After nearly seven months of touring

After nearly seven months of touring

Punk rockers squashing stereotypes

Female-fronted band faces unique challenges in male-dominated genre.

When Dusty Exner takes to the stage each night with her punk-rock band Kill Matilda, she wants to be viewed no differently than her male counterparts.

Unfortunately, that usually isn’t the case.

“There is a lot more focus on a female’s looks than on their talent and that is a challenge,” Exner told the News Bulletin. “You want to be taken seriously outside of your looks.”

On Saturday (Dec. 27) the female-fronted band will perform at the Cambie. Their performance in the Harbour City is one of the final stops on a North American tour that has lasted nearly seven months.

“We knew that the only way we could break into the market was by doing a really big tour,” Exner said.

Kill Matilda was born in Vancouver in 2008 and has released a number of records including I Want Revenge and #Punk#Zombie#RockNRoll. Their sound has been described as cross between My Chemical Romance, Pat Benatar and The Misfits.

“Our sound is sort of like sexy dance punk,” Exner said.

Unlike some genres, such as country, where there is a decent mix of both genders, the punk-rock genre is still predominately male centric.

Exner explained that because punk-rock is a male-dominated genre, people don’t take her as seriously right away.

“People are always a little surprised when I play the guitar well. There is an element of sexuality that is present,”  she said. “It’s like, ‘oh, how hot is this lead singer? How much skin is this person showing?”

The British Columbian points out that it is extremely rare to find a band that is more females than males, especially in her genre.

“You never see a band that is mostly women and one dude,” she said. “The crowd is predominantly men. You might get some women and some men, but you’ll never see a crowd that is two thirds women and one third men.”

Earlier this year, Kill Matilda released a music video for its song, I Want Revenge, which features only women.

“What I wanted to do was make a sexy cool video that wasn’t objectifying women in all of the conventional ways,” Exner explained. “I wanted to have only women that were strong and rock ’n’ roll, but was very female centric and sexy without being compromising. We just contacted all these really cool women that we knew who were doing all these really cool things and got them all involved.”

The basis behind the video was to go against the stereotypical rock videos, which predominately feature men, or women in roles that are more objectified.

“We’re flipping that script. We’re presenting men with an image that is somewhat challenging because you don’t see any dudes in that video, but it is still awesome. It is something that you can still get into,” Exner said. “All women or a ton of women in the rock scene is something that can be normal and not threatening to sort of the old boys club of rock ’n’ roll. It can be inclusive and awesome. It doesn’t have to be weird or gross.”

Although the video has received positive comments on YouTube, Exner explained that following the video’s release, Kill Matilda received hate mail.

“As soon as we put it out we got a ton of internet hate,” Exner said. “We actually think that it has to do with the fact that punk rock dudes and metal dudes and rock ’n’ roll dudes watch this video, they don’t see themselves represented in it and they don’t like it. There was actually backlash from dudes about this video, saying that we were not punk rock at all.”

As a band that lives mostly on the road, Kill Matilda is grateful for every little moment of success.

“It’s a thankless job,” Exner said. “For every single moment of glory there is an hour of shit and work and pain and people not valuing you.”

Kill Matilda performs at the Cambie, 63 Victoria Cres., on Dec. 27. For more information visit

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Sholberg, City of Nanaimo culture and heritage planner, left, presents a first-place award to Kevin Brandt for his restoration of his home’s exterior to its original state. Brandt is the first recipient of the Heritage House Renovation Awards, created by Nanaimo Community Archives to recognize renovation projects taken on in 2020 during the pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo hands out its first heritage house renovation award

Awards created to recognize heritage renovation projects taken on during the pandemic

A rendering of the Lumina building proposed for 41-45 Haliburton St. in Nanaimo. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Next project proposed as part of a series of buildings on Nanaimo’s Haliburton Street

Five-storey building near Finlayson Street will include 38 residential units

Auto thief in black balaclava trying to break into car with screwdriver. (Pixabay photo)
Island hikers and park users warned to keep valuables in vehicles out of sight

Spring weather draws more hikers out to rural parking lots, where thieves are at work

Capt. Bryun Ashlie, left, and Lieut. Stu Kenning, of Nanaimo Fire Rescue, tackle fires burning in two shopping carts in St. George Ravine Park, Thursday afternoon. The cause of the fire, which destroyed both carts and their contents, is undetermined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Shopping carts found burning in Nanaimo park

Firefighters douse flaming carts and contents on asphalt pathway

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a motorcyclist who refused to stop for police near the Nanaimo River Road and White Rapids Road intersection on April 10. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP seek ‘stunting’ motorcyclist, who fled from police

Rider spotted near intersection of Nanaimo River Road and White Rapids Road April 10

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Vancouver Islanders warned of fire risk caused by dry conditions

As dry spell poised to end, officials warn of risks involved with backyard burning

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

Most Read