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

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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!

The Runaways Live Good For A Girl Girl Bands

Girl Bands are Fucking Cool

Do you know what’s really fucking cool? Girl bands.

I was reading an article today about the history of women in rock,  which gets down to the point of the late 20th century where women started finding their voice more in rock in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and it quotes Chrissie Hynde (lead singer of The Pretenders) as saying “I’m glad there’s a lot of babes doing this shit [now], because it’s kind of lonely out there”, which made me think about my own position in an all-male-band-except-me and how most often we only get to play shows with all-male-bands.

And yeah, when I think about it, it does get lonely out there. I don’t mind hanging with the dudes, and given my history of playing music with almost exclusively men, if anything I’m geared towards it.

It made me begin to imagine how different the dynamic would be if my whole band was women, though.

It would be so awesome to all get ready for a gig together, talking about girl stuff (farts, poos and period problems), while doing our hair and warming up our instruments before a show.

What Decades’ music would sound like if we were all women? Weirdly I think it would be harder and faster, angrier and more political, with a fucktonne more hair (and boobs).

Decades Good For A Girl Girl Bands

WordPress auto-loaded in this caption for me: “Three girls playing the guitar, isolated on white background.” Yes, that’s EXACTLY what’s happening here. PS: This is barely even relevant, I should be in the image too if it’s of Decades as a girl band, but just the idea took me and I spent like 20 minutes on it and it’s so fucking funny so it’s in my blog. That’s how I roll.

The feminine energy of girl bands is so distinguishable. I find it hard to define, but there is something so very special about girl bands, and I’m only just at the tip of discovering what that is for me.

Here are 3 girl bands that have touched my psyche and subliminally influenced my development and perspective as a woman in rock music throughout my life.

 

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1. The Runaways

An obvious choice, the ladies in The Runaways blazed the way for women in modern rock music after launching their estrogen-filled punk tunes on to the world in the late 70s.

The Runaways Good For A Girl Girl Bands

My first touch point with The Runaways was via Joan Jett‘s song “I Love Rock and Roll” – which my Dad showed to me after Britney Spears released her sparkly cover of it to a 11-year-old pop sprogget Emma.

“Listen to the real thing”

Thank god for Dads.

 

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2. The Donnas

Sometimes I really fuck myself off. I remember when The Donnas released Fall Behind Me in 2005 and I LOVED IT. I was about 15 and it was around the time I wanted to start a band. Seeing these ladies rocking out on C4 (or whatever the fuck music TV was then) had a huge impact on me.

They were playing RIFFS. The song was COOL. They had PRETTY HAIR.

The Donnas Good For A Girl Girl Bands

It literally said to me: you are a girl and you can actually do this rock band thing while being a girl!!

But I never bought their albums or followed their career at all? I don’t know what is wrong with me (cough teenage malleable attention influenced by the societal hivemind men = better cough)

 

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3. Warpaint

In a time where I was feeling my most overwhelmed by the more negative impacts of our cultures stereotypical femininity (I was hairdressing, which for me meant everything around me was image focussed, judgemental, pop music, not-a-hair-out-of-place-or-you’re-gross sorta vibe), Warpaint called to be in their soft, dreamy, modern hippy female rock vibes from the TV screen in the salon.

I had no idea what C4 was doing playing this amongst the glitz and glamour of the Top 20, but it was so fucking refreshing, and I became obsessed with this track, and bought the album immediately.

Warpaint Good For A Girl Gil Bands

They have this effortlessly cool, don’t-give-a-fuck essence oozing out of all of them which feels really empowering in this modern age where a lot of women in music still feel the pressures of caking on the make up and wearing the tight clothing.

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I’d also like to give local band Blue Ruin a shout out – a kick-ass modern all girl punk band from Auckland. I haven’t seen them live yet,  but I hope they continue and I’m looking forward to checking out some releases by them.

Blue Ruin NZ Band Good For A Girl Girl Bands

The girls in Blue Ruin with Cherie Curry from The Runaways earlier this year when they opened for her.

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I’d love to know what girl bands you’re in to, please comment and link to the ones you dig in the comments!

I have another ask, since I’m finding it hard to articulate describing the unique vibe of girls bands. How you would describe the energy of girl bands? I would love to make some social media posts quoting your descriptions. That are better than mine.

So comment those below as well, and I might just share yours.
(and feel at-rest in my soul that I now have an accurate description of my feelings via you).