The Anti-Queens
by Interviews

We are just days away from the release of The Anti-Queens’ excellent second album Disenchanted. The Toronto-based punk rockers are at the top of their game as they kick out thirteen tracks that capture their incomparable energy. They open the discussion around the systemic oppression of Indigenous people in Canada, talk about the bittersweet nature of love, tackle toxic relationships, and celebrate badass women with powerful lyrics and infectious harmonies that will have you singing along in no time at all. Disenchanted will be out everywhere on May 17 via Stomp Records. The Anti-Queens will be playing Pouzza Fest on Friday, May 17, and will be touring around Canada this summer.

 Punknews editor Em Moore caught up with vocalist and guitarist Emily Bones and guitarist and vocalist Valerie Knox to talk about the new album, the importance of teaching Indigenous history and supporting Indigenous communities, playing Pouzza Fest, tattoos, and so much more. Read the interview below!

This interview between Em Moore, Emily Bones, and Valerie Knox took place over Zoom on April 26, 2024. This transcription documents their conversation and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

You’ve gone through a few lineup changes in recent years and along with both of you, Michael Crusty and Alejandro Serritiello play on Disenchanted. How did the current lineup come together?

Valerie: I wouldn’t really call it our current lineup. Michael is the bass player now and the interesting thing is he actually played bass on the first album. He’s kind of been involved with the band since that first album but unofficially, filling in. We’ve just had really bad luck with bass players. Every band’s got their thing, that’s ours. [laughs] Then we’ve got three drummers that we call to play but we don’t have a permanent full-time member. We’ve got Sara Fellin who does most of the shows, we’ve got Zoe McMillan who does a few of them, and then we’ve got Alejandro who will come and bail us out so we don’t have to cancel any shows.

Have the lineup changes affected the dynamic of the band at all?

Emily: Overall, not entirely. We wrote the last album together and we did this album together and with Michael too, so writing-wise it hasn’t changed since Self-Titled. It’s been the same, just with the three of us now.

Valerie: We have made the decision that it’s just me and Em now. No more permanent members unless they’re like, “Yeah! I’m in and I’m sticking around!” and it works for a while. Then we’ll be like, “Ok, you can join”. [laughs] But we’re going to be a little more wary and not worry about the lineup. The important thing is we show up and we deliver what we say we’re going to.

Music over everything.

Emily: Absolutely.

On this album you have guest spots by Tracy A of Cross Dog and Brenna Red of The Last Gang and your gang vocals feature members of Among Legends, Cancer Bats, Danko Jones, and Doghouse Rose. How did you decide who to work with?

Valerie: For gang vocals, it was whoever was available that day. We just called our friends, they’re all buds. We did a short tour with Cancer Bats back in 2022. It was a lot of fun and they were great people to tour with so we kept in touch with them. Jaye lives in Toronto so Jaye came out and did gang vocals that day. I think he added some extra vocals on “Crusade”, and so did Danko.

Emily: Yeah, they’re kind of buried because we wanted the focus to be more on the women. With Tracy especially, we wanted her to have her own unique part and she wrote the lyrics for that bridge. We put the dudes in the background. [laughs]

Valerie: Girls to the front!

You’ve mentioned that the majority of the album was written during several COVID lockdowns. How did writing this way impact your songwriting process?

Emily: It impacted it a lot, I would say. We’re so used to getting together in the jam space and hanging out and writing and this time around we weren’t allowed to be in the room together. [laughs] So we had to send everything back and forth digitally. We had to learn how to record and set up everything ourselves, that was a whole process in itself.

Valerie: We had a lot of time too. We were not working at points and we were just stuck at home so we had so much time to really dive into all the parts and really think about them and think about what we might not be hearing and try to add it. All these songs have changed so many times over the last couple years. It’s crazy to think some of them are literal years old now. That’s wild because it’s a brand new album that nobody’s heard but we’ve been listening to it for three years.

Emily: The extra time was a blessing but also a curse at the same time.

Valerie: Yeah! It was fun and we had a lot of time to really focus on making great songs but it was also really depressing because we couldn’t do what we wanted to do. Being in a band relies on being around large amounts of people and traveling to other countries - all the things we weren’t allowed to do.

Emily: And even just seeing each other and jamming. For recording, we’d have to go in one at a time and have masks on the whole time. That was right in the middle of the pandemic.

Valerie: We had a couple lockdowns. We had one lockdown between when we started recording and then when we were allowed to go back to recording so there were a lot of breaks.

Emily: We also wrote forty songs, I think.

Valerie: It was forty song ideas that were started, not fully developed. Some we started and we liked and then something new would come along and we’d work on that. Something would get back-burnered and we’d go back to those ones that we’d back-burnered and bring them back. [laughs] It was a really crazy process. It was a lot of songs, a lot of material, a lot of ideas, and we cut it down to thirteen we liked the best.

Will the rest of them be released someday?

Valerie: It’s possible because “Leave Me Out” was a song that Emily had back-burnered and she played it for me one day and I was like, “I love this song!!! Where have you been hiding this?” I really pushed for it and we ended up developing it. That’s how it got on Self-Titled. That one was an older song that Emily had written before I even joined the band. So you never know. Sometimes things need to cook. They need to take time and sit in the back of your mind and then you come back to it when you have different experiences and different ideas.

Emily: I can already think of a few demos we had started that we were really into. I would love to go back, fix them up, and make them the best they can be. I think, definitely, there’s a few that we’re probably going to bring back and try to make them awesome.

Valerie: There’s a lot of stuff to go back to if we get stuck writing new stuff.

Did you have a song that changed the most over the three years?

Emily: They all changed so much!

Valerie: They did! I feel like “Crusade” changed quite a bit. “Crusade” was fun because when it started that entire song was in half-time. The ending where it gets really heavy and slows down, that whole song was at that tempo and we messed around with it a bunch of times. The lyrics changed a ton of times, the backing vocals changed a ton of times. I’m going over four years worth of working on these thirteen different songs, honestly a lot of them probably changed.

Emily: Yeah. There’s some demos we listened back to and were like, “Oh god! This is horrible! I’m so glad we fixed it, what were we thinking?” That’s where time was on our side. [laughs]

Valerie: Yes! Time honestly made this album crazy. It’s so different from the last album. It’s still Anti-Queens but we just put so much more into it because we had the time to do it.

Emily: We went HAM with harmonies.

Valerie: Oh yeah! We love our harms.

Emily: Pretty much right in this room too. [gestures to practice space] We recorded a lot of harmonies just down here, not at the studio, drunk on New Year’s Eve one night. [laughs]

Valerie: It’s true. We were wasted and we were like, “Let’s do some backing vocals, we’re feeling it!”


Valerie: Not this past New Year’s but the one before. We’ve been working on this album for multiple years, it’s crazy!

I read that “Doomed Again” started just as a placeholder title and you wrote the song around that. Were there any other songs that were developed that way?

Valerie: “Apocalypse She”, “Saviour”.

Emily: Quite a few actually. You can tell they’re Valerie's songs because she came up with a riff or whatever and sent it to me with a placeholder title. Then I just kept using the titles as inspo for the songs. It worked really well. [laughs]

Valerie: With placeholder titles, I’m just trying to be funny in some cases like, “This is a cool word! I’m gonna use it! ‘Saviour’!” We made a whole song around it. [to Emily] How do you do that?

Emily: I don’t know. It helps to have a topic because otherwise I’m left to my own devices and that can get weird. [laughs]

Valerie: I like it when you get weird though, I’m not gonna lie. It’s fun.

“Saviour” is one of my favourite songs off the album. What’s the story behind it?

Valerie: Fucking men!

Emily: Yeah, that’s what it boils down to.

Valerie: The idea behind it is that men mansplain at you and oh they’re just helping you understand a little better because you’re not capable of it, right? It’s that kind of vibe. It’s basically just taking it and turning it around on them like, “I dare you. I dare you to come at me, bro!”

Emily: I think we also flip-flopped between calling it “Saviour Complex” because it’s a lot about that too, somebody who thinks that they can live your life better than you can essentially.

Valerie: They know better and they’re just trying to help. They’re a good guy, you know? Urgh!! We’ve had experiences with people we’ve worked with or people we’ve interacted with or been interviewed by or have played with and it’s funny because it’s always men that feel like they need to explain stuff to you. I don’t know if they’re excited or if they genuinely think they’re trying to help. It feels like sometimes when that happens, they’re putting themselves on this pedestal like, “I am helping you SO MUCH” and it’s help we didn’t even ask for.

Emily: Yeah, unsolicited help.

Valerie: They’re just completely oblivious and unaware and aren’t able to read the room.

And it’s usually about something you’ve done millions of times.

Emily: Oh, yeah.

Valerie: Oh my god, yes. I’m not going to name any specific things because that’ll give it away and we’re not here to call anyone out, not today.

Emily: Not on this specific subject. We’ll see what other questions you have. [laughs]

Valerie: We were in a venue we had played a million times and we had been invited to come play. It had a relatively small stage but it was a pretty good, iconic venue. I remember we were playing with Cross Dog that night. Cross Dog are bass and drums and vocals and Mark Rand, who plays bass in the band, runs four heads - he runs two bass heads and two guitar heads. I think he runs four cabs and he’s got two massive pedalboards with like twenty pedals on each - lots of gear on top of that and a kit. It’s the same amount of gear for a full four-piece band but with only two people playing instruments. So we’re on the stage and we’ve gotta get our gear on there and Cross Dog has to get their gear on there. Emily and I were standing in front of the stage like, “Ok, how are we gonna do this?” We said something about center vocal because when you’re a center vocalist and there’s two people on either side, you still need to hear your guitar and you can’t always rely on the monitors or the mix or whatever. We’re just talking amongst ourselves trying to figure out the gear arrangement and the sound tech comes over and is like, “Oh, center vocals go there!” and points to the middle of the stage.

Emily: I believe the direct quote was, “Center vocals go in the center”.

Valerie: Oh my god, that’s even worse!

Emily: I was like, “Noooooo”. [laughs]

Valerie: So center vocals go in the center there [points]. Really?? I had no idea. Oh my god, this is my first show ever! It’s not like I’ve played this club a million fucking times.

Emily: Actually I prefer to set up behind the drum kit, closer to the left in the corner by the window, not facing the audience.

Valerie: I like mine right outside the door of the venue. Put my cab there.

Emily: Maybe in the bathroom, behind the bar? All these places you could put a center mic! [laughs]

Oh my god, that’s wild! The nerve of some people.

Valerie: As women we’ve experienced it a lot. We’ve played six different countries, we’ve played up and down the east coast of this continent many times, and we’ve interacted with so many different venue owners, promotors, and sound techs, and usually, they’re fine. But every now and then you get that asshole who’s like, “Oh, a couple of girls. They probably don’t know what they’re doing so I better help them out”. It’s like, “Fuck you”. [laughs]

What changes do you want to see made so that doesn’t happen or is it unavoidable?

Valerie: It’s not that it’s unavoidable, I think we need more women showing up and playing these clubs at every level. At the small dive bar level, the basement level, the midsize level, the direct support opening level, and the headlining level. We need more women everywhere.

Emily: Sound techs.

Valerie: Oh yeah, techs too. All aspects of the industry. I can think of two women sound techs that we’ve had out of all the shows we’ve played in the last three years. There was one in Calgary and then Vanessa at the El Mocambo. I think to help create more of a normalcy to having women in venues playing shows or whatever, more just need to be present. We just need to make sure we’re all creating space for them.

Emily: There’s quite a few social media pages now. I guess a lot of people are just catching on to the fact that there’s a real lack of women and gender non-conforming artists playing festivals. There’s one on Instagram called ‘Book More Women’ and they post full festival flyers from the States. They’ll pick out all the women and trans people and it’ll be like .3% of the lineup. Then you’ll go to the next slide and you see what the lineup is and it’s insane how few there are. Seeing it like that really puts things in perspective. I’ve seen quite a few pages too that are calling out all sorts of festivals from around the world and I like seeing that. I think that’s awesome! It’s drawing attention. There’s so many comments on it of people supporting and agreeing with what the pages are doing. I’d like to see more of that too. I always get pumped when I see it. [laughs]

Valerie: We’ve definitely played festivals where we look at the lineup and we’re like, “Oh, all the women are on first and then the rest of the day is just men!”

Emily: White men.

Valerie: Mostly, yeah. There needs to be more representation on festivals and that really comes down to the promoters and the festival owners creating that space and booking good bands. You can put - we hate this term and it’s not a genre but it is a way to describe it - a female-fronted band at a good time slot that will have a big crowd. You don’t have to put just anyone up for the sake of doing it, find good bands! Put a little work into it, it’s not hard.

There’s so many great bands!

Valerie: There’s lots! They’re not being given opportunities and I couldn’t tell you why. There’s lots of amazing bands out there. Cross Dog only just got signed this year. They’ve been a band for 10 years and they’ve been amazing the whole time. My band was playing with them in 2013 and they blew me away the very first time I saw them. Their new album is coming out on June 7. They’ve got a few albums that they’ve self-released and they’re all great. My favourite’s Vigilante.

Going back to songwriting, if you had a choice would you write that way again?

Valerie: I think I would like a combo. We were actually just talking about this. I really liked writing in isolation because it allowed me to focus and get my ideas together in a more complete way. I really liked that because it allowed me to really hone in my ideas before bringing them to practice and then being like, “Oh we've gotta work on this and we've gotta work on this!” Everyone can hear it before we get to practice. I thought it was a really efficient way. However, nothing beats being in the room together. Band practice is fun and it’s fun to be doing it live in the moment with everybody instead of on your own sending it back and forth and waiting for a response. A combination of both would be the best of both worlds. I think that’s how I’ll move forward with writing.

On “Overthinking” you talk about being stuck in a loop of overthinking everything. What helps you break that?

Emily: Does anything help me break that? I don’t know. [laughs]

Valerie: Usually you need to sleep it off.

Emily: Or go in the group chat and rant for an hour.

Valerie: Ranting helps, honestly. Having some good friends that you can just get the fucking shit off your chest to, that will help you get through any overthinking tunnel you get stuck in.

Emily: Also being like, “Am I overthinking this or do I have a solid reason to be concerned about it?” because sometimes it’s really hard to tell. But reaching out to friends and family and not being alone with your thoughts is usually what works best for me. Otherwise, I would just sit there and go crazy.

It’s easy to get stuck in the spiral and be like, “How did I get here?” Then you’re overthinking about the spiral and it becomes this whole thing.

Emily: Then you start overthinking about overthinking.

Valerie: Am I thinking about this too much? What’s happening?


”Crusade” talks about the systemic oppression faced by Indigenous People in Canada and also talks about the false version of history we’re taught about our country. What can we do to make sure we’re on the true side of history?

Valerie: I think it really starts in education. Educating the citizens of our country about our history so we know about it gives us a better opportunity to form more opinions on it and have a sense of where we come from, why we’re here, how we’re here, and have more respect for the privileges that we get now. It really starts at the education level and it should be taught, I don’t know if it is or not. I would hope by now that it’s being taught more thoroughly in our education system. One thing that I could tell you all about is World World II and the Holocaust and the genocide that happened in Europe. I know all about that. I was taught very thoroughly, all of us were. It’s a big part of the curriculum. We’re learning more about all these unmarked mass graves being discovered across the country and I’m wondering why weren’t we taught about any of that. That’s right here, that is literally our history. It’s an important thing that should be helping to shape Canada’s identity which is kind of a lie. We’re seen on the world stage as peaceful and friendly and polite and that “we care”, but do we?

Emily: What’s so wild to me too is that it’s such a recent history and recent discovery of the unmarked graves in the residential schools. The last residential school closed in 1996? That is in our lifetime. We probably know people or have met people who have experienced that themselves or their families have experienced that.

Valerie: I think it was in 1997 when Toronto hosted Nelson Mandela, a major player in ending the genocide and apartheid in South Africa, and we celebrated him and we treated him as a hero after he was released from jail. Meanwhile, here so many kids were sent into residential schools. We’re teaching our kids about this but we’re leaving out some important parts about our own national identity. I’m fucking pissed.

Emily: Other countries can do it and shame on them, but us? Nah, we’re innocent.

Valerie: And it’s ongoing too, let’s be honest. We’re not taking care of our Indigenous communities. There’s still parts of Canada that don’t have clean drinking water, that don’t have access to healthcare or mental healthcare and it’s like, “What are we doing?” We know, we are aware. We write some really nice words about truth and reconciliation but we need to see more action, especially on the government level.

There’s been so many empty promises. Especially the “apology” for residential schools that was just like, “We’re sorry!” That doesn’t cut it.

Emily: You get one day to wear an orange shirt. It’s just not good enough. I feel like as a country we are so in debt.

Valerie: I grew up, I’m sure as we all did, celebrating Canada Day. We wave our flags and we get the day off and we spend time with our families in the summer and have a nice fun time or whatever and I don’t feel that anymore. I don’t feel that sense of pride or that want to celebrate our country. We’re not there yet and I don’t think we really have a right to be celebrating a whole lot because we’ve only just started acknowledging our really dark history that we’ve swept under the rug for decades and decades. We usually post something about that on Canada Day specifically to remind everyone.

Emily: I love shitting on Canada Day now, that’s my favourite thing, my favourite pastime. I wait all year for it. [laughs]

What’s the best way to shit on Canada Day?

Valerie: I’m going to hang a giant “Every Child Matters” flag from the window on my top floor. That’s what I’m going to do, for my whole street to see.

Emily: I also wear my orange shirt on Canada Day too. I always do that and make sure I walk around the neighbourhood.

Valerie: We were in New Brunswick last year on Canada Day. I can’t remember what exactly I said but I mentioned the Indigenous population and what’s been happening and all the things that have been coming to light and one guy was like, “YES!” and everyone else went very quiet.

Emily: It went silent.

Valerie: It was like, “Sorry to be a buzzkill but this is real and this is happening. Talk about it!” The least we can do is talk about it and acknowledge it. It’s absolutely the least we can do.

The video for “Crusade” was filmed at the Biltmore Theatre in Oshawa and you have a land acknowledgment in the video description. Why was it important to you to include a land acknowledgment?

Valerie: I felt like it would be hypocritical to make this a single and promote it for the purpose of promoting our album and not stand behind it in a real way. The very least we could have done for that was a land acknowledgment. We’ve got some links for some organizations as well that fund Indigenous youth programs and other Indigenous programs in the description for the video. We’re researching more and we’ve tried contacting a couple of the organizations to let them know, “Hey, we’re allies”. We’re trying to use the promotion and the video to point at Indigenous community programs. The land acknowledgement I felt like that should go without saying. Southern Ontario has so many different Indigenous communities around it and it was important for me, because I’ve lived here my whole life, to acknowledge it especially if we’re going to film it here about the topic. It just kinda goes without saying for me.

I saw a treaty map the other day and I’d never heard of so many of them. I’d only heard of one.

Valerie: Because we’re not taught about them!! I’m fucking pissed! Being a grown adult who is from the public school system of Canada, I wish I had more education and more information about the area that I grew up in and the land I’ve grown up on. They were so lazy about it when I was a kid.

Emily: I was trying to do some research on YouTube and I was watching a couple different documentaries. I found one that basically flipped back and forth between the education that we were given and Indigenous history. It was naming all these white colonizer, settler guys and I’m like, “Yep, I’ve heard of him. Yep, I’ve heard of him. Yep, I remember all these names. Yep, that rings a bell”. Then it flips to the Indigenous history and how Canada came about and Turtle Island and everything. It’s so different from what we were taught. It was a school video of a woman talking so it was what I was looking for because I wanted to go back to, “What was the education that I was given?” It was showing me all this stuff I remembered but when it comes to Indigenous history I’m like, “I have no fucking clue at all”. I didn’t know any of this stuff! I didn’t know any of these soldiers, the communities, the Indian Act. There’s so much history there that they totally covered up and it would have been nice to know.

Valerie: They chose not to include it in our curriculum which is just wild to me. This is where we live, we should be learning this. I think all schools should make it a priority to teach their kids about what land they’re on, what the history of the land is, who was here before us, what communities survived and are still here, and which ones played a part in why we’re here today.

Emily: Also what can kids do to make a difference and help as well.

Valerie: We could teach the kids some of their culture. There’s plenty of cultures we learn about. I remember being in high school and taking a world religions course and I don’t remember anything about Indigenous religions at all. It’s just really disappointing. Growing up and becoming an adult, you gain more experience, you develop more critical thinking skills, and you start asking questions. Then it’s like, “Oh wow! I could’ve learned all of this twenty years ago! That would’ve been great”.

Also if you think about how the Indigenous communities and populations in North America are portrayed in the media since the beginning of film, it’s always in a negative way. There’s always horrendous stereotypes attached. We’ve only just started in the last few years really acknowledging Indigenous communities and populations in North America and showing in film the real-life history with good stories and heroes and protagonists, not just antagonists. It’s nice to see that there are changes being made in our industry and in other industries. It’s nice to see a lot more representation and effort being made to tell those stories. It’s also important that we’re hiring Indigenous people to play these roles now. It’s not Johnny Depp. A white guy should not be playing an Indigenous person in a film.

I remember there was a huge unit in elementary school and that was like, “These people used to exist and they don’t anymore but all is well”. I was like, “What happened there?”

Emily: I remember it being - and like I said in the song - like a glorification of, “Look what we did for all these white people!” and “We came to a nice agreement with the Indigenous people and we moved them to their own schools and got them education and taught them about Christianity!” But really what happened was they kidnapped them. They took them from their families, brought them to basically a concentration camp, and took their culture away from them.

Valerie: Forced assimilation for the sole purpose of eradicating them. And by the church as well.

Emily and Valerie: Don’t get us started on the church.

Do you have any Indigenous organizations you’d like people to check out?

Emily: One of my close childhood friends has an organization that she started to rekindle community with Indigenous youth. They do a lot of community-based things and it’s mostly to get the kids together, get them out of trouble, and get them learning about their history and embracing it. It’s a really awesome nonprofit organization she has. It’s called Finding Our Power Together, and they support Indigenous youth. They do a lot of stuff with kids and she’s really active with that. Their mission is to guide Indigenous youth in realizing their goals and accessing diverse supports. Their ultimate goal is to end preventable death by suicide in Indigenous communities and support young people to thrive. Very proud of her.

Valerie: On the “Crusade” video there’s a link for Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction. It’s an Instagram page and it’s great. It’s got a ton of followers and there’s a lot of information on it, specifically the Linktree. If you go to the Linktree in the bio there’s all kinds of programs and groups that support Indigenous communities. There’s a link to Native Arts Society, there’s a link to help Gaza - that’s nice!! -, Indigenous Winter Relief Camp, and it goes on. There’s a lot of resources in there. We’re going to keep educating ourselves on more resources. Ideally, we get to the point where we have resources at our merch table. We are working towards being able to put together some great resources that people can access and check out and inform themselves. That’s our goal - talk about it and create representation where we can, using the small little platform that we’ve got to help however we can.

Your video for “Doomed Again” has a lot of old flyers, merch designs, callbacks to previous videos, and there’s also a handwritten lyric from Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”. Why is that lyric included in particular?

Valerie: It’s in my office! That’s my actual office at work. [laughs] I work at a Long and McQuade and I asked if we could film there after hours. Obviously, we had to take the store and company stuff down but that’s my own personal little bulletin board. One of my co-workers, Marly - she’s an amazing singer, was using old tags and writing song lyrics out for people who work there and that’s the one I got! So I put it up on my little board because my name’s Valerie.

Emily: I didn’t even notice that!

Valerie: I didn’t think anyone would notice that! I was like, “That’s cute! I’m going to leave that there”.

What’s your favourite Easter egg that appears in that video?

Emily: I love the yellow tie. I’m a fan of the yellow tie.

Valerie: I’m a fan of that too. My favourite is a poster I put up in the background of the jam space. It’s a bright green poster and it’s from a show that the Anti-Queens played in Fort Worth. It was awesome because this venue did full poster-size flyers!

Emily: It’s huge!

Valerie: That poster has a wicked design on it and my other band, Black Cat Attack, played that night and our really good friends from Camp Crystal Lake, New Jersey, the Jasons, also played that night. What’s fun about that is that night I played in Anti-Queens, I played in Black Cat Attack, and I played guitar in the Jasons! I love it, it’s such a great poster for me because I played in all three bands and it was fun. It’s my personal little trophy from playing dive bars.

Emily: That wasn’t the night that they gave you the ugly old sweater was it?

Valerie: It might have been. They made me wear a replica sweater from the movie that they have, it was disgusting.

Emily: She was Mom.

Valerie: I mean I’m a woman and I refused to wear a mask, I wasn’t going to do that. They're all in character and I’m like, “Ok well, if I’m gonna do this I have to be a good sport and play a character”. They were like, “You’re Mom! It just makes sense”. I was like, “Ok, Jasons”. So I wore the fucking sweater, it was awful. It was so itchy, it smelled, it was covered in dirt.

Emily: You had this grunge-y Kurt Cobain look happening. It was really interesting stage attire.

Valerie: It was really scratchy! The sweater was full wool and it was scratching my skin and I was like, “This is the most uncomfortable set I’ve ever played in my life!” Then the Jasons made fun of my guitar.

Emily: What’d they say?

Valerie: It was my 335. It’s a hollow-body guitar and they would always call it the Brian Setzer guitar. Brian Setzer plays a Gretsch, not a Gibson, just so we are all clear. They’re such good friends and the whole relationship is us ribbing each other. I messaged George, who’s 3D, the other day and I said, “Are you free on this date?” I was trying to book a show in the US with them and they’re like, “No, we’re not”. So I was like, “Fuck you. Bye” and I got hearts back. That’s just the relationship we have. They’re great and I love them. Go check out the Jasons. They make me laugh a lot.

Where were they keeping the sweater?

Valerie: They would have the sweater at the front of the stage and they would put this Halloween decoration, disgusting head on it. That’s usually Mom because Mom’s dead. It’s just a prop for the most part. I’m almost certain they don’t do that anymore. They’re in some weird Kiss era. They’re wearing a lot of leather and platforms and studs.

Emily: Yeah, and assless chaps! He was wearing this weird thing that was just covering his dick and that was it. Full ass.

Valerie: Like a codpiece.

Emily: Yeah! They were really going for it.

Valerie: [laughs] Oh man, I love them so much. At the time they were more Ramonescore with leather jackets. They wear a lot of leather still. But they had a little thing, not an altar, where they would put Mom and that’s where Mom would be every show. So when I was there, I had to wear the sweater.

Emily: You were Zombie Mom.

Valerie: There was one time they came up to Toronto and played with us. I was like, “I’m not wearing that fucking sweater ever again! I’m going to wear my leather jacket just like you guys, ok?” I had this really crappy old leather jacket and I painted a Jason mask on the back and wrote “Jason Knox” on it. That was fun!

Emily: Do you still have that?

Valerie: Somewhere, I do. I don’t throw out any of my leather jackets, they all smell real bad though.

If you can’t find them just follow your nose.


Valerie: I’m not the only punk rocker out there who has a leather jacket that smells really bad but refuses to stop wearing it. I know I’m not alone.

It’s a rite of passage.

Emily: You don’t really wash leather jackets, especially when they’re fake leather.

Valerie: You can’t really. You can try to Febreze it but sometimes it makes it worse. I remember my ex’s mom one time was like, “This jacket smells so bad Valerie! I’m gonna try to clean it for you” and I was like, “Go for it. I’m not putting the effort in because nothing works”. She washed that thing with a sponge, warm water, and some dish soap then hung it to dry. It kinda worked, for a little while. Then I kept wearing it to shows and putting it on when we were done our set.

Emily: Then it was a mix of sweat and dish soap. Yum. [laughs]

Valerie: We like to call it Eau De Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Emily: Avec un peu de dish soap.

Valerie: If I ever get my own perfume it’ll be sweat and dish soap. Eau de punk!


You can tell the real punks from the posers by who’s wearing it.

Valerie: Who smells the worst? If you’re smelling real nice and pleasant and I want to stand near you, poser.

Emily: Like oh my god, ew, are you wearing deodorant?? Why the fuck would you wear deodorant to a punk show? Poser.

Valerie: If you don’t want the Anti-Queens to call you a poser, you better smell real bad.


Valerie: We don’t call people posers. To get real for a second, that word gets thrown around a lot and I recall my youth. I was such a big Good Charlotte fan and I was called a poser all the time. I was like, “But I spike my hair! I have a mohawk! I wear plaid and I listen to the Misfits and Rancid, and all these other bands”. Just because I like some pop punk, I was called a poser. Now all these motherfuckers are paying $400 to go see all these pop-punk bands play these giant stadiums and I’m just like, “Where were all of you when I was liking all this stuff back when it first came out??” Who’re the posers, now? I promise, I’m fine.


They need to send you $800.

Emily: Yeah like, “You need to pay for my ticket so I can watch this band because without me, you wouldn’t even know them”.

You made fun of them and now you’re their number one fan. That’s not how it works.

Emily: There’s so many bands like that! We talked about this before with Avril. I used to get made fun of all the time for liking Avirl and now people are like, “She’s the queen of punk!”

Valerie: I’ve seen some posts online from reputable punk rock people that I know and they’re like, “Avril is my queen!” And I’m just like, “Since when?! I got made fun of in high school for wearing a tie!” I’m aging myself, it’s fine.

I remember buying ties at Claire’s and they had safety pins already in them.

Valerie: Now that’s just convenient because Claire’s is super cheap. And it saves you so much time. Fuck Hot Topic, to go Claire’s. [laughs] It’s all anime and Disney princesses at Hot Topic now, which is fine. I used to see some cool Misfits stuff there over the years but I don’t see it there anymore. They always have the band T-shirt wall but it’s always the same and it’s always really popular bands, you don’t see a lot of punk bands in there anymore.

Emily: My favourite thing about Claire’s was the makeshift ear piercing thing that they did.

Valerie: The piercing gun.

Emily: That was probably so unsanitary. People probably had no education or certification to do piercings at all. What was that about? [laughs] And people would bring their babies in to get their ears done too.

Valerie: Here’s the thing, that was at a time before tattoo shops were literally everywhere and before tattoos were socially accepted at the level they are now along with piercings. You want to go to a tattoo shop, they usually have a piercer there - someone who is professionally trained, someone who is certified to piece your body.

Emily: With a real needle, not with a plastic gun.

Valerie: The proper way. It’s clean and you won’t get hepatitis from it. This wasn’t accessible back then so they had the gun and it was in a mall and it was easy and parents didn’t fucking know any better. It was in a mall so it had to be safe.

Emily: Done by some fourteen-year-old.


Emily: I think they might still do it actually, I don’t know if they took that away.

Valerie: No, they can’t have the gun anymore. Piercing, sure. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had piercing available but the gun’s gotta be gone. That’s not sanitary.

Emily: Hopefully. It’s just so abrupt too. I had it done in my ears and it’s so loud. It’s so much more painful than doing it properly with a real piercing needle and it’s like a jumpscare too. It’s awful.

Valerie: I got my ears pierced at a tattoo shop when I was eighteen so they did the actual needle. I was never allowed to have any kind of weird body mod of any kind when I was a teenager especially when I was getting rebellious and discovering punk rock. I wasn’t allowed to do anything so naturally I did everything I could on my own, I got that mohawk and I wore weird clothes all the time. I wore black - actually that hasn’t changed, I wear black constantly - but I would wear black to school every day and band t-shirts. I’d dye my hair black and I’d spike it out into liberty spikes. When you turn eighteen you don’t need parental permission anymore for tattoos or piercings so the first thing I did was went and got a tattoo, got my ears pierced, and got my lip pierced.

Emily: All in one day. [laughs]

Valerie: No, that’s a misrepresentation. [laughs] I got my ears done a few months before. My dad actually took me because he was always supportive of my rebellious side.

Emily: My mom was always really supportive. I remember I really wanted my lip pierced and I bugged her enough to make her take me to go get it done but I was still too impatient for the day to come so I did it myself with a sewing needle.

Valerie: Oh my god, a sewing needle is so small! [laughs]

Emily: I did it slow and just pushed it in with my tongue like, “Is the hole there? Yep, got it!” It’s so low and I had it for so long! It actually stayed open. I got other piercings but I swear I could probably put something back in it. I feel like I did a pretty good job.

Valerie: Maybe you should be a piercer. Go work at Claire’s.

Emily: Maybe. Give me that gun!


Valerie: My mom got more supportive when she realized I wasn’t gonna stop. When I got my lip pierced she didn’t look at me for a whole week. She was big mad. I hid my first tattoo from her for a good year. Then they were dropping me off at the mall to get on a bus to go to a punk show and I was getting out of the car and my shirt rolled up a bit and all I heard was, “Is that a TATTOO?” I just slammed the door and ran so I could still go to the show. I think ever since then, every time I get another tattoo she’s a little more accepting of it. I haven’t shown her my most recent one though.

Emily: That’s a good response, just run. [laughs]

Valerie: Always! If your parents are gonna be pissed at something you did that has nothing to do with them and is your right, your bodily autonomy, and you’re in control, run. Don’t let them have that power. Don’t let them stop you from having a good time over it. RUN!! [laughs]

Emily: Solid advice.

Valerie: I went home that night and I put up with the dirty looks for about a week and she didn’t talk to me. We’re fine now. It took a while to get there but when she realized I wasn’t gonna stop playing guitar, I wasn’t gonna stop playing in bands, and I wasn’t gonna go to postsecondary school - when she realized this was permanent and I’m gonna keep getting tattoos, she finally accepted it. It wasn’t until my 30s but it’s fine. People need time to grow and that includes your parents. Especially when your parents are baby boomers and they’re set in their ways, I can confirm that. [laughs]

“We are the greatest generation”.

Valerie: I feel like I’m part of the most tired generation. For millennials, I feel like we’re all tired, we’ve all got back pain and bad knees, and we’re all overworked and not paid enough.

Emily: And we can’t invest or buy anything.

Valerie: And we’ll never live in a house that’s our own.

Emily: And dogs instead of children. I saw something today that said, “It costs this much to have a child and it costs this much to have a dog so basically what this means is that you can have ten dogs for the price of one child”.

Valerie: I like that! That’s good math in my books.

Emily: Sign me up, I need ten dogs. [laughs]

Valerie: Much more fulfilling, let’s be honest. I love kids. I work in a music store and we get kids sometimes and I love talking to them especially when they’re interested in music because that’s my thing. They’re fun to talk to. I’m always grateful that they’re not mine. I had a baby come up and just hug me once. I don’t get to experience that very often and I understand the appeal. Babies are super fucking cute and when they come up to you and give you a hug it's cool but they also shit and break your stuff and they’re always needing your attention. I’m glad I don’t have to go home to that. Kids are great, I’m just glad I don’t have any. You need me to babysit? Cool, I’m down! As long as I get to go home at the end of the night and I make a little bit of money. [laughs] I have a five-year-old niece and it’s great whenever I get to spend time with her. It's awesome. Kids are great, I just don’t want them.

Emily: Not for me.

Valerie: I’m glad I’ve got children in my family that I can hang out with and be the cool aunt. That’s awesome! It’s so much better than being a mom, I think. Oh man, I’m going to kill our demographic of moms who like our band. They’re going to be like, “Wow, fuck the Anti-Queens!” [laughs]

Emily: It’s better to be a cool aunt!

Valerie: Cool aunts with dogs and tattoos and piercings and who play punk rock!

Right there, the actual dream.

Valerie: You get the best of all worlds. Except for the part of owning a house because I don’t think punk rock will ever get me that. [laughs]

Go in with other people, get a punk house.

Valerie: I’ve wanted to do that! I wanted to get a house with my band. [Turns to Emily] I would live with you and we could jam and we could have dogs.

Emily: Or some kind of compound thing where everyone has their own house and it’s on a big plot of land.

Valerie: Yeah! Buy a cheap plot of land and build our own houses. We’ll go to Home Depot, we could do that, right? Order a bunch of cheap wood, build some shacks.

Emily: [laughs] YouTube the instructions.

Valerie: I would love to have a pet cow. If we’ve got a big plot of land, sign me up.

You could get one of those fluffy ones.

Emily: You can bathe them and blow dry them!

Valerie: They’re so cute! I have loved cows and I’ve thought they were the cutest animal my whole life. They’re so beautiful! And they’re sentient. They have curiosity. I love the videos where there’s some musicians on the side of the road and they start playing their clarinets and their little snare drum and their saxophone and all the cows come running to watch them perform. I hope one day we get to do that, perform for a field of cows. I’d love that.

Turn the cows into punk rock fans.

Valerie: Yeah, and if it’s not for them, that’s fine. I’ll accept it.

Some show up with mooohawks.


Valerie: Mooohawks! I love it.

Emily: It’s a mohawk with cow print like, “Check out my mooohawk!!” [laughs] Our next album is going to be all cow-themed.

Valerie: My mom will go through old books and look for pictures of me in all my cow garb. There was a promotion that Doug Gilmour, who was a famous Toronto Maple Leaf in the 90s, did for ‘Got Milk?’ where he had his legs painted like cow’s legs and he wore his Leafs jersey. I had a pair of leggings that were cow pattern when I was a kid and my mom would let me wear her jersey so I could rock the ‘Got Milk?’ Doug Gilmour look.

Emily: [laughs] You have to bring back that look!

Valerie: The 90s were weird, man. There were bucket hats in 24-count cases of Molson Canadian! Bucket hats!

Emily: I think I remember that.

Valerie: There were four different colours. I only ever got the beige one and the blue one. That’s only because my parents would buy it and give me the hat.

Emily: I didn’t know you loved bucket hats so much.

Valerie: I don’t. I think they’re stupid.

Emily: I’ll keep that in mind for your next birthday or Christmas.

Valerie: I’m actually really mad that it’s a trend and if you do that then we’re not friends anymore.


What if it was a cow print bucket hat?

Valerie: No. I’m an adult with a little bit of dignity and a little bit of self-respect. Just a little bit. I’m out here talking about how I smell and how I play punk rock and how I’ll never own a home and I’m alienating our mom fanbase. [laughs] I’ve got a little bit of self-respect and I’m not going to ruin that little bit that’s left by wearing a cow print bucket hat. I’m a grown-ass woman. I’m an adult.

Emily: Suit yourself. New merch design, let’s go!

Valerie: Now a whole generation of people who wear bucket hats are like, “Wow, fuck the Anti-Queens!” [laughs]

Emily: They’re really in right now!

Valerie: I worked at a Zumiez for a few years and let me tell you, bucket hats…wow. They just came raging back. It caught me off guard, I was like, “Why?” I get that they’re really useful in the sun, they serve a purpose, but still. I don’t understand fashion trends but again going back to it, I only wear black.


You’ll be playing Pouzza Fest this year and you’ve played every year since 2018 aside from the COVID years.

Valerie: We did an online Pouzza during COVID! [laughs] No one has brought that up before, that’s really funny.

Emily: Six Pouzza Fests?

Valerie: 2020 we didn’t do one because there was no Pouzza that year. 2021 was online, 2022 we went, and 2023 we barged in at the last minute because a band dropped off and I was like, “Ooh I’ll take that spot!” We’re playing again this year. We’re the official Pouzza band now. [laughs]

Emily: You can’t get rid of us.

What does the festival mean to you?

Valerie: I love it! It’s like punk rock summer camp and there’s so many friends that are there. That’s my favourite part. A ton of bands I’ve met and played with and friends. We’re all in the same spot. Emily, what do you love about Pouzza?

Emily: Food!

Valerie: The food’s good. The food trucks are great.

Emily: Poutine, living off poutine for the whole weekend. La Belle Province is just down the street from Foufs. I really don’t leave Foufs. I live there for the weekend pretty much.

Valerie: We’ll wander to the other venues. Remember the Catacombs? I loved that venue! They shut that one down but that used to be part of Pouzza Fest. It had a really cool gothy vibe that I liked. I liked the Main Stage in the park too but they don’t do that anymore. It’s cool walking down the street and running into your pals.

Emily: Food and friends! And music! [laughs]

Valerie: And beers! And playing our show!

Emily: And the fact that it’s usually the first nice warm weekend we really get where you can walk around without a heavy winter jacket. That’s always nice.

Valerie: Usually Pouzza Fest is usually the start of leather jacket weather.

Emily: We’re not all freezing our asses off, especially in Montreal it gets so cold. When we go there in the winter, it’s just brutal.

Valerie: Of course our label, Stomp Records, is in Montreal so we get to see them too which is always really nice. We’re out of Toronto and they’re in Montreal so it’s nice that they’re around. They help run the festival. They’re around the whole weekend so it’s nice to see them.

What are you most excited for about Pouzza this year?

Valerie: Putting the album out. [laughs] What about you? La Belle?

Emily: [laughs] Yeah, poutine! Definitely the album, that’ll be so fun. Then Valerie’s playing with her Misfits cover band right after we play so I’m excited for that.

Valerie: Double duty! I’m trying to convince Emily to come sing some harmonies. I do Danzig-era Misfits covers in a cover band called The Hybrids. Michael Crusty, bass player of Anti-Queens, plays guitar in it. This time we’ll have Mark Rand from Cross Dog playing bass and we’ll have Jordan Zagerman from Doghouse Rose on drums. I’m really excited!

Emily: They’re playing right after us. The awesome part is that it’s on the same stage so we don’t even really have to move the stuff.

Valerie: Yeah! I’m going to run outside, get some fresh air, and try to stop sweating and change into my costume.

What’s your costume or is it a surprise?

Valerie: I wore it on Halloween last year when we did our first show. I made this thing with streamers down the arms and it’s all black. I’ve got these Danzig-style devil horns, I guess they’re more like ram horns. I painted them black and they look awesome. I’m excited because I’m spooky like that. I like my spooky stuff.

No, absolutely no, Michale Graves. He’s not allowed. Fuck him. I will never sing one of his songs ever again. I will never do that. He can go fuck himself. It sucks because I met him a few times and he was such a sweetheart but it’s really too bad about his ideologies and how he thinks that I should be in the kitchen serving my man. Fuck him. He didn’t say that to me but the whole Proud Boy thing, the chauvinist thing. He flat out went to January 6 in Washington to perform for the Proud Boys the night before, so he can go fuck himself.

You’ll be playing your album release show in June in Toronto before touring Western Canada with Raygun Cowboys. What are you looking forward to the most about these shows?

Valerie: Playing these new songs!

Emily: Playing new songs and playing the west coast. The last few times we’ve gone there it’s been the middle of winter so we’re going at an ideal time now which I’m excited for. We’re playing in Edmonton on my birthday so that’s exciting too.

Valerie: And it’s the last day of tour so we don’t have to be super responsible because we don’t have to play a show the next day. We have to travel home the next day but we’ll be fine.

Emily: I’ve been hungover on a plane before.

Valerie: Many times. The first Europe tour, remember?

Emily: How could I forget? [laughs] That was the worst one of all! I was convinced I was gonna die on the airplane.

Valerie: That was our first time ever in Europe. We were on tour with the Creepshow and we got to be on a tour bus. At our last show, everyone just got fucking wasted and it was a lot of fun but then the next day… You got the worst of it though. I think you started getting a cold.

Emily: Yeah, I got sick. It almost felt like COVID but it was before COVID. I don’t know, maybe I’m the one who brought it into Canada. [laughs] I just remember I was so sick. I was throwing up in the airport and then on the plane I was developing congestion and a chest infection kind of thing but because of the altitude and everything it felt like my chest was gonna just crack open. It was so painful. I was considering flagging down one of the stewards or something because I was like, “Am I having a heart attack right now? What is happening?” Then I popped some melatonin and went back to sleep.

Valerie: You also got your period that day in the airport.

Emily: Yes. [laughs] I woke up feeling like I was dying because they were feeding us Jager shots that were the size of a mixed drink in Germany. When I woke up I had everyone in the Creepshow’s autograph on my ass in Sharpie. It took so long to get it off! It was on there for a week or two once I got home. I don’t think I noticed it until I got back home and went to shower. I was like, “What the fuck?”

Valerie: You didn’t even know! That’s so funny. I’m pretty sure I got photos of them signing your butt. [laughs] We can get real stupid sometimes in the best way.

What’s one of your top ten stupidest tour moments?

Valerie: Oh god, that’s one of them. [laughs] You getting the entire Creepshow to sign your butt, that’s a pretty good one.

Emily: We’ve gotten tattooed in questionable places.

Valerie: The hotel room at five in the morning.

Emily: The back of the green room in the Phoenix in Toronto.

Valerie: Last year for fun I was in our Facebook chat and I drew a little mountain with a van on the side of it - it looks like shit. [laughs] It’s super dumb. I was like, “Hey guys look! It’s us on Ice Mountain last year!” We had already done a west coast tour in the snow in the winter. I sent it to the chat before we went on our March tour last year. I can’t remember who it was but someone was like, “We should get that tattooed on us! That exact one!” We’re just trying to be funny and we were just laughing at it because it’s such a dumb idea and it’s such a bad drawing. We all got that tattooed on us, including our fill-in drummer Sara who’s not even in the band. She did it too.

Emily: She did! That was in Regina, I think. The tattooers came in on their day off to do it for us because they were so stoked about the idea. They were like, “We love dumb shit like this! It’s so stupid! We’re going to do it exactly like the original”. It’s like a Microsoft Paint drawing; it's just lines. My mom was like, “Oh my god, I love it! It’s so artsy and abstract!” [laughs] She’s an artist.

Valerie: She didn’t say that!

Emily: She did, she loves it! Just forever impressed with everything I do, I guess. Except for the self-mutilating lip piercing, she wasn’t too thrilled about that.

Valerie: I love how you went in the direction of fuck the system. [laughs]

Emily: Valerie created that all by herself?? Wow, what an eye!

Valerie: Art!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is on the line.

Valerie: I’m still waiting for that call for me to come in and curate a collection of stick drawings.

Emily: Something tells me that Ice Mountain won’t be the last of your works that we get tattooed either.

Valerie: There might be another one already in the works, just saying.

Emily: Another Microsoft Paint.

Valerie: Another Knox Original tattoo. Maybe we should add that to the flash we had made.


Valerie: We hired an amazing artist named Marie at Number 40 Tattoo to draw a tattoo flash for every single song on the album. We recently released the “Doomed Again” one and we just released the “Crusade” one. There’s a design she drew for every single song and I’m so excited about it!!

I saw the “Doomed Again” one and it looks awesome!

Valerie: For the most part we let her do her own thing. We gave her a breakdown and we sent her the album so she could listen to it. We changed a couple things she came up with just so the right messaging was in the tattoo if it was a little too far out there but for the most part it’s all her. It turned out so good! It was like she got into our brains. I love it! That’s a cool art thing. Actual art, not the stupid tattoo joke art.


Do you have a favourite flash?

Emily: It’s so hard!

Valerie: It is hard. I think my favourite is the “Saviour” one which people will be able to see soon. I also love the “Love’s Heavy Burden” one. It’s a crying heart, it’s so cute! I might get it tattooed on me. I might get all of them, maybe. We actually just got the album cover tattooed on us. All three of us, myself, Emily and Michael, all got that on my birthday the other day. Emily and Michael got theirs almost in the same spot, it’s really funny. My good friend Matt at Corner Pocket Tattoo did them.

What song are you most excited to play live?

Valerie: All of them!

Emily: We’ve been playing a couple of them live for a bit. We’ve been doing “Saviour”, “Crusade”, and “Love’s Heavy Burden”.

Valerie: And “Doomed Again”. We just started adding “Owe U Shit”, into the set. We’re slowly adding them in, peppering them in, trying them out. We’ve been doing “Love’s Heavy Burden” for a couple years now, I think since 2022 off and on. “Doomed Again” has been around for a while, “Saviour” has been around for a while, and we've played “Overthinking” off and on. We’ve played half the album live. People have heard it, they just don’t know it. We also have been doing “Crusade” over the past few months.

Emily: I think I was most excited to play that one just because it’s so heavy and it’s a little different for us. It’s a heavy subject too. I can really get all my rage out on that one. I really like playing that one.

Valerie: I really like playing the solo in that one. I feel like such a badass when I do that solo. I love playing “Love’s Heavy Burden” live because Emily and I have a lot of harmonies together on that song. I already love the song but playing that one live is super great. Emily does all the leads and the solo in that one so I just get to rock out, mind my own business, enjoy the song, and come in and do some ear candy on the vocals. I love that song, it’s one of my favourites on the album.

Emily: Same.

Valerie: I’m excited about all of them. I’m excited to play all of them live.

What part of Disenchanted are you the most proud of?

Valerie: I’m proud of the way the songs turned out and all the work we put into them and the time we spent on it. I’m proud of the album as a whole. I’m crazy proud of this album. I don’t know if I could pick a specific part because there are so many critical things on the album that make it what it is and it all comes from working on it and spending time on it and putting the effort in.

Emily: This time around I had so much time to revise lyrics. I didn’t feel rushed so I feel like I got a lot out that I wanted to say. I’m pretty proud of that. For “Apocalypse She” we had our friend named Dusty help out. She used to play in a band called Kill Matilda and she helped me with the lyrics on that one because she’s a really awesome songwriter. It was pretty cool getting her to chime in and working with another badass woman musician and songwriter. I like that I had more time and freedom to revise lyrics and make sure they said exactly what I wanted them to say and that I was proud of them.

Valerie: Same but with the guitar leads.

Emily: You have a lot more leads and a lot more solos.

Valerie: I have some regrets, it’s fine. The problem with having so much time to spend adding guitar parts to this album is now we’re playing it live and I have to pick which parts I’m going to make the main parts, which ones I’m gonna play live, and which ones are gonna get left behind. We’ve actually been experimenting with another guitar player. We’re trying it out because there’s a lot of variables and we need to see if it’s gonna work or not. Her name’s Tess and she plays in a couple bands out of the GTA - Chasing Heros and Miss Conduct. She shreds on guitar, she’s great! She’s been super fun to jam with and hang out with and we’re going to have her join us for our shows with Single Mothers in May. We’re going to try it out and see if it’ll work and if it makes sense. We’ve been having a lot of fun with it. Emily now also can put her guitar down and just get in people’s faces which she’s really good at. I like it when you get sassy.

We played the Horseshoe in 2020 right before the pandemic and it was one of our last shows before COVID happened. We had our friend Chuck Coles from the Creepshow and Organ Thieves jump up and play guitar for “Worse Than Death”. We have this thing in the middle where we make people sing and we make people clap. Emily, there’s this shot of you where one person near the front was not having any of it. They’re upfront, they’re obviously enjoying it, and you're like, “You’re not clapping!” You're in the guy’s face very sarcastically like, “This is how you do it!” and he still didn’t do it. I love that.

Emily: I made him so uncomfortable. I ruined his evening.

Valerie: I like it when you do that! I think it’s fun. Don’t come to the front of the stage if you’re not going to participate.

Emily: Seriously! It’s embarrassing for you.

Valerie: Leave that space for people who are into it.

Emily: I remember his partner just looking mortified beside him like, “Come on!”

Valerie: Embarrassed girlfriends of bad-behaving men at shows are my favourite! [laughs] I don’t know why, I just love that because they get it.

Emily: It’s always like they’ve got the cane thing from those old movies where they’re trying to grab them and pull them out.

Valerie: “We’re out of here! Can’t take you anywhere!” For the really bad ones though it’s like, “Maybe you should break up with him”. Now I don’t think that’s warranted for a man who wouldn’t clap but…

Emily: [laughs] I should have told her that! “You need to break up with him!”

Valerie: [laughs] We did have a guy get a bit confrontational with us on a tour one time. He was saying some batshit stuff to us and we were like, “WHAT!?” We talked about it after and Emily was like, “I wanted to throw something at him so bad!” and I was like, “I was looking for something to throw at him while his girlfriend dragged him away!”

Emily: That was one of those things where she was grabbing him and literally pulling him out of the bar. She was like, “Shut up!” and dragged him out of the bar. It was so funny. At the same time, I feel so bad for them too. You shouldn’t be babysitting your boyfriend.

Valerie: It’s true. Hopefully, she knows now. My favourite line is, “Hey, that’s a nice boyfriend you’ve got there!” [laughs] We’re fucking brats and we will call it out and hopefully make some poor woman’s life a little better every now and then.

Be like, “Here are all the red flags”.

Valerie: Exactly! Like that guy on TikTok who just runs with a red flag. He’ll play a clip of a shitty man saying something shitty about women and then it cuts to him running through a field with a giant red flag. I love those.


That should exist in real life.

Emily: It’s a good music video idea for us too. Just guys walking around with red flags. [laughs]

Valerie: I like that.

Emily: I want to tell my favourite story ever. It was the last night on the Bowling For Soup tour in Sudbury and in the middle of our set this guy was like, “Play ‘Free Bird’!!” I went over to him and I was like, “Then why don’t you play it?” and he was like, “I don’t know how” and I was like, “Well, I guess that’s why you’re down there and we’re up here!” Everyone was like, “Ooooooo”. Then because I’m sensitive, I’m empathetic, I felt kinda bad for saying that to him after. I was overthinking it. I was overthinking it on another level too because I was thinking about everyone watching the show like, “Well, they’re all down there too”.

Valerie: Yeah, but they’re not yelling at us to play “Free Bird” which is such a fucking cliche. There’s always that guy like, “Play ‘Free Bird’” It’s not funny, fuck off! I call that guy Free Bird now.

Emily: He was a great sport even after I insulted him. He stood at the front cheering us on and he was having a great time.

Valerie: It’s true, he was there the whole time. He did not leave after this incident.

Emily: Then at the end of the night we were at the merch table and the guy came back with his friend. He’s got our sticker that says “The Anti-Queens” taped across his mouth and we just died laughing and got a photo with him. He was so nice and I think he apologized and stuff. We were like, “You’re a good sport”.

Valerie: I also felt bad for singling him out so bad and I swore at him a little. I remember I was like, “What the fuck? That’s such an old shitty joke! Get a better joke!” I was mad. I was trying to be funny but I was a little pissed. Then you did that amazing clapback which I loved. I thought that was great and it was better than anything I said. But after the set, I saw him and went up to him and gave him a high-five like, “You’re a good sport! Here’s a sticker”. Then he came up to the merch table at the end of the night and got a photo with us with the sticker on his mouth. It’s in our tagged photos on the Anti-Queens Instagram account.

Emily: He will forever be known as Free Bird Guy.

Valerie: But you know what’s funny? I will never forget him now.

Emily: Same. I think about it every other day now at least.

Valerie: You might be overthinking it. Full circle, see what I did there??


Is there anything that I didn’t ask that you’d like to add?

Valerie: We have cassettes! We have the album on vinyl, CD, and cassette. [holds up cassette] It’s cute, it’s pink! Side A and Side Q.

The eye flower on the inside looks so cool!

Valerie: It’s a magnolia because we have a song on the album called “Magnolia”. It’s very cute. There’s only a hundred of these. They’ll be available on our merch store on the Cut Loose website and they’ll be at our merch table. Those are the only two places you’ll be able to get it.

Emily: While quantities last.

Valerie: We should save some for the album release party on June 1. We’ll have the flash prints on June 1 as well. We’re working on maybe getting some special guests. I think we’re going to add another opening band. We’re really excited! It’s going to be such a fun night. It’s crazy that it’s at Axis Club - which used to be Mod Club. We played it once before when we got to play with the Adicts in 2019. I saw Ghost play there one time and it was awesome! It’s cool that we get to do our album release party there. Fifteen years ago I would never have thought, “I’m going to be releasing an album at the Mod Club!” It’s not the Mod Club anymore but still, it’s crazy. We’re excited!

May 17Cabaret Fouf - Pouzza FestMontreal, QC
Jun 01The Axis Club - Album release partyToronto, ON (w/Brutal Youth)
Jun 06Festival Au LacGranby, QC
Jun 07ColbaltVancouver, BC (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 08Waverly HotelCumberland, BC (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 09The Bear CourtyardTofino, BC (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 10The Blue GrottoKamloops, BC (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 11Tonics PubKelowna, BC (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 12Rockwater GrillGolden, BC (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 13Casa AmigosMedicine Hat, AB (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 14Modern LoveCalgary, AB (w/Raygun Cowboys)
Jun 15Starlite RoomEdmonton, AB (w/Raygun Cowboys)