Hervana to play Waterloo

Nirvana cover band coming March 22

Contributed Image
Contributed Image

On March 22 the Princess Café will travel back a couple of decades to a time of slap bracelets, frosted tips and cootie catchers.

The reinvention of the 90s music scene will come in the form of female Nirvana cover band, Hervana. Headed by lead singer and guitarist Carly Beath, the band will look to bring the sounds of the iconic grunge-rock band to the residents of Waterloo.

Beath, a Wilfrid Laurier University graduate, started the band in 2013 after reading a tweet that read “Toronto needs an all-girl Nirvana cover band named Hervana” — that was all the spark she needed. She gathered together guitarist Michelle Turingan, bass player Erin Saunderson and drummer Sonia Sennik to get the project started. Sennik has since been replaced by Adrian Pasen.

“It was in mid-2013 that we sort of started putting things together. And then we played our first show March of 2014,” said Beath.

Before the band formed, Beath was working on a solo E.P. incorporating electronic and pop music, as well as working on other projects. In addition to her experience in the music scene, she believes her band members have a wide range of skills to bring to the stage.

“Our drummer Adrian, she’s done a ton of stuff. She lived in Brooklyn for a while and played in some bands there,” she said. “Michelle does a lot of solo electronic, instrumental stuff. Erin has another band called Blue Cougar which she still plays in.”

Choosing to cover Nirvana was not difficult for Beath, as the band has been an integral part of her life ever since she was just beginning to pluck at the strings of a guitar.

“I learned to play guitar by playing Nirvana songs,” she said. “I had this big binder full of guitar tabs that I would print off the Internet and teach myself how to play.”

According to Beath, Nirvana’s attractive sound and style stems from a blend of strong, heavy rock mixed with undeniably catchy pop rhythms.

“The songs are really fun for me because they are loud and fun to play — they are heavy. They also have this super melodic core,” she said. “In the middle of them are these really great pop songs with this loud shell around them … it makes it a lot of fun play.”

To date, Beath said the reception at the band’s previous shows have been exceptional and attributes that to people’s familiarity with the music.

“I think probably the reason they are so fun is that they are very participatory. Usually when you start off as a band, you have to go out and play shows and nobody knows you and nobody knows the songs,” she said. “Because everyone knows the songs, people are excited to hear them and it makes them really engaged.”

Beath believes the other contributing factor is the youth of the audience. Because of when they were born, most of the audience members did not get the opportunity to see Nirvana play live.

Nirvana disbanded in 1994 after Kurt Cobain’s death — long before many of the people Hervana plays for were old enough to see them live or even enjoy their music.

“At one of our shows the person who introduced us said, ‘Hey, has anyone seen Nirvana live?’ and nobody had,” Beath said. “It’s fun for people to come and experience the songs in a live setting even if it is not actually Nirvana.”

The fact that the band is completely female has garnered some attention according to Beath.

However she does not believe it adds or takes away from the performance.

“These are people that I would have played music with no matter what, because they are my friends and I think they are great musicians … It is definitely something that is important to us, but it is not the most important thing.

For Beath, the show is somewhat of a homecoming, as she graduated from Laurier in 2006. Playing in Waterloo is something that has been on her radar for quite some time.

“It’s awesome. I’m really excited for this show. I’ve wanted to play in Waterloo basically since we started playing shows … I think it is just a really great local scene there.”

“There is always so much going on,” she said.

Beath has one goal in mind for anyone who decides to head over to the Princess Café on March 22.

“We just want people to come and have fun and experience the songs along with us, and just share a mutual love of these songs,” she said.

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