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I Hate Sex rejuvenates emo subculture in Edmonton

“Emo” is a scene that has seemingly fallen under the radar since it’s heyday in the mid-2000’s.

While the number of new emo bands has been steadily decreasing, the bands that are still performing are using their emotional instrumentation to advocate for important issues like safe spaces in music venues. I Hate Sex — an Edmonton-based band that has existed for under a year — is part of this scope of bands.

I Hate Sex, comprised of Nicole Boychuk (vocals), Jibril Yassin (bass), Ashton Burns (guitar), and Curtis Burton (drums), have generated a lot of hype in the tightly knit Edmonton punk scene with their chaotic, melancholy sound and eye-popping name. However, at first the name at first was nothing more than a joke.

“We have a group chat on Facebook we talk on during class, one day this girl was talking about pregnancy and something came up, so I said ‘I hate sex, an emo band name that I don’t have yet’” says Boychuk

While some try to prescribe a bigger meaning onto the name, I Hate Sex rolls with the punches instead of taking themselves too seriously.

“We’re not one of those bands that are pretentious, serious or pragmatic, we’re just in it for the fun.” says Boychuk

You wouldn’t think the band is as laid back as they are listening to their debut EP Circle Thinking which was released earlier this summer. The EP explores issues of anxiety, which Boychuk describes in a endless manner.

“Circle thinking is what I call anxiety, you think in a giant circle, back and forth, around and around,” she says.

With the momentum of Circle Thinking, I Hate Sex generated a strong online following, characteristic of modern day emo bands.

“Emo music has a very devoted online culture where people are interested in the hyper local, smaller bands,” Yassin explains. “So you get all these people who browse on Bandcamp all day checking out these crazy bands from England, America, Japan.”

Coming out of a progressive subset of the Edmonton music community, I Hate Sex is one of the many bands helping alter the once hyper masculine punk landscape.

“A lot of our friends advocate for safe spaces and not being shitheads at shows. We don’t put up with that at all, we don’t play outside of that usually.” says Boychuk.

The progression and integration of safe spaces are making shows and events around Edmonton more enjoyable for everyone. Safe spaces act as a place where all genders, non-genders or sexes can come to a show and have fun without having to worry about anything going wrong. No violence, getting consent before you touch anyone, respecting people’s pronouns and treating others, as you would want to be treated, make up the general guidelines.

“A lot of these shows are attended by a smaller community, when they notice that these guidelines are in effect they observe themselves a bit better, so the entire vibe of the show improves for everyone there.” says Yassin

I Hate Sex play at Bohemia on Sept. 20.

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