ON THE RISE – From left are Rebecca Raabis

ON THE RISE – From left are Rebecca Raabis

Red Deer rock band continues to exceed expectations

The Dear Kills is set to play at Alberta's Own music festival later this month

Three young artists have branched from their respective solo works to form a unique, edgy rock band called The Dear Kills, formerly known as FoxJaw.

Rebecca Raabis, Erin Buhr, both of Red Deer, were quickly gaining popularity as they each produced their own soulful acoustic music. Eight months ago they decided to collaborate with Buhr’s drummer Gregg Glenn, and created the band – a ‘gritty rock’ group fronted by the two ladies.

After less than a year, the group is taking their sound to the Alberta’s Own Independent Music Festival from Aug. 29th to Aug. 31st, located at the Tail Creek Raceway in Alix.

“We are very excited. It’s very cool that it’s only been such a short time for us, and we already get to play at Alberta’s Own,” said Raabis.

Buhr added it’s an honour to be included in the lineup.

“It’s also really cool for us because we love a lot of the bands playing and it’s really an honour to be on the bill with them. We’re really big fans of Monster Truck and a lot of the other local bands that are playing. We’re definitely really grateful and excited to be a part of it,” she said.

Formerly known as FoxJaw, the group is now known as The Dear Kills. A bird called a killdeer, which are known for their loud voice and insistent calls, inspired the group’s name. They changed out the spelling of deer for a feminine spin on the term.

As a solo artist, Raabis had released a few songs and performed around Red Deer, but was interested in performing with others. Buhr and Glenn used to perform together. When the opportunity came to join with Raabis, The Dear Kills was born.

The group has played many times at local venue Slumland Theatre, where the two girls initially decided to join together with Glenn and dedicate themselves to a rock group. The group was also featured during CentreFest last month. They have also rocked town venues of International Beer Haus & Stage, The Hideout and The Vat.

“We are a female fronted band and that’s not very common, especially in a rock band, and a three piece band. I think it’s not expected from us. People see us and don’t expect to hear heavier rock, they think we’re just posing and are going to play a pop song,” said Raabis.

The solo acts of each artist are quite different from the loud, edgy sounds of The Dear Kills. The girls said they had collaborated together, while performing under their own names, and learned that they had the same goal of creating music that Buhr describes as “Bigger and better.”

“We teamed up, and tried to find a few other members which didn’t work out, but Rebecca and I were together from the beginning, and really wanted to do something awesome. We wanted a rock project because we were both doing acoustic performances before and we both had the same drive to do this, so it works,” said Buhr.

Following their performance at Alberta’s Own the trio have plans to hit a studio and begin recording for their first EP, a five-song album. The girls said that it is difficult to maintain a following without recorded songs of their own. They play many live shows but are looking to do more.

When the girls perform they share the mic and the spotlight. They harmonize, share verses and keep crowds engaged with solos and through their stage presence. These girls may look sweet, but their sound is rough and suiting to their personal description of ‘gritty’.

“You can really be yourself when you’re playing music. You can be a freak, you can dance, you can do what you want and people will respect you as an artist,” said Buhr. “It’s awesome that way. I just really like the freedom of expression that comes with playing music and the feeling you get when you play it.”

Raabis agreed, adding, “The best thing is the feeling you get afterwards – you feel accomplished when you finish your set. I like just having fun with it. For me, the best part is that if I play and have fun, that’s what matters.”