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Daily Dose — All-Women Band Hyaenas Play at the Royal

Vancouver-based band Hyaenas are breaking into the Canadian music scene and performed on September 23rd at Nelson's Royal with the Hillties. — Photo courtesy Paul Aurora.

On Friday, September 23rd, Hyaenas will play in Nelson at The Royal to celebrate their new single “It's Not Up to Me.”

The band teamed up with a local favourite, the Hillties, for the show.

“We’re excited to share the night with them,” says Hyaenas lead singer and guitarist Sophie Hepnell.

Embodying the energy and ferocity of the animal they are named after, Vancouver-based band Hyaenas are breaking onto the Canadian music scene.

With fun, catchy hooks, their songs are written through a queer feminist lens and explore themes like acceptance, love of nature, and social justice. They draw inspiration from eighties icons The Go-Gos to modern-day indie darlings, Warpaint.

Born in a pandemic, Hyaenas Sophie Heppell (guitar, vocals), Jessie Robertson (bass), Jen Foster (drums) and Luvia Petersen (synth) are working with major Vancouver producers Elisa Pangsaeng (Said The Whale / Yukon Blonde) and Jesse Gander on their debut Extended Play (EP) recording, Little Trophy.

All of the Hyaenas are seasoned musicians in the Canadian music scene, and each comes with a breadth of accolades. Notable performances include showcases at South by Southwest, Reeperbahn, Canadian Music Week, Breakout West; festivals such as Dawson City, Vancouver Pride, L-Beach, and Warped Tour; and tours/supporting slots for Metric, Mother Mother, Rancid, and The Buzzcocks; and shows across Canada, US, and Western Europe. 

Dubbed ‘Lesbian Abba’ by the CBC, Hepnell explains how the band, comprised of two couples, came to be during the pandemic.

“The pandemic gave us a jump start to get things going. It’s been a lot of fun to make music with my partner and our two best friends. As the pandemic has eased, we’ve gotten to spring out into the scene.”

This is the band’s first time playing in Nelson. Hepnell is proud of what the band has accomplished in its short existence.

“Once this tour is done, we’ll have played almost thirty shows in the last six months. It’s nice to cut our teeth on the road because this is a new project, and we want to get our name out there. We’ve had a jam-packed summer of shows.”

They are currently promoting their newest release, says Hepnell.

“We’re doing seven shows in ten days to promote our third single.”

Listen to their latest song here.

The day after the Nelson show, the play at the Fernie Pride. The band’s publicist is in Nelson, Mavis Harris of Nice Marmot PR.

The band has a unique message.

“As four queer women, we bring our stories to the music world,” says Hepnell. “There have been improvements in this industry with diversity and inclusivity, but there is still a long way to go.”

The band has experienced many exciting moments on the road, for example, the Squamish Constellation Festival.

“Three women run it, and what a treat to be on the same bill with legends like Sarah McLachlan. Their mission statement is to book a lineup that’s diverse and very inclusive. It feels nice to be on lineups where you don’t feel out of place.”

They are also gaining exposure at Vancouver festivals.

“We were part of the Vancouver Pride Festival this year, and one called Kitsilano, which is like a big street party,” says Hepnell.

The band is slowly releasing their debut recording.

“We’ve got three songs out, which is half our full EP. We’re going to release the EP in early 2023, and I think we’ll be doing many shows next spring and summer to promote it. We’re getting it first to vinyl, so we’ll have that to sell on the tour,” says Hepnell.

The band is looking forward to a bright future.
“We’re casting a wide net. We have some plans, but nothing is super confirmed. I did much touring in Germany in a previous project, so that’s always been on the sights for us.”

She encourages people to check them out online and keep an eye on more singles to be dropped this year.

“Our songs are catchy and fun and danceable,” says Hepnell.

Find the band online: hyaenasband.com

Facebook and Instagram: hyaenasband