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Thunder Queens Step Up To Bat With A Striking Debut 

This emerging garage punk trio might still be in high school but they’re ready to affect change through their music and message.

by Sebastian Buzzalino

Photo by Marc Mongrain

In the video for “Roadtrip,” the lead single off their latest album, Strike One, the three Thunder Queens find themselves crammed into the backseat of a car. Violet Bruneel, Lola Hayman and Clara Magnan bop around their native Southern Ontario bubbling with excitement. They sing, they dance, they look at the eclipse — the young garage-punk trio are celebrating the release of their debut album and their second entry into their discography, following 2020’s self-titled EP. 

When we meet up over Zoom to talk about the release and their upcoming weekender tour from London, Ont., to Toronto and back, they’re similarly crammed onto a couch in their living room, freshly home from high school.

“It’s a huge relief to have it out in the world,” exclaims Hayman. “We are super excited now to have our music out in a way that people can listen to it without coming to our live shows. Before, we didn’t really have much out other than the 2020 EP we made when we were nine and 10 years old.”

Live shows can be a challenge for a band that still can’t drive themselves to shows. All ages shows and venues are definitely less set up than the traditional bar scene infrastructure, and relying on parents to drive them around to everything can be a challenge. But Thunder Queens have been making the best of their opportunities, finding festival slots to play and putting their name out there on the strength of their fuzzy, sludgy rock and roll.

“We’ve never played multiple shows in a row,” she says, “obviously because we’re 14 and 15. But also because our parents have to drive us to shows and stay with us, and they can’t go on tour all the time.” 

Thunder Queens recently hit the road for their first four-date mini-tour in support of Strike One with Calgary veterans Miesha & the Spanks. “Playing with women and women-fronted bands is the best, we’re always so excited to play shows out of town and this whole thing is a new experience for us. [Girl’s] Rock Camp connected bands like Miesha & the Spanks, Bonnie Trash, Status Non/Status are always so helpful and teach us so much, like when we don’t know how to adjust something or we forget our kick pedal, they’ve got our back!”

Thunder Queens’ debut album rolls through 11 tracks that stretches their songwriting to the limit. Earlier songs, like “Fighter,” are “much more simple,” but once Magnan joined on bass, they started writing fuller, more complex protest songs, like “All My Friends.”

“As we got a bit older and started reading the news and hearing about ‘all these problems’ in the world, we wanted to write a song that talked about the feeling of wanting to do something about it and make a statement. We wrote ‘All These Problems’ the year of the pandemic, with the George Floyd protests and abortion ban in the USA, as well as all the wildfires. Since we’re so young, these events had a huge impact on us.

“[Album closer,] ‘Blood Moon’ talks about our fears for the future and how things happen in patterns and that in the end we hope good times will come back. We wanted to end the album with ‘Blood Moon’ because it’s a bit darker, has such a strong tone, and we often end live sets with it. We wanted the album to sort of be experienced like one of our live sets. It’s also a window into what some of our future releases will sound like.”

Thunder Queens’ Strike One out now via Victory Pool Records | thunderqueens.com