FestivalMusic

The future of rising Calgary punk stars Sellout is BIG, bright and well beyond our borders

Sarah Christine is a kind lady.

Very kind.

Proof? She’s agreed to take a quick break from working at a children’s mental health facility to have a chat about the rising Calgary punk act she fronts, Sellout.

Both of those things — her chosen career and her generosity with her time — are enough to cement it, but her reaction to the admiration of the former only sends her kindness stock soaring.

“Yeah, it’s really rewarding,” she says. “I love it.

“The people I work with are super understanding and supportive of me, which I never really had before in a job.

“I love working here, it’s great.”

Which brings us to the third thing about that: Why is she so angry?

She laughs.

“People always ask me that. My mom always says that, too, she’s like, ’Sarah, you’re so angry.’ I’m not, I’m like the happiest person you could ever meet,” the vocalist says.

“I guess I find writing music is therapeutic, especially punk music. If I’m angry about something, I can write about it and I can scream it to people’s faces. It’s amazing, I love it.”

Take Sellout’s superb, savage latest single, King’s Head, which kicks off with the lines: “Let’s give a big ‘fuck you’/To all the jerks and cowards who/Manipulate the innocent/By being a god damn hypocrite.”

That said, those lines are sung so beautifully, so actually prettily by Christine, that the venom is that much easier to absorb.

“I think that when you think of punk music you don’t think of a vocalist with a background in musical theatre, so it’s kind of different, which I like,” she says.

Yes, she was trained in musical theatre and studied it throughout Junior High until a couple of years after High School.

It was due mainly to the friends she met in the Calgary music scene after that that led her to immersing herself in the harder, less happier and jazz handier stuff.

“I loved the energy and the people,” she says.

She’d never actually been in a band until Sellout — which also includes guitarist Andre Urquidi, bassist Malcolm Strasdin and drummer Francis Glasspoole — formed four or five years ago, “but we weren’t actually able to get together and have a jam space until two years ago.”

She and the rest of the members were just friends, with Urquidi and Glasspoole already in local metal crew Snakepit, and she hanging out while they rehearsed.

“And the rest of the guys didn’t end up showing up for jam (one night) so we were just hanging out … I picked up a microphone and they were like, ‘Let’s play some music.’ And we started playing and we really liked what we heard,” she says, explaining that it was different from what the other two had been doing.”

They jammed a few weeks after that and then the space “fell through” and they couldn’t really get something solid together for another couple of years and make Sellout an entity.

When they did? Wow.

They became something, something worth paying attention to very, very quickly.

A pair of nice ’n’ nasty EPs and that new single have pushed them further up the scene’s ranks, with the band a big, melodic, bombastic ball of beautiful rage — guitars on face fry, percussion on bluesy groove, vocals on sneer, snark and seduce that’s part Maria Del Mar, Poly Styrene, Katie Monks and Carole Pope.

They are the future of Calgary punk and should soon expand well beyond the borders.

They’ve already begun the process, with their first Western Canada tour just completed, an experience that, musical theatre-trained Christine had said prior, she was looking forward to, being in a “sweaty, stinky van with a few guys for a few days”

Now they have a couple of amazing showcase shows upcoming, the first being a spot on the lineup for Big Slam, with Lagwagon, Seaway and others this Saturday, July 14, as well as an appearance at the Ship and Anchor’s 28th birthday bash Aug. 1.

Things are happening for Sellout. And they should. And the kind, angry lady is kindly genuinely appreciative.

“I’m really grateful for everything that’s happened this past year and a half,” she says. “I can’t even believe it most times and I’m just feeling gratitude every day for it — just the opportunities that we’ve been given have been amazing, and the people that we’ve met, the people that support us, just incredible, it’s awesome.”

(Photo courtesy Hayley Francis.)

Sellout perform Saturday, July 14 as part of the BIG Slam at the Barley Flats (1210 11 Ave. S.E.), which features Lagwagon, Seaway and more. For more information and tickets please click here

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