The Screaming Fox was born on a sleepy street near downtown Kitchener. Monica van Schaik and David Lacalamita renovated parts of their house, not only for themselves, but with the local music scene in mind.
Their home is now a recently established house show venue, usually hosting indie, synth and experimental pop music.
“I think there is something special about a house show where you can bring your own drinks and it feels almost like a house party, but it’s kind of special because you’re listening to music and it’s intimate,” van Schaik said.
Van Schaik grew up in the Ottawa Valley and Lacalamita is originally from Cambridge; though for years they both lived in Montréal, where they were active members of a lively house show culture.
When they moved to Kitchener in 2018, they realized little of their friends had space to host a house show, and though the arts scene in the Waterloo Region is active in many ways, they missed seeing the kinds of music that they love.
There is a story behind the name The Screaming Fox: when the couple first bought their house in 2020, Lacalamita’s band Loon Town came and stayed to work on their latest record, Slow Space.
Over the course of the weeks that the band was working on the album, there was a noise keeping everyone awake in the night. Lacalamita and van Schaik described it sounding like a screeching baby or dinosaur.
Finally, they realized it was a fox screaming throughout the neighbourhood.
Van Schaik says that they heard that foxes scream to lure animals out to play, and this is the same intention they have at The Screaming Fox: to lure Kitchener people and bands to come out and play music or listen together.
Though they are happy to create space at The Screaming Fox, Lacalamita said it would be great to have more public venues as well.
“We’re partially doing these things out of necessity—for myself anyways— needing to have community around music. I think ideally, I wouldn’t need to have shows in my house,” Lacalamita said.
Van Schaik said their friends would often travel to other cities such as Toronto and Hamilton for music, but not over to Waterloo Region.
“I think it’s a real gap in our arts scene […] it’s another reason we started having [the shows],” van Schaik said.
Van Schaik and Lacalamita also pointed out that a venue is often a place where people can build community, while enjoying the unique atmosphere of live music.
“It’s nice to go to places that I guess are more liminal space, where it’s like a public living room… There’s only so much capacity if it’s not a public space.” Lacalamita said.
Van Schaik and Lacalamita explained that their home venue is a step towards a more accessible space and hosting different types of music in a cozy, community-oriented atmosphere.
“I think we will always put on house shows because they have a specific vibe and I think they’re special and there will always be a spot for this type of thing,” van Schaik said.
“But maybe in the future there’s a public venue space in town where people can get a similar feeling as when you come to a house show,” they said.
To hear about when these shows are happening, follow The Screaming Fox on Instagram @thescreamingfoxkw or email email@example.com to be added to the mailing list.
When the next show pops up, direct message or email The Screaming Fox for the address, and prepare to enjoy evenings of cozy, intimate music.