Drea Naysayer has made a lot of records and played a lot of shows during her music career, but their new band feels different.
"I feel like this is a family," they said. "I've recently come out as non-binary, and I don't believe that experience would have happened without playing in an all-women rock band."
Naysayer put the current version of their band The Naysayers together at the beginning of the pandemic. With the shutdown of the music industry, the band focused on working on new material and rehearsals, with a few streaming shows added to the mix.
Being unable to play live was tough for Naysayer, a dynamic, energetic performer whose take-no-prisoners shows are a true experience.
'It was the first band ... where I felt very comfortable being vulnerable'
But the bond they built with the band, and the impact it had had on their life, made up for it.
"I came home from practice one night a few months ago and it hit me like a tonne of bricks," they said. "Because being with all women, it was the first band I've ever had like that, where I felt very comfortable being vulnerable."
"Drea is pretty honest with us," said drummer Tara Martin. "I just feel really grateful to be in this band, it's been a privilege."
"Every band I've ever played in has been a big group with a lot of dudes," added bassist Willow Gamberg. "Just being in this group of women, everyone is so open and so chill and so relaxed, and we all have fun."
Naysayer said the pandemic may have shut down the music industry, but it also changed the way some people are approaching the business. In the past, bar and club owners had a hard time understanding it was Naysayer's band and that Naysayer was the boss. Now, if an opportunity doesn't feel right, Naysayer is more willing to turn it down.
The band, which also includes guitarist Selina Heyligers-Hare, celebrated the release of its first record with a show at the 98 Hotel in Whitehorse last Friday. The show had to be delayed on three occasions as pandemic restrictions were lifted and then re-imposed.
"We've been rehearsing quite a bit," said Martin. "It's been tough throughout the pandemic to keep having to reschedule everything, and everything has been uncertain, so I'm happy to see things reopen again."
If the pandemic doesn't upset plans further, The Naysayers should be playing a lot more over the next few months, including some shows in Europe.
But for Drea, just being around the band has changed everything.
"(The band) being the way they are, allowed me to see who I actually was, and that has been transformative," they said. "I think now my shows are next level, they feel more comfortable and I feel more comfortable."