It’s no coincidence that the first website to come up when you Google Whistler’s newest, all-female band is a sex shop in Ottawa.
“Somebody said they had bought their newest toy at a sex shop called Venus Envy in Ottawa and I said, ‘that’s a great name for a band,’” said Susan Holden, one of the group’s five members.
Her band members agreed.
While Venus Envy — made up of Holden on vocals, guitar and bass, Laura Nedelak sharing duties on all of those, plus ukulele, Catherine Batchelor on the drums, as well as electric guitar, Carol Severson on keyboard and vocals and Ellen Domm with percussion and backing vocals — played together for two International Women’s Day fundraisers in Whistler, it wasn’t until after this year’s event that they decided to officially form a band.
They’re intentionally all-female with the goal of giving Whistler’s women musicians more opportunities to hone their chops and perform around town, Holden said. “If any of the members said they couldn’t continue with us, I’d seek out another female musician,” she added. “Some of these female musicians aren’t otherwise getting considered for a lot of the bands… It was my initiative to start an all-female band. I do want to provide all these women with support and opportunities.”
To that end, the band has been getting more opportunities earlier than they anticipated. They made their debut last month at the Hear and Now festival in the Village and they’re set to perform as part of the All Original Orphans’ Thanksgiving at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Saturday (Oct. 7).
“It was a little intimidating to kick off a two-day festival at Hear and Now,” Holden said. “There were hundreds of people, even if it was folks walking by…. (But The Point) is my second home. We’re just looking forward to a really fun night and being comfortable and enjoying ourselves.”
While the goal of the event is to feature original music — which will include music by Holden and Poor Dirty Sylvia bandmate Sean Rose, as well as Nedelak’s solo material — the group has largely been taking cover songs and reinterpreting them to feature their harmonies. So far, that’s ranged from Nirvana to Fleetwood Mac and Annie Lennox. “We’ll be doing a lot more folk, rock, Motown, that kind of thing,” Holden said. “There’s a lot of common ground (with our tastes).”
After this weekend, Venus Envy will be looking for a Valentine’s Day gig (“we believe an all-female band would be a great choice for Valentine’s Day,” Holden said) and planning to perform again at the International Women’s Day event at Dusty’s. But, on top of that, they’re taking time to write new music and perfect their performance. “I’m just kicking off a Facebook page,” Holden said. “We’d like to reserve some time for writing. We’d like to make sure we’re not just hammering out, ‘oh, good enough.’ We’re working on arranging things so it’s special.”
Venus Envy will play The All Original Orphans’ Thanksgiving at The Point alongside Gordo and Northern Ignition on Saturday (Oct. 7). The event will also feature a traditional turkey feast with vegetarian options. Dinner is $30 with doors at 6 p.m. The show only tickets are $20 or $10 for children under 12 with doors opening at 6 p.m.
For tickets visit thepointartists.com.