Pop Mach!ne started in 2015 as a Grade 7 and 8 Lively District Secondary School band competing in an annual showcase of Rainbow District School Board elementary school rock bands.
Cassandra Walli, identical twin sisters Emily and Candice Duval and Keegan Beaulieu were among the original members of the band set up by music teacher Cory Ross.
When they decided to continue the band after the showcase, they added Cassandra's older brother, Chris Walli.
The Lively-based band called themselves Pop Mach!ne as a homage to an earlier band called Soda Pop with some of the same members.
“When we played together, it just kind of clicked,” said Candice. “We moved on from there, and we've been playing all over the place.”
Among their original gigs were youth band competitions through Valley East Days and Lively's Rock the Farm. These days, they estimate they've played more than 90 shows.
They were the winners of last summer’s Rockin’ the Rock Battle of the Bands on Manitoulin Island and had the chance to share the stage with famous bands such as Prism, Helix and Harlequin.
Recently they participated in the Meltdown competition, winning the chance to play at this year’s Northern Lights Festival Boréal.
Although they're still very young — they range in age from 16 to 21 years old — they're very passionate about the band. “It's basically my whole life out of school,” said Cassandra.
Pop Mach!ne is launching its self-titled debut album at Durham Hall in downtown Sudbury starting at 7 p.m. June 28.
The party will feature the band’s original music from their album as well as classic rock covers. The event will also feature musical guests Kick the Clouds and Equinox.
“Putting out an album is super surreal, because suddenly our music is going to be in the hands of so many people whenever they want,” said Candice.
The album features eight original songs, six written by the band members together, one written by Cassandra, and the other by Cassandra and Chris' father, Adam Walli.
They've dubbed their style “modern classic rock,” as they're inspired by the classic rock (their favourite bands include Led Zepplin, Van Halen, Def Leppard and Triumph) that came out before they were born.
“We try to modernize the classic rock that we're inspired from and try to bring it to the future generations by writing our own songs,” said Cassandra.
As for the future of Pop Mach!ne, the members say they hope to keep the band together upon high school graduation.
Most of them hope to attend post-secondary school here in Sudbury, or already are (Chris is currently a Laurentian student).
They encourage other kids and teens interested in starting a band to go for it.
“Just find a bunch of friends and play music,” Candice said. “That's all it takes to get started.”
“It doesn't matter when you're starting out if you're good or not,” Cassandra added. “You can just have fun, and eventually you'll get more experienced and more comfortable playing on stage.”
Tickets to Pop Mach!ne's album release party cost $5 each, and are available at the door, or in advance by phone at 705-920-2085, messaging the band's Facebook page or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical versions of the album will be available for purchase at the event, but it will also be available on digital platforms including Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music.