What are your names?
Sophie Heppell, Jen Foster, Jessie Robertson, Luvia Petersen
What is the band’s name?
How did you come up with the band’s name?
Sophie brought up that she liked the ligature of how a and e looked together: æ. So we looked up words that had that symbol. Hyaenas came up so we did some research on the animal and it turns out they are SO badass! They’re a matriarchal society ruled by an alpha female, studies have found that lions actually steal MORE kills from hyenas than vice versa, and – the best trait of all – female hyaenas have a “pseudo-penis” which acts as an “anti-rape” device allowing them to dictate the who, where, and when of copulation.
What is your genre of music?
Give us a little bio about you.
Embodying the energy & ferocity of their animal namesake, Hyaenas is a new Indie Rock band breaking into the Canadian music scene. With fun, catchy hooks, their songs are written through a queer feminist lens – exploring meaningful themes from acceptance to vigilance, celebrating a love of nature, self worth, and social justice while drawing inspiration from 80’s icons The Go-Go’s to modern day Indie darlings Warpaint, and synth-pop power quartet Metric.|
Born in a pandemic, Sophie Heppell (guitar, vocals), Jessie Robertson (bass), Jen Foster (drums) and Luvia Petersen (synth) have a palpable chemistry making this brand new band feel like it has always been. Each Hyaena comes with a breadth of accolades: notable performances include showcases at SXSW, Reeperbahn, Canadian Music Week, and Breakout West; Festivals such as Dawson City, Vancouver Pride, L-Beach, and Warped Tour; Tours/supporting slots for Metric, Mother Mother, Rancid, and The Buzzcocks; and countless shows across Canada, the US, and Western Europe 2006-now.
Hyaenas is currently working with coveted Vancouver producers Elisa Pangsaeng (Said The Whale, Yukon Blonde) and Jesse Gander (The Pack AD, White Lung) on their debut EP set for release in 2023.
What made you go into music?
– Sophie: I guess it’s just always been something that I’ve been drawn to and really enjoyed doing! I started with piano at age 5 but then quickly switched to violin because I was OBSESSED with it. Total band and orchestra nerd all throughout elementary school and high school dabbling in a bunch of different string, wind, and brass instruments. Went to jazz school for university and worked super hard to get two diplomas and then in my third year spent A LOT of time partying instead of studying and realized that I wanted to write my own songs so I learnt guitar as a vessel for songwriting
– Jen: I took piano as a wee one and I think that really helped me later in life just with developing my ear & coordination and that shit. My parents are huge music fans and always had stuff like The Beatles and The Police and Pretenders and Eurythmics blasting. As a young teen I became obsessed with Nirvana but then a bit later I heard & saw the band Garbage for the first time and things kind of shifted gear and music became something I wanted to pursue. My Dad would tell me about playing drums when he was younger and from there I developed an interest then finally when I was around 16 I got a kit and the basics came to me really quickly and I was playing in bands a few months later. That was 600 years ago and still going strong.
Jessie: My boyfriend and friends I was hanging out with when I was 13 needed a bass player for their band. My Dad is a musician and has been playing in bands my entire life. Growing up with his band practicing in our basement and having instruments around the house eventually led to him teaching me how to play the bass …but really, it was wanting to be part of the band rather than being left out that was the motivating factor for me to finally ask my Dad to teach me.
Luvia: I’ve tinkered in music throughout my life but as an artist I’ve mostly focused on acting. When my best friends asked Jessie, my wife, to join this band Hyaenas, we all talked about how great it would be to go on tour together. I said I’m too old to be the merch girl, so we decided I should play synth instead. And here I am.
Who are your influences?
Sophie: The album that I couldn’t stop listening to as a teen was So Jealous by Tegan & Sara – but I also listened to a ton of mainstream pop which I think maybe helped with writing catchy melodies!
Jen: It rotates but huge ones for me are Shirley Manson and Dave Grohl
Jessie: Sean Yseult, Melissa Auf der Maur, Esperanza Spalding, Jenny LeeLindberg, Lyndell Montgomery
Luvia: Juliette Lewis, Madonna, my bandmates
Are you signed?
You released your new single ‘Little Trophy’, tell us more about the single.
We feel that Little Trophy is the perfect introduction to us as a band. Jessie’s punchy bass and Jen’s laid back drums pull you into a groovy pocket, with Luvia’s synth adding a shimmering support. Sophie’s vocals lay smoothly overtop, and her lyrics are powerful, relatable, and universal. We think it’ll lure people in and prepare them for the bangers that are to come!
What is the meaning behind the single?
Little Trophy is a call out against the sexual objectification of women. The song was partially inspired by a previous long distance relationship Sophie had (she was doing all the heavy lifting to make everything happen while the other was sitting back and reaping the benefits (fun trips & getting laid)), and partially inspired by unwanted sexual advances, judgements, or discriminations that almost every single woman has experienced. In the bridge you’ll hear the crystalline, ghostly harmonies of the “Me Too” survivors calling out the outdated, harmful narrative and disrupting the status quo.
What was the writing and recording process like?
Our first single, Little Trophy, started out with a recycled bass line that I wrote for one of Jen and I’s previous bands, Low Spin, that never ended up being recorded. Jen and I started playing it in the jamspace one day and we worked out a basic structure with Sophie (Luvia wasn’t in the band yet). From there Sophie wrote lyrics and guitar, and then eventually synth. Each song comes to the table a bit differently, sometimes Sophie has a full song with guitar and lyrics, and some songs were written years ago by Jen composing all the instruments.
Describe the track in two words.
Who did you work with on the single?
Little Trophy was produced & mixed by Elisa Pangsaeng, engineered by Olivia Quan at Monarch Studios, Mastered by Brock McFarlane at CPS Mastering, and the studio assistant was Aaron Klasson
Will we see a Music video for ‘Little Trophy’, what can we expect from the creative process?
Our synth player Luvia is also an actor and director, so she’s super excited to direct our music videos. She’s planning a visually impactful music video for Little Trophy that reflects the theme of the song: women are not trophies to be won! We are independent powerful beings with trajectories of our own. You can support us, love us and befriend us… but you can’t own us!
Will we see an Album or EP this year and if so, what can we expect from it?
The EP won’t quite make it out in 2022 BUT it’s set for release in January 2023 – so pretty close! We worked with two different producers for the EP – Elisa Pangsaeng (Yukon Blonde, Said the Whale) and Jesse Gander (The Pack AD, White Lung) – and they each brought their unique interpretation to these songs. Elisa curated some super raw and intimate moments while Jesse pulled out all the stops with analog delays, vintage synths, and gave the songs so much SHINE! We loosely explore the five stages of grief throughout the EP (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) as well as touching on references to NXIVM, 1900’s coal miners, the Me Too movement, Astronomy, the Pied Piper, and Alice in Wonderland. At almost 25 minutes of run time, we’re confident this EP will pack a wallop!
Do you have any live shows or a tour coming up and if so let us know where we can catch you at?
Yes! Full list of tour dates can be found at www.hyaenasband.com but some extra special dates are:
July 9th – Khatsahlano Festival – Vancouver
July 23rd – Squamish Constellation Festival – Squamish
September 24th – Fernie Pride Festival – Fernie
What else can we expect in 2022?
New music and videos! We’ve got more singles coming out in July, Sept, Oct, and Dec as well as some super fun videos throughout the rest of the year.
Will we see any collaborations and if so, can you tell us more about them?
Writing music scores to accompany Luvia’s film projects. In fact, we are already planning to write a score for a psychological thriller she is planning to shoot in April of 2023. Also definitely open to remixes and writing collabs – especially with female/female-identifying/nonbinary/queer artists!
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
International touring, playing awesome festivals, having 2-3 albums in our catalog, and hanging out with Jessie and Luvia’s future cat and dog on Bowen Island when we aren’t playing shows.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Sophie: Anything you can do, I can do bleeding
Jen: What’s in the fridge?
Jessie: Smash the Patriarchy
Luvia: We do it for the pussy
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Sophie: Gear (guitar, pedals, synth, mic etc.), vocal warm ups, nin jiom, have a little pre show poop, and that I’m the luckiest gal in the world to get to hit the stage with the three greatest humans I know
Jen: One of my amazing snare drums, sticks, my cymbal bag (THANKSSABIAN), my drink holder, ear plugs which I always forget I have and they stay inmy pocket during out set
Jessie: my bass, a strap, pedal board, cables and chapstick
Luvia: my synth, my stand, my amp, my earplugs, my beers holder