Grunge, rock, screaming, and feminism
By Savanah Tillberg, Arts & Culture Editor
The new and improved formation of the musical group, Solhounds, will be visiting Thunder Bay for the first time on Wednesday, March 21st. Solhounds is a metal grunge group from Winnipeg who are hoping to make their mark on the musical world. Solhound’s members—Elise Roller, Ian Clements, Morgan Davis, and Andrew Bontey—work together to create a unique and captivating metal-rock-influenced sound while also highlighting social issues surrounding equality.
Solhounds is a unique up and coming group and while it’s members are 75% men, they hold feminism and its ideals at the forefront of their sound and image. In an interview with The Argus, lead vocalist, Elise Roller, said, “I know that as a woman, going to shows, and especially to harder shows like rock or even hip hop, its actually pretty intimidating to be a woman in those environments often, and a little bit of the intimidation comes from the fact that 90% of the people, including the musicians, are men. It’s sad because women like to rage too.” Roller added that she knows from her own experience that it can be difficult to be a woman at a concert and to feel like “all eyes are on you,” or to feel that your safety is threatened. She explained that it’s important to both her and her band mates that their band and shows “represent in a venue that is a safe space for women to let loose and to feel powerful” alongside the other concert goers.
The entire band stands behind their feminist image and they agree that for too long women have not been allotted the same opportunities as men. Hoping to close that gap through their music, Roller explained, “it’s about [allowing women] to take up space and be loud. I grew up being taught that I was supposed to be a lady – and that it wasn’t lady like to make a lot of noise or take up a lot of space – and now I’m like screw that, I will walk all over this stage. I will be louder than anybody in this room and I want more women to feel like that!” Roller and her bandmates want their shows to be representative of all genders, “it’s not about man-hating,” she added that their focus is equality, “that’s what feminism is about – it’s about making it equal. Men get to scream into a microphone all the time, and more women are doing it too, but I’d like to see it be completely even. We deserve to scream too.”
Roller said that having a majority male band has enabled a lot of meaningful and educational conversations, she said, “My band mates are a part of the army. We’ve sat down and had conversations about what is and isn’t appropriate and they’re really receptive and they never make me feel like I’m crazy for being a feminist.” Society that has been conditioned to allow and expect men to take control, and women have been behind the scenes for centuries. She explained, “[My bandmates] are totally on board. That’s why we try to say feminism and equality but it is really is the same thing – [feminism] is such a hot topic nowadays. [Women have] been oppressed for so long and [we’ve] only had basic human rights for less than a century, and we’ve come a long way – but there’s a lot of work to be done, and holes that need to be fixed, and repairs that need to be made.” They are passionate about feminism as well as advocating for all people to have access to the same opportunities. She said, “it has to do with all human rights including different races, different genders – we’re all just people and we all need to have the same opportunities.” Roller said that highlighting diversity within communities is also extremely important because, “the more diversity you see the more you can cultivate especially in an arts community.”
Solhounds released their very first EP on March 16th. The EP consists of two tracks, Side A: “Body Bandit” and Side “Be: A Man” (I Taught Him). Body Bandit is a song that highlights the wider acceptance of sexuality and sexual exploration, while Be: A Man (I Taught Him) celebrates the women throughout history and into the present who have nurtured, supported, and raised up the world’s successful men.
Their debut EP is available for streaming, and classic merchandise will be available at their shows. Solhounds, along with most musicians today, were faced with the challenge of finding a way to support themselves and their music in this era of Spotify and other streaming services. The band came up with the “Solhounds survival kit,” a tin that comes packed with a download card, buttons, stickers, magnets, and a condom – this innovative mechanizing will also be available to purchase at their shows.
Now that the band has produced music for the wider public, they hope to build up their team and fan base, Roller notes, “We do so well here in Winnipeg, and we want to do the same across Canada and abroad.” The talented group hopes that their new tracks will give them some traction on their journey to gaining label support, so that they can release a full-length album and take North America by storm.
Check out Solhounds for yourself at The Foundry this Wednesday, March 21st. Doors open at 10pm and tickets are available online and at the doors.