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Photo courtesy of Zero Day Reapers.

Zero Day Reapers on first show, cybersecurity and free music

By Kabriya Coghlan on February 10, 2016

New local electro-punk band Zero Day Reapers will be playing their first show this Friday, February 12, at House of Targ, with a line-up of songs that explore sex, computers, and technology.

The band consists of lead singer Tanya Janca, lead guitarist Daniel Ryan, bassist Jean-Francois Brown, and rhythm guitarist Godwin Daniel. Apartment613 sat down with Janca to find out more about the singer and what people can expect from Zero Day Reapers.

Janca was born in Kitchener-Waterloo, but she grew up in Ottawa after her family moved here when she was eight years old.

“I started playing music when I got my first guitar when I was 14, and then I started playing shows as soon as I was legal, basically,” Janca said.

“Like the moment I was legal, I was just like ‘Let me play everywhere that will allow me through the door.’ And I did that, just me and my guitar, for a really long time, and then eventually I learned I could play drums and I could sing and all sorts of other stuff.”

12491841_861215583995861_5800536324669700177_oJanca has released five albums as a solo artist and has also performed with bands such as Couchwrecked and Eugene & the Eugenics.

“When I was younger it would be me and my guitar and I would sing folky music, because that’s that’s what I thought women were allowed to do,” Janca said.

Then she began exploring other kinds of music and started playing acoustic punk sets, performing by herself at the Vans Warped Tour and opening for metal bands.

Janca said one of the biggest things that’s changed in the music community around her since she started performing has been an increased acceptance of female musicians. When she started playing punk music, she often wasn’t taken seriously because she was a girl.

“I remember going to the music store and being refused service, I remember being teased and made fun of,” she said. “I remember trying to buy an amp and I had $500, and the guy wouldn’t take my money.”

Over the years, those attitudes have changed, Janca said. “Now that I’m older, it’s so awesome, because first of all, boys have matured!”

She’s excited to be working with the new band. “It’s just so easy with them. There’s not a bunch of huge egos,” she said. “We all collaborate together on everything and we’ll switch instruments…It’s awesome.”

Zero Day Reapers fell into electronic music almost accidentally, Janca explained. Ryan put together drum loops for them to use in practice while they were still auditioning drummers, and then started experimenting with the sound until they realized they wanted to play around with electronic music instead of having a drummer.

“We say electro-punk because the themes of our songs are electronic as well,” Janca said “We sing about relationships and cyber security, if that makes any sense,” she laughed.

Janca explained that one of their songs was based on the Heartbleed incident (see this xkcd comicfor reference), one of the biggest software vulnerabilities of all time.

“The idea is that two computers talk in this super secure way, but if one computer asked just this special way – this vulnerability – it could ask for too much and it could dump all the stuff out that it was supposed to protect,” she said.

“So in the song, I’m like ‘you ask for too much, you make my heart bleed, I thought we were secure and connected.” She laughed. “You know, it sounds like I’m unfolding this relationship.”

Zero Day Reapers played their songs on Charles Anthony’s Ottawa Live Music radio show on CKCU 93.1 FM last week. You can listen to them on the show here.

The band plans to start recording their first album and get their website up soon, and Janca said they’ll be releasing their music online to download for free, with the option to make donations. Physical CDs will be sold at their future shows.

“People expect music to be free, and that’s kind of a fact of life. You can fight it and be a jerk about it or you can be like, well, we want people to hear our music, we want people to like it,” Janca said.

“Some people will (donate), some people will be like, ‘I love this so much,’ and some people will play it once and delete it, and that’s okay, because I don’t want to make music that everyone likes, I want to make music that a few people love.”

Zero Day Reapers play at House of Targ, 1077 Bank Street, at 9 pm on Friday, February 12, opening for Dévah Quarter and The Orienteers. Cover will be $6 before 10pm and $8 after 10pm.  See theFacebook event for details.