep that dialogue open. And hopefully, with that, we’ll keep that on board.

The silence is deafening, it’s been happening for way too long. In our industry, in any industry. And people aren’t held accountable for it. People need to be held accountable. It’s not about canceling, it’s about people understanding what’s wrong and to change their actions. Basically, creating space for people to change their behaviors and then be like, ‘oh, shit.’ Like actually realize it, like not just a cop-out like ‘oh, I didn’t know.’ Or ‘oh, I thought it was okay.’ Or ‘I know that guy, he wouldn’t do that.’ Which, in my situation, all of those things were said. And I got gaslit, by people I thought were my friends, at a very young age.

I was 24 or 25 when that happened, but they were people I worked with when I was seventeen. It was people I knew since high school. My story was not the only one, for sure. It’s super common. I appreciate that person for coming out and sharing that, because I think that’s something that’s left out of the discussion when it comes to this. It’s important to keep talking about it. Hopefully, moving forward, things will change, and create those spaces for people. I’ll let someone else talk now.

Weronika: We really appreciate you guys being vocal about that, and shedding light on it. Many good points.

Sarah: You don’t have to apologize at all. We asked, you answered.

We’re approaching the end of a pretty shitty year, do you have any New Years Resolutions?

Katelyn: Stretch. My poor fucking back is killing me from doing nothing. Being a musician, you can’t do that all the time. You like, work as a bartender. So, obviously, I can’t do any of the things I normally do. So I’ve been unemployed for eight or nine months, how long has it been now?

Weronika: Time isn’t real anymore.

All: Yeah.

Katelyn: I’m not even gonna consider a new year. It’s day by day by day, you know what I mean?

Weronika: The bar is just so low, on so many levels. I just want chill. No one bother me for a month, at least.

Nicole: I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, but if I want to change, I implement it as soon as possible. I’m pretty impatient. Lately, I’ve just tried to listen more to what I want. You wake up and the first thing you do is look at Instagram on your phone. But do you really wanna do that? Not really. There’s nothing on there. It’s not that interesting. You’re interacting with like, these many people in a day. Are you really getting that much out of all your friendships? Are you getting what you need out of everything in your life? I’m just trying to be more mindful of what I want out of everything. If it’s not serving a higher purpose, then it’s out, you know?

How has the pandemic and the absence of shows affected you and your music? What’s been keeping you sane?

Katelyn: Nothing. We’re all insane.

Eva: We were all pretty insane before this happened. This really just like, ‘Alright, let’s go. Be crazy now.’

Katelyn: Maybe it’s good for everyone else, because they’re not forced to deal with us. We’re not running around being assholes.

Sarah: What would you be doing in the streets if there weren’t a pandemic? Would you be hitting mailboxes with baseball bats, or what?

Eva: Oh my god, no. We’re not that cool.

Katelyn: What would we be doing?

Nicole: Touring, that’s what.

Katelyn: This time last year, we were playing a couple house shows and stuff. We had a Monarch show, that was Christmas-y.

Nicole: This time last year we played the Danforth with Hollerado. Sorry, we aren’t answering your question. We’re just talking now.

Katelyn: Not only do we not do interviews very much anymore, we also don’t talk to each other very much anymore.

Sarah: Every interview is like this. It feels like the band is vibing and then we are also just there. It’s all good.

Eva: One thing, Ultramono, which is Idles’ new record, highly recommend. Katelyn got me into them. That’s been really helpful. Just finding music you really like, and you’re like, I’m gonna binge this record like crazy. Also, way too much RuPaul, it’s crazy. Dragula, too. Anything related to drag. Kinda like it better than RuPaul, but they have less seasons, so I don’t have a lot to fixate on, unfortunately.

Just trying to find those little happy moments. One thing that’s been helping is I’ve been taking this thing called Bach, it’s a rescue remedy. It’s like a flower essence. I’m trying to do more research into those things. Helps me when I’m feeling very anxious. That’s a thing I’ve discovered this year, trying not to stress out too much. Which is very hard. Any little thing you can find that makes you happy, just do that thing.

Weronika: Oh, definitely. With the pandemic, I haven’t really had a lot too look forward to. So the highlights of my days have become the tiniest, most obsolete things. I’ll have popcorn and be like ‘wow, this is the greatest thing I’ve done all day.’ And it’s just a snack.

Nicole: That’s so cute!

Katelyn: Snacks have become important to us. Very, very important. A Snickers is like, it can make or break your day. Truly.

Eva: This year, one thing I’ve definitely learned is not taking things for granted. Like the popcorn. It’s like, ‘I feel silly, I’m so excited about popcorn’. But why not feel excited about popcorn?

Weronika: Whatever gets you through the day, man. Things that I did during the pandemic that were annoying, like commuting to my classes. Driving into the city in the morning, there was so much traffic, and it was early, so I was trying not to fall asleep at the wheel. But now I miss it. It’s traffic. I’m missing traffic.

Eva: I miss the shitty parts of tour. Like being in the car for too long, eating crap food, not getting enough sleep. For me, sometimes drinking stupid shit and then being like ‘Alright, doing it again tomorrow!’. Just wrecking your body. I’m gonna do it a little differently the next time around, like not drink every fucking night. Taking care of yourself is a super important thing on tour. You can have fun, but you’re doing a job. This is creating your career. I don’t go to work all fucked up, so why would I [do that on tour]. But yeah, shitty parts of tour. I would kill to have Katelyn in the car with me right now, annoying the shit out of me.

Katelyn: I’m gonna hold you to that.

Eva: I’m down. Do it. Fuck, man.

Katelyn: I had a flashback a few days ago. I woke up and was so groggy and grumpy, and I was like, ‘If I was around my bandmates right now, I would feel so much better annoying the shit out of them.’ I don’t know, it’s the extrovert in me. As soon as other people are around me, the light goes on. Having that reason to get up was so important. Now that I’m by myself or whatever, I have my cat but she doesn’t help because she’s always sleeping. At least when I had a band, I had a purpose, and that purpose was to drive them nuts. I don’t get to have that anymore, and it hurts.

Eva: I miss it so much.  

The cover of your most recent single “That Sedative” is pretty spooky looking. if you could have carnal relations with a monster or ghost, would you and if so, what kind?

Nicole: This is a crazy question. I just wanna give you so much props on that.

Eva: I think to date, that’s the best question we had.

Nicole: Katelyn is gonna go off on this question.

Katelyn: The other night, I watched Queen of the Damned for the first time since I was fifteen. So, I’d have to say vampires. They’re just sexy, you know? I think they’re dark, and sensual, and mysterious.

Nicole: They’re actually just saying that because they really love Twilight.

Katelyn: No! I hate that shit. You gotta go like, spookie-dookie. You know what I mean?

Weronika: Real shit, I will rewatch Twilight every month.

Nicole: I would do Frankenstein’s monster. He’s so misunderstood. He wants to hang out and be friends, so I’d throw him a bone.

Katelyn: That’s a good one. His whole thing is that he’s been scorned by humanity, and he just wanted to prove that he needed love too. I think he would have a lot to prove if you had that one night with him. You’d have a really awesome time.

Nicole: He’d be really grateful, too.

Sarah: In the book, they pick body parts from hot dead people. He’s like, ‘This guy has the shiniest hair, so I’m gonna use this head.’

Nicole: That’s my choice, 100%. What about you, Eva?

Eva: The first two things that came to mind were ghosts and bog witch. I like ghosts, I like witches. My answer is not very eloquent of why, just seems like a fun time, I don’t know why. Ghost sex would probably be interesting, I don’t know.

Katelyn: Unpredictable.

Eva: Bog witch would be fun.

Katelyn: Not afraid to get dirty, if you know what I mean.

Weronika: Nice variety here, no one’s jealous of someone stealing their monster.

Katelyn: I wish Kali were here to answer that. She’s like, super fucked up. She would have a really weird one. Like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Eva: Oh, that’s pretty accurate. A bad boy.

Your band name is, obviously, Bad Waitress. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Katelyn: I did irrigation for four years, that was pretty rough. Watering rich people’s yards, so it was fourteen hours of mud. That was pretty bad. Tim Horton’s was up there for. Drive-thru Tim Horton’s I worked at when I was 16, it was in this place called Whalley, which is a pretty run-down place. It was right across the street from T-bar’s which was a strip club, and the T was a butt G-string, so yeah. And that was right beside the welfare office.

Eva: This is really painting a picture.

Katelyn: Interesting customers, let’s put it that way.

Nicole: Oh my god.

Eva: I can’t wait to read your memoirs, Katelyn. It’ll happen.

Katelyn: Yeah. Surrey girl for life.

Eva: I’ll admit, I’m of the rare breed that I’ve been pretty lucky with my jobs, to be totally honest. I’ve had shitty times that have been difficult. A lot of learning curves. I don’t really think it was a shitty job, it was a hard job. I was working at this antique warehouse, that was pretty hard work.

Also, another one. I love the people, but I worked at a restaurant once, I was friends with them and stuff. Not that it was the worst, but in terms of certain things that happened, it was like “Eh, I’m not super down for this.” I lasted only a month there.

The antique warehouse was interesting, but at the time it was like, I did not want to be lifting these jail toilets up on rafters.

Katelyn: What?!

Eva: They were used for Bomb Girls, the TV show. It was one of the set pieces they had. It was a toilet-sink thing. They’re together, attached, for whatever reason. Pee and wash my hands at the same time, I guess. That was harder work for sure, most definitely for me. It was interesting, it was cool. I didn’t answer that well. Whatever.

Nicole: I worked at Moxie’s for a couple weeks and I hated it. It’s like a wannabe fancy restaurant, but it’s like a shitty chain restaurant. They make you wear heels. You have to wear jewelry and makeup and be a fucking hot bitch and shit. I’m clearly not that, so I tried.

Eva: You’re a hottie.

Nicole: I’m not a Moxie hottie. I fucking stopped going after like three weeks. I didn’t even tell them, I was just like, this is not for me, I’m leaving. I hated it.

Katelyn: I worked at a similar place called The Cactus Club. I lasted a couple weeks. I knew it was gonna rub me the wrong way when during the interview the general manager asked me what my hobbies were. And I was like, ‘I train Muay Thai’ and he was like, ‘Oh really? So what if you come to work with a black eye? What are you gonna tell our customers?’. It was like, that’s where you go? You’re worried I’m gonna show up looking cool or whatever.

And I had to wear a pencil skirt, and high heels. It was very off putting. Their clientele was people I didn’t necessarily want to engage with. So much stock put in physical appearance, it became stressful to get ready for work. Having to polish yourself up and get your tits up to your face. God, wearing high heels in a restaurant is evil torture. So bad. It’s so bad for you.

Nicole: That’s actually so fucked up if you think about it.

Describe Bad Waitress in 5 words.

Eva: Fierce, duh. That’s one.

Katelyn: Dorks.

Nicole: Pop-tarts.

Eva: Fair, Nicole loves pop-tarts. When she’s cranking on tour, if we have a box of pop-tarts on the dash, she’s good.

Nicole: We aren’t doing pop-tarts, that’s a me thing. Not a Bad Waitress thing.

Katelyn: Loud. We’re known for being a loud band.

Eva: Powerful.

Nicole: Fun! We’re fun! Is that six? I can’t count.

Sarah: Fierce, dorks, loud, powerful, fun. That’s five.

Have your neighbors ever done anything crazy to retaliate against your loud rehearsals?

Nicole: I don’t think so.

Katelyn: I would say if they had we wouldn’t be able to hear it. We’ve heard neighbors of our jam space being like, ‘We hear you guys for sure.’ It’s like sorry, we bleed through the walls. I miss bleeding through the walls, guys.

A lot of your songs are under two minutes long, was there a creative decision behind this, especially in the age of TikTok and streaming?

Eva: I don’t think it was an intentional choice, it was just sort of how things came out. Over time, we extended our songs and stuff like that. I feel like, in this day and age, where information is very quick and people are constantly looking at things or listening to things, there’s definitely benefits to having a two-minute song. Generally, your attention span can last about that long. Like even for music videos and stuff. Like a quick thing seems to get people’s attention a little bit more easily. Once you get their attention, you can start experimenting, doing different things, because they’re already engaged. It wasn’t intentional, we just play so fucking fast, it ended up being two minutes, and it’s like, ‘fuck!’.

Katelyn: I think how we started out, just being kind of scrappy.

Eva: Party-punk vibes.

Katelyn: We have an album in the bank that’s full length. We have longer songs. We can spend more time musically telling a story. We’ve evolved since the EP you’re probably referencing, that’s like ten minutes long. At the time we were recording and doing that, those songs were made to get people’s attention and playing live. At the time, we were known for creating massive ruckus and mosh pits and stagediving and stuff like that. That’s still an element, but there’s a little more focus on letting a song breathe and having more interesting arrangements. There’s more of a listening journey now. You just have to take my word for it, until that album comes out.

Eva: It’s gonna happen, I swear. We actually recorded it, it exists.

Katelyn: Those janky shows got us to where we are today. But, really stoked that that we have that in our bank, for sure.

Eva: Over time, it’s naturally progressed and developed. Now, we’re learning how to write songs differently as well. Like Katelyn said, letting it breathe and telling a story, differently than how we used to.

Sarah: That was all we had, thank you so much.

Nicole: This was so fun.

Eva: This was great, let’s do it again sometime.

Weronika: I loved talking to you guys. You guys are so fun.

Nicole: I hope we can come to your towns on tour and we can all hang out and it’ll be so fun.

Weronika: Next time you’re in Chicago, hit us up.

Sarah: We can make friendship bracelets.

All: Aww!

Eva: Oh my god, yes.

Weronika: It’s a plan. It’ll happen.

THE END

Don’t forget to check out Scrunchie on Instagram and Youtube!

And don’t forget to check out Ultra Mag, especially when they release their next issue on February 4th!

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