Rock ’n’ roll never died — it only transformed and carried on.
Strange Breed, an all-queer, all-female garage-rock group from Vancouver, is touring across Canada to promote their debut album Permanence, which dropped Sept. 13. They stopped in Winnipeg Sept. 26.
The band is comprised of Nicolle Dupas (guitar, vocals), Terra Chaplin (guitar), Megan Bell (drums) and Ally Von Wallis (bass).
Strange Breed came together one member at a time, beginning with Dupas and Chaplin collaborating.
“When [Chaplin and I] first got together to work on something, she helped me finish a song I was trying to finish for a long time,” said Dupas.
“It was really cool to get right to working with somebody you get along with really well.”
The two wanted to integrate a drummer into their group, so Dupas enlisted her partner, Megan Bell. Bell was initially meant to be a temporary band member, as Dupas was unsure if it was wise to work with her romantic partner. The three ended up working so well together that Bell stayed on permanently.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to find a bass player or not,” said Dupas.
Von Wallis worked in a coffee shop near Bell and Dupas’s house. When they got to talking, they realized they had a lot in common.
Dupas asked Von Wallis, a guitar player, if she would be willing to learn to play bass for her band. Von Wallis agreed and becameFi their bassist.
After Strange Breed was strung together, the band set out to release an album.
The biggest hurdle the band faced while creating Permanence was financing the recording time.
“You can only get so far playing local shows,” said Bell.
The band knew they wanted professional recordings produced but could not afford it on their own.
“I feel like a huge level up for us was when we were finding grants and some funding from the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings and Creative BC.
“That was something that really helped us out,” said Bell.
Strange Breed has been experiencing the ups and downs of being on the road after their album release.
“The highs [of the tour] obviously, I think, would be the people,” said Dupas.
“The communities that we’ve been coming across have just been so wonderful and really accepting and supportive.”
The band expected the worst after hearing horror stories from other musicians, but ended up being pleasantly surprised with their touring experience.
“It’s been really good so far, I mean people are buying the album and they’re saying a lot of really kind things,” said Dupas.
“There’s been a lot of young queer individuals who are just like, ‘Thank you so much for coming here,’ because we’ve played a couple small towns.”
Political and social themes and change have been a part of Strange Breed from the beginning. They have worked with various B.C.-based organizations such as Music Heals and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Those themes come to the forefront in Permanence.
They go from rocking out with “The C-Word”, a song on consent culture, to intimate ballads about queer love and empowerment in “Closer.” In many ways, they are a modern queer successor to The Runaways and later ’90s riot grrrl bands.
After the Permanence tour, future projects include music videos and working their way into the festival circuit throughout Canada.
Permanence is available on Spotify and for purchase digitally, on disc, vinyl or cassette on their Bandcamp page. Full tour information can be found on the band’s website, strangebreedband.com.