In Conversation with The Lipstick Junkies

The Lipstick Junkies are an alternative funk trio from Toronto that produces tracks so rich in musical ingenuity and lyrical cleverness that they intrigue the smartest music listeners while still being fun and danceable. The band is now working on a new EP called New Lingo and have just released a yummy single from it called “Boogie Everywhere”(listen here).

The Lipstick Junkies have been performing in southern Ontario and Montreal and have appeared at Canadian Music Week, Indie Week, and Ryerson Radio. The band is Brian Davis on bass, Jr. Tomlinson on drums, and Greg Babinski on guitar and lead vocals. Recently they answered Wanda Waterman’s questions about their backgrounds, experiences, and motivators.

Music: A Coming of Age
We all started as fans of music, but something changed and drew us each to our respective instruments. For us, music represents something of a coming of age. It kept us on a path throughout our youth, something we knew we wanted to hone. That quest continues to keep us out of trouble to this day; no matter what happens in our lives we have an outlet and a purpose.

we’re Our Own Best Mentors
Although we’ve had many great teachers, we’re our own best mentors. We’ve grown up together as both people and as musicians. We constantly challenge ourselves and each other to be better by thinking critically about what we know and what we’ve learned. All the advice and analysis we get is worth exploring, but no matter how much information you get someone will have to sit down with you and help you integrate and apply it. Having that patience and belief in each other is irreplaceable.

Deep Experience
To this day we’ve yet to see anything more mesmerizing than a Dave Matthews Band concert. Their level of musicianship is incredible.

Delving Into the Ridiculous
Our daily lives are filled with funny and bizarre things. Honestly, we probably haven’t had a recording session or live event or even band practice without delving into the ridiculous. To put it into context: We text each other backwards, we make up our own words. We even write songs called “Meow From Mars” or “Raptor Squad.”

That being said, we’ll take this time to tell you about something we call “studio fever.” It’s a lot like cabin fever; after a certain length of time in the studio we start to go a bit crazy. All of a sudden everything is hilarious; we all laugh a little harder and a little longer. Without telling any specific stories or throwing anyone under the bus we’ll just leave it at this. We definitely like to keep a light atmosphere and have a good time.

Deliciously Danceable
Dancing may seem like something you do with your body, but It’s really more representative of how You’re feeling. Rare is the person who dances while in a bad mood. Everyone can groove to a beat, so if people are dancing it means we’re doing our job and making people feel good.

On Covering Songs
A lot of bands will start by learning some covers to get a feel for each other and then start creating their own songs. For us It’s always been the other way around. At this point there are three criteria in choosing a cover: Do people know it, do we like it, and can we do it justice? we’re always looking for new covers to add to our repertoire, but to this day our two best are September by Earth Wind and Fire and I by Kendrick Lamar.

On Toronto
Toronto is a great city and the place we all call home. We’ve also made a lot of good friends and collaborators here, but It’s hard to say that it really enhances our creativity. we’re internally motivated in that way; inspiration can be anywhere if you listen, and no matter what you hear it will always emanate from you. Creativity will always come from your heart and your head.

The New EP
It had been almost a year since we released our self-titled debut album when Al Connelly of Glass Tiger approached us about recording something. We had roughly a half dozen new songs finished by then, so not enough for another album, but it was an exciting idea. We narrowed it down to three and called it an EP.

We named it New Lingo after a lyric in the song “Boogie Everywhere” because it represented the things we liked best about the project. Being our second release as TLJ, this EP was our first re-definition, our first chance to expand and explore our initial thesis. It’s a new way of describing the ideas that make us who we are. It also represents our musical strategy; sticking to old-school fundamentals and styles but adding our own new twist. We really got to live out that idea by recording with some living legends in Sam Reid, Al Connelly, and Dennis Tougas.

The Band Name
We were initially a six-piece band, but after our previous members left we realized we had embarked on a completely new project, one that didn’t have a name. We were searching for a few months without finding anything that stuck when a wise man told us that our name didn’t matter, so long as it wasn’t The Small Dick Men. We heard our name in a lyric of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song and we didn’t hate it after two weeks, so we stuck with it.

If your band’s life were a movie, what kinds of scenes would fill it?
The things we’d be most excited to see would be all of our “imagine ifs . . . ” getting their own fantasy cut-aways. Like, imagine if we owned a pizzeria and in our commercial we were playing guitars that shot lasers that could turn people into cats or if this whole time we’ve known each other I was planning an elaborate heist to steal that $10 from you, etc. Other than that it’d be pretty boring; we’d just be practicing a lot.

What conditions do you require in your life in order to go on being creative?
The desire to do it. Time and money and space to practice are all important, but those are external forces that you can work around if you have the will to. It’d be nice to quit our jobs and be above the poverty line though.

Feeding the Muse
We like pretty much everything, and we love to analyze it and talk about what we like or dislike about it. We love comics and movies and sports and science and philosophy and hip-hop and musicals and fashion and so on. There are ways and places where they all intersect and there are lessons to be learned from all of them.

Artistic Mission Statement
We try to create music for people from all walks of life, something beyond any style, something timeless.

Wanda also writes the blog The Mindful Bard:The Care and Feeding of the Creative Self.

%d bloggers like this: