Five Minutes With: Rock & Roll band Self-Cut Bangs

Self-Cut Bangs was started by couple Cayley O’Neill (Dark Time) and Shawn Petsche (Napalmpom) as an escapist home recording project during the pandemic. The project involved writing and recording one new song in a single day every Saturday.

Following the surprise success of their debut self-titled album’s release, the band set to work on the follow-up with a new approach. Eschewing the escapist themes and time-limited recording process of the first, the pair instead hunkered down during the pandemic and amassed a collection of over 200 musical ideas on their voice memos. Circle Around The Free represents the realization of the best of those ideas; a rock & roll record with a broader palette of influences and a more personal and reflective reaction to the strangest of times and much personal change. A retro-future rock & roll statement powered by a cotton candy jet engine.

Self-Cut Bangs
Photo by: Heather Saitz


Self-Cut Bangs


Rock & roll, power pop, indie rock



# of Albums:

Two – Circle around The Free (2022) and Self-titled (2020)

Latest Album:

Circle Around The Free (2022)

Latest Single:


Latest Video:

Favourite musician growing up:

Cayley: Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child and Ne-Yo, and Craig David.

Shawn: Sloan in my early teens, Thrush Hermit in my mid-teens and Tricky Woo in my hovering around the legal drinking age years. The age gap is becoming more and more apparent between the two of us.

Favourite musician now:

Cayley: Julianna Riolino. She backed Daniel Romano up as part of The Outfit and she shone as a singer and performer.

Shawn: Sweeping Promises are probably the most inspiring band to me right now.

Guilty pleasure song:

Cayley: “Heartbeats” by “The Knife” because it came out in 2003 and it just feels like I should be over it by now.

Shawn: The (original) Top Gun soundtrack fires me up. And I would legitimately listen to the theme song from Mortal Kombat for the same reason.

Live show ritual:

Cayley: I play our own songs over and over in my car driving to work for a week leading up to our shows.

Shawn: Used to change my strings every two shows, but then I found out I kept breaking them because I wasn’t taking care of my guitar properly. With all the extra time, I mostly just pace and pace waiting to go on stage.

Favourite local musician:

Cayley: Martha Zed. “Cat Song” is a hit if I ever heard one. Sargeant X Comrade as well.

Shawn: DRI HIEV, Hairnet and Brain Bent get me wanting to pick up an instrument, and anything Chris Zajko (Bridgeland) does make me question if I’m even a musician at all.

EP or LP?

Cayley: LP

Shawn: LP – but make it 30-35 minutes. None of this early 2000s, 18 tracks, 75-minute filler. Unless you’re still adding Enhanced CD behind-the-scenes videos or something wild like that. Shoot. We should have done that.

Early bird or night owl?

Cayley: Early bird, not by choice, but by profession.

Shawn: Early bird, not by choice, but by Cayley’s profession.

Road or studio?

Cayley: Stu-stu-studio (Phil Collins style).

Shawn: I’m proudest of and most fulfilled by the records, but live for the live shows.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | Facebook | Bandcamp


Rapid Fire Calgary Qs

Favourite local restaurant:

Cayley: Lil Empire Burgers, Dragon Pearl.

Shawn: Alumni sandwiches, Noble & Dandy pizza, Szechaun Restaurant.

Favourite street in your city:

Cayley: 20th Ave NW: Jimmy’s, Weeds, Lina’s and Confederation Park are all in the area.

Shawn: 4th Street. It’s where I make music, escape the world, and spend most of my most precious time.

Favourite park in your city:

Cayley: Lindsay Park. I like walking by the river.

Shawn: Same, but because there are some nice, under-visited spots to set up for an afternoon by the river.

Favourite music venue in your city:

Cayley: I like the sound at Commonwealth, I like the size of shows at Dickens and I like playing the Palomino because that’s the only bar that books us, haha.

Shawn: The #1 Legion when it’s busy is a magical, magical place. As is Central United Church. I’d say Palomino, Ship & Anchor and Dickens all provide me with the most consistently great experiences.

Favourite music store in your city:

Cayley: I’ve spent the most money at Long & McQuade.

Shawn: Sloth Records. I think they’ve been holding a record for me for a few months now, so saying them is the least I can do.



About Demian Vernieri 561 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.