Deanna Petcoff is a Canadian musician from Toronto, Ontario. Petcoff started her career in the band Pins & Needles, meeting the other members at Girl Rock Camp Toronto in 2011. The band stayed together for 6 years, but now Petcoff is solo and working towards her own career, and her own musical path. Recently, I got to chat with Petcoff about growing up in Toronto, her early love of music, and more.

Can you talk to me about growing in Toronto and your early musical influences?

Growing up in Toronto really shaped my music taste, as I started going to all ages shows at 13. I started playing shows at 14 and began to be introduced to local bands that helped shape my love of grunge and beach pop! My earliest musical influences are from my family though; my dad loves Queen and Joan Jett, while my mom listened to Carole King and Todd Rundgren. Both were very influential on my songwriting and vocal style.

When did you realize music was something more of a love and something you truly want to build a career with?

I always knew I wanted to be a musician, but I had a difficult time making the decision to make it my career. I think there’s such a narrative around the “starving artist” that got in my head, but when it came down to it, I realized if I didn’t try then I would never forgive myself. With that in my head, just over a year ago I took the plunge and decided to take time off school to fully commit. I regret nothing.

Can you touch on Pins & Needles, in how you girls met and what those years being together meant? As well, can you touch on the departure to this new solo career?

Pins & Needles was my first band - we met at Girls Rock Camp Toronto in 2011 and played together for 6 years. We grew so much together and made each other better women and musicians. I learned everything I know about being a good partner and friend and bandmate from those girls. They are still my best friends and I support them in everything they do, as they support me. We went our separate ways in January of last year, and I decided to create this solo project with songs I’d been working on, with the help of my producer Alex Stavros Laurie, my writing partner and guitar player Callum Maudsley, my drummer Julian Psihogios, and my bass player Dylan Burrett, as well as my manager and partner in crime Collin McKinnon. Together we’ve made up a team of hard-working people that run this machine.

How did it feel performing with them and now without them? Is being on stage something you’ve gotten better at or is performing something that comes naturally?

It is still sad to perform without my Pins & Needles bandmates, but they’re usually at the shows I play so I still have their undying support and love! I am still adjusting to being on stage without them though, but it is lucky that I perform with more of my best friends now. Performing on stage does not come naturally to me, I get very nervous and am quite reserved on stage. I am as honest as possible on stage with my performance, and I like to connect with audience members and tell a truthful story. My writing comes from the heart, and I hope to convey that on stage.

Talk about the new singles this year, 'Terribly True' and 'Stress', what do these records mean to you and can we expect these to end up on an EP? What’s your process like in terms of recording records and the songwriting?

'Terribly True' is about the feeling of falling out of love and the self-hatred that comes with having to break the heart of someone you care for deeply. This was the first message I put out into the world, and I’m very proud of how it turned out. I think it’s an honest portrayal of emotions I’ve felt and I think are universal. 'Stress' has a similar emotional reveal, also a heartbreak but executed very differently. 'Stress' focuses on the anger and frustration that can come with the unrequited love. These will both be on an EP, we’re hoping to release a double EP, one half released early next year and the other in the summer of 2019. I usually write songs quite a bit before we arrange them with the band or just my producer, and then we work through the arrangements and play them live! That’s how songs take shape and find their legs. I would never record something before playing it live as much as possible.

Finally, what does the rest of 2018 look like for you? And what do you hope 2019 has in store?

We will be playing more shows in 2018, and into early 2019. We will be releasing our double EP in 2019 and be doing some touring as well. More information to come!