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Bratboy's BRATWORLD is a Utopia Where Fashion and Music Collide 

The East Van punk trio invite us into their jam space.


Interview by Marissa Ruggles | Photo by Zuleyma Prado

The jam space is a sacred place for any musician. It’s ground zero for collaboration, where potential takes flight and turns ideas into untethered fury. For Vancouver punk band Bratboy, jam spaces are a privilege not to be taken lightly given the current state of real estate in the over-priced west coast metropolis. Tucked away in an industrial area of East Vancouver where the hot, dank smell of chicken and fish factories waft through the air, creating an invisible barrier between your nose and the beautiful city skyline, members Bella Bébé, Megan Magdelena, and Tony Dallas make catchy punk rock music with a rock and roll spirit.  

“We had a great jam space for a few years but it got demoed for condos,” Bébé says. “It’s pretty hard to find a decent space that is affordable on top of the ever-increasing rental market. A lot of bands share spaces with each other to keep the monthly rent low.”

With two of the three members also playing in other projects, Bratboy has been bouncing around between a couple different spaces lately, but that hasn’t stopped them from pulling together their latest creation, Bratworld, a fast and fun 10-track album full of sugar-coated melodies that dance overtop screeching guitars and fuzzed out distortion. Recorded over three days with Jordan Koop at the Noise Floor on Gabriola Island, the songs are informed by a long list of punk and rock and roll icons who came before them, mixing equal parts Joan Jett and Josie and the Pussy Cats circa 2001 with the grit, grime, and angst of 90s grunge.

Bella Bébé and Megan Magdelena of Bratboy outfitted by Brixton Apparel.

Bébé and Magdalena have an undeniable chemistry on and off stage that particularly shines through in their vocal harmonies. Playing music together for several years, they’ve dialled in a chic high-fashion aesthetic to complement their crisp tunes, often captured through Magdalena’s camera lens. The bassist is also an immensely talented photographer and has no trouble in front or behind the camera when it comes to bringing her band’s artistic ideas to life. “Fashion is a part of life and we love it,”  Magdalena says. “Growing up, all of our mums were seamstresses and had many iconic looks.”

Tapping into that creative spirit, RANGE partnered with Brixton apparel and headed into Bratboy’s jam space to find out where fashion and music collide ahead of the band’s debut LP. Bratworld comes paired with a  new music video (the band’s fifth!) for the eponymous “Bratboy,” a flashy and unapologetic music video full of glitz and glam. Extravagant costumes, dazzling makeup, and fiery stage antics complement their distinctive intensity and flair. With classic rock as the main course, retro glam on the side, and a punk twist, Bratboy serve up the ultimate full course melodic meal.

Bratboy’s Bella Bébé shares the inspirations behind the band’s hybrid garage rock meets surf punk sound and dissect the scenic atmosphere of the utopic Bratworld itself. 

How does it feel to be so close to releasing the album? What makes you most excited about that?

It’s like a release, literally, you just get to let it all go. And it’s really exciting to just see what happens and how people deal with it. It’s almost like you’ve been keeping a secret for a long time. I like to get feedback and hear how people like it because you never know. It’s refreshing.

Bella Bébé of Bratboy outfitted by Brixton Apparel.

Why did you choose to title the song “Bratboy”? What influenced you to name your band the same?

We actually had a different placeholder for the song title, which was ‘Coca Cola.’ I don’t know why, I think it was just the energy of the song. Then I think lyrically it literally sounds like it’s about a brat boy. It’s kind of an homage to Black Sabbath and their song, ‘Black Sabbath.’ We were actually called ‘BB’ before and then we changed the name during the pandemic and rebranded essentially.

How did “Bratworld” come to be?

It kind of just popped into my head one day, and then I also thought about Spice World. That’s such an iconic album, and another cool homage. I feel like it encompasses our first record and it’s like our whole world. 

Bella Bébé and Megan Magdelena of Bratboy outfitted by Brixton Apparel.

Do you typically draw inspiration from other music artists when titling songs or did it just happen coincidentally? 

I think I try to just brainstorm a bunch of ideas, or I’ll bounce stuff off Meg and Tony. I don’t try to directly take something and twist it, but I think I like piecing it together after and being like, ‘Oh, it reminds me of that.’ It’s kind of fun because that’s what we grew up on. 

Your music and visuals give off a strong 60s and 70s retro glam vibe as well as a classic punk feel, where does that come from? 

That’s just something I’ve always liked; my parents are actually older so it’s what they grew up on in like their 20s. I feel like that really influenced me a lot as a kid. My mom was a full on 60’s hippie and my Dad looked like what’s his face from Easy Rider, that was just the style back then. I remember wearing a pair of boots and my Dad was like “Oh yeah, I used to have those.” And I’ve seen Meg’s mom, speaking on behalf of her, her mom really loves punk music and was in London in the 70s I believe. Meg has her Sex Pistols ‘Anarchy in the UK’ original pressing. So we have really cool parents, hats off to them.

Tony Dallas and Bella Bébé of Bratboy outfitted by Brixton Apparel.

Do you think the punk scene in Vancouver has had any effect on your sound? 

Definitely, the punk scene here is strong and has always been with bands like DOA and just a lot of bands back in the day. When you’re playing with other bands too that are more aggressive and stuff, that influences you in a way. Especially when it’s personal to you. 

What would a citizen of Bratworld behave like? 

That’s awesome, I would say they have to be respectful, they have to have fun, and they have to do what they want to do, oh, and look great while doing it. I never thought about it like that.

Tony Dallas of Bratboy outfitted by Brixton Apparel.

Does Bratboy have any plans to continue your 60s/70s aesthetic or do you plan on hopping around the decades even more?  

I think we all have such different influences, like we all love 90s hip-hop, 50s country, we’re all over the place. I think this record is just like this specific time in my life and it definitely reflects that. Moving forward I think it will be kind of a mix up, but also keeping to the original idea of certain things. When you start a project it’s all about letting it naturally evolve. It’s all about making decisions and it puts you down different paths. So, I think, yeah, there will probably be some 90s inspiration like Turnstile. It’s always just been a ton of influences coming all together, which is so exciting. 

When it comes to the roots of Bratboy’s style, how do you stay true to those while experimenting with new projects? 

I don’t want to be kept in a box, I think as long as we keep up the good songwriting and elements of us. I love harmonies and the upbeat and aggressive style, so I think as long as we have those things, we can kind of just run wild. 

 Bratworld is out now on all streaming platforms. Bratboy will be performing an album release show on April 22 at Green Auto (Vancouver) with Dead Soft and guests | TICKETS

Tony Dallas and Megan Magdelena of Bratboy outfitted by Brixton Apparel.