Wet Lips Band Good For a Girl interview melbourne

Interview: Grace & Jenny from Wet Lips (@BIGSOUND)

WET LIPS ARE NOT A GIRL BAND.

Wet Lips good for a girl blog interview

“Wet Lips are a one-stop shop for getting off chops.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll spill your beer. Try on Try It Again.
A searing Melbourne anthem about seeing an old root out at every fuckin’ venue and thinking “y’know what, I’m DTF”.
Unhinged, unstoppable, as fun and sloppy as a 3am d-floor pash with some hot stranger.
Pucker up.”

I’m not usually as lazy as to just copy and paste a band’s bio – but this has got to be one of the best ones I’ve read in a while.

Wet Lips are a 3-piece punk band from Melbourne, inspired by the lack of non-male representation in the local rock scene. There is Grace on vocals and guitar, Jenny on bass and vocals, and soon-to-depart-on-other-adventures Mo on drums.

I had only briefly heard of them before heading to BIGSOUND after I had been searching for women on the festival line up to hang out with. I didn’t know much about them or their music, so while meeting and chatting with Grace and Jenny (Mo is gender neutral) I got to know how low-key hilarious these girls were, I was very intrigued to check out the fulle band at their showcase later that night.

Wet Lips Good For a Girl interview bigsound band

I had an absolute blast at their show! Grace saunters about looking over the crowd like she owns the fucking place (good), Jenny looks like she’s having the time of her life and has the best dance moves, and Mo provides the backbone with some beats that were hella fun to watch! But the best part of all is their on-stage banter, which is a string of hilarious exchanges between Grace and Jenny about a range of topics from how much they hate lanyards (they were around many necks at BIGSOUND) to Jenny’s parents. They also took the time to acknowledge that they were playing in a venue that is built on top of aboriginal stolen land and expressed their gratitude for the honour of playing there.

The entire crowd was enthralled by their set. It was v v fun to watch.

SO WATCH MY CHAT WITH GRACE AND JENNY FROM WET LIPS.

Wet Lips have just dropped a sweet new split 7″ single with Jenny’s other band, Cable Ties, and it’s a lil ripper. Listen to it below and check out Wet Lips on the interwebz.

wet lips good for a girl blog interview

WET LIPS LINKS

Facebook
Bandcamp
Instagram

………………………………….

INTERVIEW: GRACE & JENNY FROM WET LIPS [TRANSCRIPTION]!

Emma:
So I guess we will approach this individually – your influences and inspiration growing up. What music was surrounding you when you were kids or…

Grace:
A lot of when I was a kid, a lot of Australian stuff that my parents listened to. A lot of Aus-Rock like Crowded House and Paul Kelly. Then as a teenager I moved in to the whole Indie Rock, Brit Rock thing. Loved a lot of british bands and triple j bands. Then I discovered riot girl, so Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, and there was kind of… so Jenny and I met when we moved to college in Melbourne. And we started going and seeing local bands and that really just opened up, well, our brains, really! Yeah so bands that we loved were like Terrible Truths, then heaps of garage bands, um. Yeah… trying to think of other women bands that we went and saw…

Jenny:
Yeah so when we first started, cuz we’ve been playing for 4 years, so when we first started going out to see bands, we didn’t see many women. So we went and saw Terrible Truths a lot and we really liked them and they were really inspiring. And yeah, … but recently in Melbourne there has been a massive surge with women and gender non-binary and trans people..

Emma:
Yeah with LISTEN and stuff

Both:
Yeah!

Jenny:
Yeah so there’s this really amazing vibrant community and that’s where we get all of our energy and inspiration from now!

Emma:
Yeah! And so when you say that you guys met in college is that high school or university?

Grace:
Oh, like university, yeah

Emma:
Right!

Jenny:
We’re both from the country.

Emma:
Right

Jenny:
So I’m from Bendigo and Grace is from like.. south Queensland. So we started uni…

Emma:
And that was the connection like ‘we’re both from way out of town”

Both:
Yeah

Jenny:
So we moved in res accommodation and…

Grace:
And then moved in to a share house with our friend Maya from Habits. And yeah we all just little 19 year olds going and drinking $2 pots and seeing the same bands every night of the week!

Emma:
(laughs) Wicked! So what got you guys individually in to music? Like did you pick up instruments from quite a young age, or?

Jenny:
Well I actually played folk music before… so yeah my influences are a bit different because until I was playing in like a celtic folk band

Emma:
Wow!

Jenny:
Yeah and I was really in to folk music

Grace:
They were really really good

Jenny:
And um, yeah I just met Grace and liked Grace and..

Emma:
She brought you over to the dark side….

Jenny:
I went to gigs in to town and I was like “why does everyone sing out of tune and why don’t they tune their guitars?”

Emma:
(laughs)

Jenny:
But yeah and now I love it.

Emma:
“Now I love out of tune guitars!!” (laughs)

Jenny:
Yeah!

Emma:
How about you, Grace? What got you in to music, like actually wanting to perform?

Grace:
Ohhh just my um… my forever unsatisfied ego, really. Nah not actually… well, actually yes. Well yeah it was just this kind of thing where I’d always been really interested in rock music. And we started going to see all these bands and think I’ve always had this sense of like ‘oh they’re doing all these really cool things and they’re getting lost of attention and that looks really fun” Yeah and we really felt like there was a big gap in the Melbourne scene maybe 4 years ago, there weren’t many women. And it was just this real sense of ‘fuck that. let’s do it.’

Emma:
Yeah, so that was kind of the motive? Like you guys set out to start a girl rock band together?

Grace:
Yeah..

Jenny:
Kind of!

Grace:
Kind of.. I’m sorry I just realized everything I said revealed what a massive narcissist I am…

Emma:
(laughs)

Grace:
Umm I try and keep that under the surface most of the time.

Emma:
This is a safe space to be a narcissist

Grace:
Yeah.. I think it was more just like we want to start a band and we wanna do what all these other guys are doing

Jenny:
We looked at them and we were like ‘we can do that’ and so…

Emma:
And better..

Grace:
Yeah, well, we are better. And um..

Emma:
There it is again (laughs)

Grace:
Yeah so we started and we were so… well I certainly was really desperate for approval from all the people in that kind of scene. and you know we’d play shows.. and we’ve gotten so much shit over the years. We’re always on first. People would make disparaging remarks. And even like I think like 2 years ago I was playing through someone else’s amplifier and I was like ‘have you switched it on?’ and he said ‘yeah!’ and I leaned down and he was like ‘yeah and this is the volume knob, and this is the gain knob…’ and I was like yep yep I have this amp at home like this is the same amp and he’s like ‘and this is the tremolo…and this is…’

Emma:
“Did you even hear what I just said? Like… you know I’m about to play in a band.. like i do actually do the thing…’

Both:
Yeah

Emma:
Yeah I get that a bit too…

Jenny:
When we did get recognition, a lot of the time it was kinda like this quirky and cute thing that they were…

Emma:
A bit condescending

Jenny:
Yeah

Grace:
Yeah always the novelty. And so I think we’ve moved away, especially in the past 2 years, of seeking approval from that group. And going okay actually we don’t need you. And I guess we’ve been lucky we’ve been part of a big community and a lot of our friends have started bands in the last few years and we’ve reached out and yeah there are organizations like LISTEN and other kind of networks. And venues like tote that put on really great stuff… and.. yeah

Jenny:
And I’ll say at this point also like.. when we started… like, Mo, our drummer is non-binary so.. yeah we’re not a girl band

Emma:
Not a girl band, yeah sorry!!

Jenny:
No no you’re okay it’s fine!

Grace:
And there is such a vibrant trans and gender non-conforming community in Melbourne. As Chloe Turner from LISTEN said yesterday, they really are making the most innovative music at the moment.

Emma:
Yep!

Grace:
And there are artists like Simona Castricum who’s at BIGSOUND, Habits… and it’s really cool seeing it-

Jenny:
Chelsea Bleach!

Grace:
Just seeing it absolutely explode. And they’re starting to get some of the recognition they deserve

Emma:
Yeah well it’s brilliant that they’re showcasing here as well! It’s great. We kind do a similar little festival like this in New Zealand. It happens.. it was just at the weekend. They fly some of the panelist from here over there. And we showcased at that. And I was looking at the line up, only 12 artists play the whole time, it’s not like here. I realized that 50% of them had women in them, which was really cool cuz I feel like we’re at this critical period at the moment where we are starting to be listened to. And people are starting to kind of.. the conversation is not as scary to people any more. There’s been a lot of development and Melbourne is like a hub for that. It’s culturally very accepting and open, and it’s great that you guys are based there…

Grace:
Yeah it’s great! We love it! We feel like it has, in the past year just in terms of something tangible.. like often at the bigger underground venues like the tote and that kind of thing.. they don’t like putting on line ups that are all men. So they will often book a band that has at least one woman or a GnC person in there. But it’s at this stage where they’ll book that band but they’ll put them on first still

Emma:
Right so it’s like a step..

Grace:
Yeah it’s a step, and um… I’m really interested in.. cuz there was this kind of thing that happened in the 90s to a certain extent. And I’m really interested in how you keep that moving in to the future, and you don’t regress back to the indie rock scene of 10 years ago. Not that I was part of it, but it was very male dominated and people weren’t having these sort of conversations.

Emma:
Yeah

Grace:
Yeah so, I think we have made a bit of progress. But the music industry is still full of misogyny. And the vast majority of people still don’t respect women’s music. And they still see it fundamentally as something abnormal, and sort of just a novelty.

Emma:
Yeah definitely. And we have made steps with women but, like, as you say kind of the next thing is the GnC community and yeah… I hope that what everyone is learning from women starting to come to the forefront is that actually progress isn’t terrifying and actually like everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard.

Grace:
Yep

Emma:
And yeah I think that’s slowly but surely happening. I don’t think it will regress back. I hope not anyway. Unless like Donald Trump comes in to power and everything turns to shit. Influences a whole bunch of other horrible white dudes (laughs)

Both:
(laugh) yeah!

Emma:
So what’s next for you guys? Have you got releases coming out? Records? Tours?

Both:
Yeah!

Jenny:
We’re doing a split 7” which is coming out in November. And so, the split on the other side is with my other band, Cable Ties

Emma:
Oh cool!

Jenny:
So that’ll be really good! And we’ve recorded and album and we will be releasing it but that will be next year and… we don’t know when

Grace:
Yeah! Hey if anyone runs a label… get in touch! Ah yeah, so we’ve got the album. We’ve mixed half of it and doing the other half in 2 weeks or something! And, yeah, we’ll just be trying to put that out. Maybe put out another single before it.

Emma:
Awesome!

Chloe Turner LISTEN Good for a Girl interview

Interview: Chloe Turner from LISTEN Organisation (@BIGSOUND)

LISTEN ARE A ORGANISATION BASED IN MELBOURNE

LISTEN organisation good for a girl interview

BIGSOUND Friends?” was the subject of the email I received from a gal named Chloe Turner from an organisation named LISTEN just a couple weeks out from my trip to Brisbane.

“Hilarious bio. Wanna grab a drink at BIGSOUND? I think we’d have a lot in common :)” Well, she had me at “hilarious bio” – but I was really intrigued to find out what LISTEN was. It was a familiar name to me, and I’d seen the logo somewhere on the ‘webz prior. After some really quick googling and a good old fashioned stalk of Chloe’s bio on the BIGSOUND website, I replied “ABSOLUTELY” and asked her if she would be keen for an interview as well!

Chloe herself is a hugely talented human. A super human and just 22 years old, Chloe is a musician, co-founder of a record label, involved in operations for Music Victoria, and of course hugely involved in LISTEN. I’m sure she’s got a whole lot more talent up those sleeves, as well!

Chloe turner listen good for a girl interview

Chloe Turner just being casually badass.

So what is LISTEN, exactly? Well it all started with the artist Evelyn Morris – also known as Pikelet – sharing her frustrations online with the lack of inclusion in the music industry for women and gender-non-conforming people.

“So tired of male back-patting and exclusion of anything vaguely ‘feminine’ in subculture. We get it. You think you’re all awesome and we’re all just kinda average. Unless we sound like you. Ladies of Melbourne… Let’s please reject this culture.”

(Yaaaaaaaassss!) Naturally, this caused quite a stir, and after the ground swell of support she received, she went on to create the LISTEN organisation as a space for women and gender-non-conforming people in the Melbourne and Australia-wide music community to share their stories and experiences. With the purpose of historical documentation, visibility, and inclusion.

“We want to become visible – historically and in the present day – in our own words, on our own terms.”

I had a great time chatting to Chloe about LISTEN and further on from that, her own personal experiences working in the music industry in fields other than just the artistry!

CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEW WITH CHLOE TURNER FROM LISTEN ORGANISATION!

IN MELBOURNE THIS WEEKEND? Well you should absolutely head along to the annual LISTEN Conference!

Listen Conference Feminist Futures Good for a girl

This year it is titled Feminist Futures, and is a three day feminist music conference featuring keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops and live performances. Writer and feminist activist Clementine Ford and performer and activist Alok Vaid-Menon of Darkmatter (USA) will serve as keynotes!

What the heck are u waiting for?! Buy your tickets HERE immediately.

Intrigued to learn more about LISTEN or find out how you can get involved?

LISTEN LINKS

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

GOOD FOR A GIRL: CHLOE TURNER OF LISTEN (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT)

Emma:
Well it’s kind of different talking to you from the other artists I’m talking to because.. well i dunno! I don’t even know your background, by the way! So the first thing I wanna talk about with you is what do you do, what’s your background in the industry?

Chloe (Listen):
Okay! In high school I used to play music. So when I was in my first year of uni I released an EP and used to gig. Played folk music and stuff. Pretty chill, folk music cutesy stuff! And then kinda grew out of that. I think everyone kinda goes through a folk music phase (laughs)

Emma:
Yeah (laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Grew out of that and then graduated uni and started interning at Chapter Music with Guy and Ben. And they introduced me to heaps of stuff. They introduced me to Pikelet and Evelyn Morris who is one of the co-founders of LISTEN. And the conversations we’d have around the office about queer people and representation in the music industry and females and stuff. Just kinda opened my eyes to stuff that I hadn’t really thought about in music before. Because at uni we talked about misogyny but it was like how women are represented in pop and hip hop music videos. It was a different kind of thing. And I was about to go in to this real world working in the music industry and I was like “eh it doesn’t exist. What’s the gender pay gap?” and now here I am! (laughs)

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah! Started interning with Guy and Ben and was working at a record label then too called Deaf Ambitions which was my friend Aaron’s label.

Emma:
What was your role there?

Chloe (Listen):
I was kind of like the assistant manager I guess. So he would do, he’s sign the acts and do most of it but I’d help out with publicity and I was managing one of the acts, too.  And then from there just was also working for a music festival called Inca Roads – which got cancelled – then through that I started working for Paradise Music Festival and I’m there now. So I work one night a week as an artist coordinator for Paradise. And then full time I work for Music Victoria which is the state peak body for contemporary music. And then… LISTEN! In all the other time! (laughs)

Emma:
Yes! So tell me about LISTEN. Give me the full elevator pitch. Like obviously I’ve been to the website, I’ve read about it, but let’s tell the people what LISTEN do because I think it’s awesome.

Chloe (Listen):
Cool. So LISTEN started maybe just over 2 years ago now. It was co-founded by 3 musicians Erica Lewis, Evelyn Morris and Antonia Sellbach. Evelyn – Pikelet – she’s been playing in heaps of punk and hardcore bands her entire life. Pikelet is her most easy-listening pop project. She was written about in a book called “Noise in my Head – The Stories of the Ugly Australian Underground” and it was very… I guess her response to it was she was written about in a way that she wasn’t happy with that being documented. Like in a really masculine, men-dominated way. The book was quite male dominated, didn’t have much queer representation. So she just wrote this Facebook post that went viral. And it was kind of like, her action was like to start documenting our own history as women and queer people in the Victorian and Australian music industry. Particularly the underground and independent part. So from there they started running LISTENing Parties which are a monthly gig that we have, and they started publishing articles on the website. And then it just kinda grew. There was this big Facebook group where everyone would chat about stuff, post articles and generate discussion. But as Facebook’s do, they got a bit controversial and out of hand. It was hard to manage, it was like a full time job. It was just so stressful trying to moderate it and then people would get pissed off with you personally, because it was something someone else said but because you work for LISTEN it was your fault. Classic. So we kind of closed down the Facebook forum and had a real-life LISTEN Conference with the idea to have these discussions from online where people may not understand the emotion or tone or stuff like that – we wanted to have those discussions face-to-face. so the LISTEN Conference started! There’s also a record label which I run, LISTEN Records, which is separate to LISTEN but still affiliated obviously.

Emma:
And you guys have that big roster of artists? Like you were saying on the panel yesteday…

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah! So as part of that Facebook group there was a big resource generated which people could just add their bands to these huge lists in each state. And we’re in the process of updating the website so you are able to be like “okay I’m a festival booker maybe I should check this list out and make sure I’m being diverse at this festival”

Emma:
That’s fantastic!

Chloe (Listen):
So by the end of the year that will be up on the website. It’s just a long process with busy… stuff.

Emma:
(laughs) Lots of busy stuff.

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah!

Emma:
So you personally, because you’ve worked obviously in the music industry from quite a young age it seems..

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah, I guess, yeah!

Emma:
Have you ever personally experienced direct sexism towards yourself personally or is it more just the conversation interests you?

Chloe (Listen):
A couple of subtle things like working in an office with men. And you know, working – I’m young, I’m 22 so a lot of people don’t take me seriously they just think I’m like the “Facebook Youth”  who just sits on the computer and does social media. And it’s like actually, I run the entire awards and I do all this other stuff with Music Victoria, I do lots of things and it’s hard to be taken seriously. So there’s that kind of subtle misogyny I guess where people don’t shake my hand they shake my bosses hand. And they don’t bother introducing themselves to me because I might just be an assistant or that kind of thing. I get a lot. But then also I remember once I was booking a music festival and I called this booker, it was like a Sunday as well. No he called me – that’s right. Cuz I was trying to talk him down on a price for a band because it was a very tiny music festival and he was like “$4000!” and I was like… “$400…”

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
And he called me and he was so condescending, and was like “you don’t know how it works in this industry sweetheart” like just real jerky. But then turns out the band really wanted to play and by him doing that he kinda fucked it up for them. And he sent me an email later like “happy to accept the offer!” Cuz I was pretty firm on the phone but I was still really upset about the fact he would speak to me like that – but stayed firm. But then he ended up groveling back cuz he was texting me like “Hey Chloe did you get my email? We’re happy to do it!” And I was like.. I’m going to reply to you tomorrow.

Emma:
(laughs) I’ll let you wait until you sweat. Yeah I found that a lot too. I actually wrote a blog post about it because Moses is a musician as well and he’s quite well known in the scene in CHCH and NZ at large and people will come up and talk to him like how’s your music going blah blah blah and I’m just standing there. Or there will be a group of us and we’re all musicians and if I’m the only girl standing there it’s just kind of assumed I’m just his girlfriend. Like “oh it’s just his girlfriend who kinda just follows him round all the time” and stuff. So it’s just.. like the things like “people assume I’m the assistant” or that kind of stuff.

Chloe (Listen):
It is interesting. I haven’t really had direct experience with any harassment or anything. It’s just the subtle misogyny and even – like yesterday I was talking about on the panel – the internalised misogyny of older women in the music industry where it’s competitive for them. Which is interesting and annoying to deal with (laughs).

Emma:
Yeah I kinda get it too because they really had to struggle to get there and we’ve come up with a bit more of an accepting society so we’ve had it a little bit easier but it feels like a threat to them. Whereas we’re like “no but, we’re all –”

Chloe (Listen):
“We’re in this together!”

Emma:
“We’re embracing women now and we’re trying to do this thing!” I understand that a lot of them would feel that way but they obviously are not trying to be that way. It’s just that ingrained thing. And it’s the same with that guy on the phone calling you sweetheart and condescendingly talking to you. It’s like I don’t think they’re actively trying to be cunts – it’s that subconscious setting.

Chloe (Listen):
Yep! And then if you call them out and it can go one of two ways. They’ll either be like “Oh yeah sorry, I get that… my bad” or they’ll be like “oohh you’re a drama queen aren’t you? You’re getting a bit emotional. Calm down!” and it’s like… fuck you…

Emma:
(laughs)

Chloe (Listen):
Yeah it’s hard.

Emma:
So what are the goals for LISTEN – the big overall umbrella goals?

Chloe (Listen):
So I guess one of the main actions from starting out was to publish a book in response to that other book. So documenting female and GNC, queer and marginalised groups in the Australian music industry. Their stories, interviews. Documenting our own history. But at the moment it’s just heaps publishing heaps of stuff on the website; essays, articles, interviews, anything. Anything to do with music and feminism… gender. And I guess once we get enough we’ll apply for some grants and try and get a book thing happening. That’s going to be Evelyn’s thing.

Emma:
Rad.

Chloe (Listen):
The Conference is going well. So that’s another project that’s sprung up. We’ve got some grant funding this year. We’ve got two keynote speakers! We’ve got Clem Ford.

Emma:
Wicked!

Chloe (Listen):
And Darkmatter. Have you heard of Darkmatter?

Emma:
No!

Chloe (Listen):
So they are a trans duo from the US. We’re bringing one of them out and they’re just amazing. They do poetry performances. And just work a lot on discussing issues of trans people and people of colour and feminism and gender and stuff. So it’s not specific to music but it’s good to bring that in to the arts for a lot of people who may not have come across that before. And then we’ve announce 51 speakers a few weeks ago! So there’s going to be lots of panels on things like call-out culture and confidence, and race and sexism within music. There’s a lot!

Emma:
Yeah it sounds awesome – sounds massive!

Chloe (Listen):
Then there’s 3 nights of entertainment as well. So it’s 3 days of panels, keynotes and… it’s like a mini BIGSOUND but with no clashes!

Emma:
Okay good!

Chloe (Listen):
So instead of 3 things happening at once there is just one thing happening all the time.

Emma:
Ahh we have a music conference in New Zealand, it happens the weekend before this. They do they too – they try to make nothing clash with the showcase.

Chloe (Listen):
Same with us! It’s not competitive then, it’s just chill.