Hi music lovers!!!!
I’m SO stoked to share that I had the opportunity to interview an incredible band, The Harlot Saints.
The Harlot Saints are a progressive, grunge-alternative feminist band who honestly blew me away. If you’re into bands like Sonic Youth, The Julie Ruin, Sleater Kinney and Fleetwood Mac, check them out ASAP! You won’t be disappointed!
The Harlot Saints consists of three members:
- Jade Dalton (vocals, bass)
- Megan Gray (drums)
- Caleb deKleer (guitar)
The Harlot Saints have just released their demo on their Band Camp page:
Check it out!!! You can download their demo for FREE by clicking on the link above 🙂
Also, their first ever show is quickly approaching! The Harlot Saints perform at The Smiling Buddha (Toronto, ON) on June 2nd. If you’re looking for something awesome to do that Friday night, make your way to downtown Toronto to check out these talented artists!
I sat down with Jade, Megan and Caleb and discussed a variety of topics including music, feminism and, of course, makeup 😉
Read our interview below!
Where did the name “The Harlot Saints” come from?
About two years ago, a friend had posted an article about Free the Nipple on social media. A lot of guys were commenting on the post about how wrong they thought it was, and a lot of girls were commenting about how much they believed in it.
This guy came in and he got really rude and he just started ripping everybody apart. I’ll never forget, he called the girl who posted a “Titless skank,” and he specifically said, “All feminists in this town are harlot saints.”
So he essentially came up with the name, but we read that and we were so fucking angry and I said to Megan, “That should be our band name; we should take that back.”
When Caleb joined the band, we thought about changing the name because we didn’t know if it was in the right context with a guy in the band, since harlot is usually a term that is used for women. But, then we said “fuck it” because that’s entirely against the point of what feminism is. And it’s a good name, so, we kept it.
So The Harlot Saints began with just you [Jade] on vocals and Megan on guitar; how long ago did you guys start the band?
My hair was blue, so it was that long ago.
…and my hair was brown. So, yeah, about two years ago.
It’s funny though, because in high school, Jade posted a Heart song on my [Facebook] wall and I was like, “We’re gonna start a girl band.”
So the idea has always been there.
So when did Caleb join The Harlot Saints, then?
We were in search of a drummer, and the auditions went well, but they weren’t what we wanted them to be and eventually we were just like, “Megan, you have a drum kit.”
I remember when we talked about it, and the night before I was playing on my drums and thought, “I miss doing this.” I always had this dream that I was going to be Joan Jett, so I never practiced the drums. But, now I feel so comfortable playing on the drums and I also like being kind of in the back.
So it was about a year ago that I joined the band.
What inspired you to start writing and playing music together?
I have always written poetry and music, but no boys ever wanted to jam with me because I didn’t play an instrument. But, when Megan started to get into playing music she really encouraged me to get into it more, and we always had the same ideas about feminism. So, that’s when I took up the bass.
I knew if we were really going to do it, we really had to equip ourselves as much as possible.
Also, Jade’s lyrics are exactly what I would want lyrics to be.
So, do you find feminism drives a lot of your lyrics?
Yes. That’s always been a subconscious thought.
Some of the songs touch on love and heartache, but the underlying message is always to try and depict the other side of women, not just a pop version of a love story, and not a standard one size fits all, because it doesn’t.
If a girl or guy is going to listen to this song, we want it to be real and raw.
Feminism can be a bit of a dirty word. What does it mean to you to be a feminist? Why is it important to talk about?
I just feel like feminism discusses so much of what’s wrong with society and people are afraid to use the term, but I think that’s even more of a reason to say it. It’s the feminine parts of society, of being a human, that people are so afraid of.
I’m into feminism 100% because of these two, and so much of what they say stays with me. I have a mom, I have a sister, I have female friends, and they’re not getting equal treatment. These are the people I care about most.
One of the biggest things of feminism, at least in my life, is just having experienced so much hate from men – and from women – and not understanding where it came from. Feminism was just the answer to all of it.
It’s not about you as a person, it’s about your gender. We live in a great era, sure, but we grew up with girls having an excuse not to be good at math and science, or an excuse not to be good at sports. In every movie, girls have to be beautiful and thin.
Feminism was just the answer to all the things I didn’t understand for so long, and then it woke me up. Once you have that truth you just want to tell that truth to everyone and music is a platform to do so.
Even today, little girls are being taught that if a boy is mean to you, he likes you, and then we wonder why women are stuck in domestically abusive relationships. It’s because they don’t know any better.
As feminists, what advice (if any) do you have for other women?
I think that women feel like they always need to be nice, even to guys who are so shitty. I would say don’t be afraid to be a bitch.
Both Megan and I have had abortions, and to that I say, don’t be afraid to put yourself first. As women, we’re constantly taught that the best version of ourselves is when we’re helping other people, and there’s nothing wrong with charitable acts, but you have to draw a line. You can’t take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself. A lot of women take the sidelines comfortably when they know in their hearts they shouldn’t. So for any woman at any age – don’t be afraid to put yourself first.
Have you faced any obstacles as women in grunge music living in a small conservative community?
Disclaimer: I, along with the members of The Harlot Saints, have all grown up in the same small (very) conservative town in Southern Ontario.
We have gotten a lot of backlash. A lot of people said we wouldn’t be good enough, and sometimes we aren’t taken seriously.
It’s hard because you feel pressure to be so good because you’re a girl. If a guy fucks up, it’s whatever, but if a girl fucks up it’s like, “Of course she couldn’t do this.”
When we were searching for a drummer, we even had people contacting us through the add just to say, “Fuck feminism, it doesn’t have anything to do with rock and roll.”
But, this is exactly why we’re making it something to do with rock and roll. You just can’t really marry arts and politics without some people getting pissed about it.
What is your songwriting process like?
Since I’ve been singing for a long time and I’ve only been playing bass for a year and a half now, I usually come up with a bass line then match a harmony. It’s really hard to match finger speed to vocals – it’s easier for me to just match vocals to my fingers.
So, I usually come up with just the bones of it and bring it to these guys and we jam it out to see what we can do. From there I’ll adjust the lyrics or add a bridge, and Caleb usually comes up with a dirty riff.
It’s a process and everything evolves.
Who are your musical influences?
Bikini Kill just in the sense of feminism and being angry, and we all have similar musical taste like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The White Stripes, Sleater Kinney and Fleetwood Mac.
For the makeup-wearing band members, what are your favourite beauty products and trends?
Jade and her brows are a very serious thing. And I’m obsessed with NYX Cosmetics.
I just got the Modern Renaissance palette, and I don’t really know how to even do eye shadow but I just look at it. It’s so beautiful.
What can your fans expect in the future for The Harlot Saints?
We really want to make more of a music scene in [our] town – not just for our own sound – but right now, there’s a lot of folk and acoustic music. I don’t know what happened because there used to be a lot of really cool bands here, and now it’s just died. We really want to bring in a different sound.
Plus, it’s a total boy scene. There’s literally no fucking girls. There’s a lot of girls who are musical for sure, but there aren’t any girls that are rocking out. There aren’t any girls on the drums or shredding guitar. We really want to have a local show in July and really promote it.
I just want to say a HUGE thank you to The Harlot Saints for sitting down with me and letting me pick their brains. I’m such a fan of their progressive lyrics and grungy sound, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for these talented musicians!