the new ep
With equal parts gloss and grit, Toronto’s Killer Virgins bring their high-energy, lyrically empowering original music to the masses with the release of their debut EP, Reboot.
At the centre of Killer Virgins is the irrepressibly upbeat and exceptionally talented vocalist/ guitarist/songwriter, Samantha Weinstein. With as much enthusiasm as she has latent compositional talent, Weinstein has seamlessly woven together a musical concoction that brings together the best of authentic punk energy, with the alternative rock grit of the 1990s and the more lush and pop-oriented sensibilities of the post-punk movement of the 21st century, creating a sound that is as engaging as Weinstein is as a performer and conversationalist.
Weinstein has been performing since she can remember. For most of her childhood and teenage years she worked as an in-demand actor, making numerous appearances over the years in film and television, as well as in animation as a voice actor.
But throughout her youth she was always enamoured with music and began taking lessons at a young age, becoming adept on guitar, as she also began songwriting in her early teens. Her parents were fans of much of the sounds of the 1990s, so Weinstein’s earliest influences included the likes of Nirvana, Hole, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Eminem, as well as classic punk acts such as The Ramones, The Damned and the Dead Kennedys. As she entered her 20s, she became hooked on the work of The Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes.
“People like Jack White, Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain and Jello Biafra were the people who formed the strongest examples of songwriting for me growing up. All of my influences came together in a perfect storm to help create the music that Killer Virgins makes now. I consider what we do to be garage rock, with a lot of punk, indie rock, and alternative rock influences combined together,” she explained.
“I wanted to be lyrically creative like rap artists and listening to people like Alex Turner really influenced me. I realized I could write with the intricacy and intensity of rap, but with rock music.”
As the seriousness of her desire for a musical career intensified, Weinstein concluded that she wanted the creative synergy and camaraderie that comes from being in a band, and so she recruited the exceptionally talented, groove-infused drummer Gabriele Corindia, as well as bass whiz Nathan Price. (Price plays on Reboot but had to prematurely retire from the band shortly after its release. He is succeeded by Corindia’s music-college buddy and close friend, Andrew Brazier, pictured.) It is a potent combination both in the studio and especially in a live setting, as Weinstein’s confidently potent stage presence is augmented by the fiercely fun Corindia and wild-child Brazier, creating an audience experience that is both electrifying and eminently memorable.
“Part of what we’re about as Killer Virgins is owning our own weirdness, and that really infuses our live shows. For me, the music that I write is an unfiltered representation of who I am. Me and the guys, we’re all freaking weirdos. We’re outsiders, we’re not normal people, and we don’t want to be,” Weinstein said, emphatically.
In regards to the band name itself, Weinstein said, "I wanted to create something of an homage to the taboo-ness of the Sex Pistols - something that, for whatever reason, feels societally unacceptable or uncomfortable, if only because we often shame women, and men, in regards to sex so frequently and unabashedly. I was also getting into 50's B-movie sci-fi flicks at the time, with names like 'Attack of the Spider Women from Mars', and I thought the idea of 'killer virgins from outer space' fit with that aesthetic really well."
(...Weinstein’s confidently potent stage presence is augmented by the fiercely fun Corindia and wild-child Brazier, creating an audience experience that is both electrifying and eminently memorable. )
Using her redoubtable wit and ability to skewer conventional culture in a way that is blunt without being caustic, Weinstein and Killer Virgins take aim at consumerism and commercialism with the robustly energetic piss-take of a tune, Label Whore.
“It’s a song about people who use clothing brands as a substitute for their own personality. It’s not something a lot of people talk about, because so many people are into labels and brands. It’s about people perceiving that there is something wrong with you because you don’t buy into it, which is fucked up,” Weinstein explained.
“At the beginning of the song I imitate a real conversation that I had with someone in middle school years ago, which I remember verbatim to this day. I was minding my own business at my locker and one of the so-called popular girls said exactly what’s at the beginning of the song – completely out of nowhere. Of course, what’s not included in the song is how I went on a ten minute rant about how she was a walking-talking billboard, but I think that sentiment is made pretty clear in the rest of the song.”
The infectiously ragged and true-to-life song Keep the Corkscrew is a cautionary tale of modern coupling and uncoupling, with Weinstein’s sometimes plaintively self-apologetic vocal performance replaying a cringy and all too common scenario, with a literal ‘twist’.
Compositionally the song is a masterwork of melding raw punk energy with elevated musicianship, wrapped up in lyrical storytelling that is as vivid as it is honest.
“Keep the Corkscrew is about a bad Tinder experience, and how our expectations about how things ‘should be’ often overweighs our intuition and better judgement. At the time I wrote it, I was overwhelmed with anxiety over having left my parents' corkscrew at this bad Tinder-date's house. If I wanted the corkscrew back, it would mean having to see him again, and that obviously wasn't going to happen. So, naturally, I immediately started looking for identical corkscrews on eBay,” she said, with more than a hint of sheepishness in her voice.
“It also has the most ambitious guitar solos I’ve ever written. I had been inspired by the duelling guitars in [The Eagles’] Hotel California, and it was a great challenge for me because I had never written so many overlapping parts before. The whammy pedal/octave stuff came into it pretty late in the process, with the guys during practice. I was just screwing around with it and suddenly we realized that the effect was exactly what we needed to create an exciting live performance aspect.”
Weinstein and her bandmates will never be afraid of being musically adventurous, nor will she ever shy away from taking on lyrical topics of all nature of weirdness and wonder. It’s a key component to the authentic charm and likability of the band, and traits that will continue to endear them to audiences and listeners across a wide range of musical tastes and demographics.
Reboot is the first bold and brassy step in the musical journey of Killer Virgins – one that ensures those who go along for the ride a lot of lively musical diversions along the way.