Why to form an all-female rock band? Was it the idea since the beginning or was just casualty?
Louise “Gore” Gorman (LG) – Although I was not part of the original line up which decided to be an all-girl band, I very much enjoy the comfort dynamic working with these ladies. I feel like certain communication disturbances are eliminated with all of us being girls.
Tazz-O (TM) – I first heard of JL via Facebook when Luci contacted me and asked if I’d like to come and audition. I did and the rest is history. I’ll let her tell you the rest because she started JL
Lucinda Villain (LV) – Initially we were just a bunch of girls wanting a hobby while our boys were jamming in their bands and being inspired by the Runaways. But as the line-up changed and the music started to become the main focus, it also became obvious with the current line-up that we want to be an all-female band for practical purposes. To me it’s great to be able to jam twice a week with my 3 best friends, talking about sex, periods, moods and other girly things. With a guy in the band, it would just be awkward.
Do you think that being an all-female band makes it easier to catch media attention or the opposite; you have to work harder to demonstrate it’s all about serious and skilled music.
LV – I think it’s a little of both. The media will only give you attention because of the all-female component and not your music which really bothers me. On the other hand we have to work a lot harder to get recognition from our peers for our music and to not be seen as a gimmick band. I always hope that people focus on the music and form their opinions based on that and not the sex of the band.
TM – It’s a catch 22. Initially a lot of attention comes with that status but heavy critisim follows shortly thereafter. Some people feel that we get given things far too easily and that we haven’t “earned our place in the scene”, whatever that means. There have also been all female acts or singers who have made it extremely hard for the people who are earnest because of their behaviour. We carry on and make music in spite of all this. We all work very hard at our chosen craft. I’ve studied music, specifically singing. I have my grade 8 in classical voice and yet certain people still publish “reviews” slating our skill which is absolute bollocks. But such is life, you can’t please everyone.
LG – Yes there is definitely two ways to look at it. In South Africa, all-girl bands are rare and it is usually that element which draws the attention to our band. I’m not sure why so many regard this as a gimmick. We’re just people who like to make music.
Is there any all-female rock/metal band in the world worth to be taken as a sample to follow, any of them you’d like to share the stage with (even if they disbanded)?
LV – There are many! Personally it would be an honour for me to share the stage with Nervosa, Crucified Barbara and the Distillers.
LG – I really enjoy a band Luci introduced me to called Valhalla.
TM – There are a lot of female singers in metal who I follow such as Doro, Tarja Turunen and Angela Gossow. In terms of all female bands, I still really like Kittie.They’ve also grown and progressed so much from when they first started in 2000. Morgan Lander is a great vocalist.
You’ve got a new EP, “The Butcher’s Delight”. What would you say about it for people to give it a try?
TM – Our EP heavier than “Hellbent” and our sound is darker.
LG – I think our blend of music is unique. There’s honestly nothing I could compare it to. So if you’re a bit bored of music sounding so similar to something else, our sound could appeal to you.
LV – To current listeners and people who are familiar with Junkyard Lipstick, listen to it because you will see our band’s progress and how much heavier it has become. It’s completely different to our debut album “Hellbent”. To new listeners, give it a listen because it’s a good balance of thrashing fun and head banging goodness.
If I did it myself, I’d say it’s a great album, from the school of the first Anthrax, featuring this great combination of thrash and metal melody. Which are your main influences and how they’ve affected to your sound?
LV – Each band member has a different list of influences which I think makes us original and stand out from the bands out there. Personally, my influences include a wide spectrum of punk, cross over and thrash bands. My main influences are Slayer, Exodus, Anthrax, Sepultura, GBH and The Exploited but the list always expands and we’ll be here forever if I have to mention all of them.
TM – Thanks, glad you like it. Vocally, I had no previous knowledge of thrash vocals as I specialized in classical and jazz. I spent a great deal of time listening to the style of thrash vocals, Luci helped with that. I did some Melissa Cross tutorials because I wanted to add gritty vocals but I also had to make sure it was done properly. I spent time developing the correct technique and making the sound my own. I also threw in some operatic singing as that is my first love. I think it works well.
LG – Our band members’ musical tastes vary so much. This has led me to appreciate different kinds of music I never listened to before. Although there might be hints of black metal in my guitar riffs, our music definitely does not take this on as an influence. I think our overall sound is influenced by bands such as Metallica, Pantera, Anthrax, Exodus, Megadeth and Death Angel.
In comparison with “Hellbent” you are getting faster and faster, “Bioterror” or “Size Zero Death Match” would break some speed radars. Do you sat to think of the direction to take or it’s just a natural evolution?
LV – It’s a combination. Being as influenced by thrash and punk as I am, from a drumming perspective it was important for me to work on my speed for this release. The natural evolution of our sound is the result of each one of us pushing each other to do things we struggle with, new things we’ve learnt and the will to be a heavier sounding band. When we write songs we’re really open to a lot of ideas and prefer not to follow a specific formula to fit into a genre box.
LG – To me it’s been a natural evolution. None of us started out as accomplished musicians. The progression from Hellbent to The Butcher’s Delight is the result of our learning journey so far.
TM – *Laughs* Yea, we have become rather fast! I’ve had to practice tongue twisters in order to keep up. We didn’t really make a conscious decision to play faster, it was very much a natural evolution.
“House Of The Holy” choirs are a kind of weird and scary, they make such an impact together with Tazz screams. What’s all about?
LG – Well the song is about religious people making judgements when they are being total assholes. The choir sound represents something you would hear in a church choir and the scream represents the anger and frustration people experience caused by this religious behaviour.
TM – Thanks. The idea of putting in choral singing in “House of the Holy” came from traditional church hymns that are sung in Sunday service. I grew up in a religious community and I had to sing a lot of hymns at Sunday service. The screams/growls express the emotions really felt on the inside. When we were arranging the song, I brought some of those progressions in. We think it worked really well and highlighted the theme of the song.
LV – House of the Holy is a song which calls out religious hypocrites. As metal heads, we’ve all been judged sometime in our lives about the music we listen to. Here in South Africa, we have a very conservative society and a lot (not all of course) are the type to get drunk on a Saturday and sit on church on a Sunday. Their narrow minded views are really frustrating. If you wear only black, you’re the devil; if you listen to anything other than commercial pop music and it happens to be rock or metal, you’re the devil. We’ve even had Devildriver cancel their tour here and some extremists have called Lady Gaga Satan. The choir bit emphasises and makes it obvious what the song is about. Plus Tazz is a trained opera singer so she got to showcase a side of her vocals she has not before.
What’s enjoyable from “The Butcher’s Delight” is that there are many ways to listen to it. If you just let the music go and stay in the surface, it’s a great piece of thrash to start headbanging. But as much as you listen to it you can go very deep into the musical details, and there are many of them. As I drummer myself I have to say Lucinda’s drum work is amazing. What do you prioritize in a song while composing it?
LG – Lucinda constantly pushes herself which is great. She can be a bit hard on herself at times and I have to remind her to realise how much she has progressed in such a short space of time. Lucinda and I usually get together to lay down the basis for our songs. House of the Holy was a bit different though. I recorded a rough take on my own in Cubase. Stuck all the riffs I had come up with in an order I thought which flowed well. I then took it to Lucinda to have a listen. I suppose each song it different. Size Zero and Dina were built around riffs Jacky came up with. Bioterror, The Butcher’s Delight and Protest & Pudding were built around Luci’s drums.
LV – Wow, thanks so much for the compliments. Damn I get awkward when this happens and I am blushing while typing this LOL. We don’t really prioritize anything. Louise and I get together, especially during the winter months, and we have these super productive sessions. We try to incorporate new drum beats I’ve learned and riffs Louise has come up with. Sometimes we look at lyrics I wrote and see if we can get a feel for the music that will fit the lyrics best. That was the case with “Protest and Pudding”. Other times Jacky comes up with the most insane bass lines and we go from there. It’s pretty much a “go with the flow” process and then refining it once we are all happy with the structure and melodies. For future songs we definitely want to write even heavier and faster material. What we’ve learned from this EP is that our thirst for playing metal cannot be quenched.
TM – Luci is awesome! We’re blessed to have her as a drummer. I think it varies, sometimes Louise or Jacky will come up with a riff and we’ll work around that or Luci will have a drum piece that she wrote a song to. I sometimes bring lyrics or a vocal melody and we work around that. So yea,it always changes.
The artwork is amazing. Tell us about it and it’s relation to the title album.
LV – The artwork was done by an amazing artist called Minette de Beer whom is based in Gauteng, here in South Africa. The title of the EP and the track was inspired by Hannibal Lecter. We did not want an obvious reference to Hannibal but still wanted something gorey and Minette did that with such a great feminine touch.
And what about the first reactions to your new EP release, are you happy with them?
LV – We’ve had a few reviews and we got some good feedback and constructive criticism. When you play in a band you cannot feed the trolls, but you should also be a sponge and absorb all the advice/feedback you get. To me, it’s always important to remain humble and I believe that I am only at the start of my drumming journey and we have so much potential if we stick it through and work as hard as we do. People are recognizing now that we are a metal band, a perception we’ve been trying to change for about 2 years now and I think this EP proves that. Internationally we’ve had quite a few sales, especially from the USA.
TM – Absolutely! I love the fact that it was released before the launch date and so many people ordered it online.
LG – We’ve had some good reviews. People who know about us are recognising our improvement and most reviews are recognising Tanya’s vocal range and diversity.
Now that the number of copies sold from a CD is not a good parameter to evaluate an album success, how will you measure “The Butcher’s Delight” impact?
LV – It’s really difficult to establish “success” due to piracy and lack of sales. People hardly buy physical copies of CD’s so we have used platforms like Bandcamp to promote our music. I do not have an issue with piracy though at all, someone thought we were good enough to pirate which is actually a compliment LOL. Every sale we get, whether it’s for our debut album or our EP, I am grateful for because that person was willing to spend their hard earned cash on our music.
We are planning to send the EP to record companies to see what the reaction will be from the professionals.
You’ve played it live, as in RAMfest. How was the crowd reaction to your new material?
LV – We had a mosh pit and played to a pretty decent crowd! We’ve been playing our new material for the last few months and people really like “House of the Holy”. The groove of “Dina” seems to get to people too. We had a few giveaways during our set and Ramfest and some dude took the girly vest and put it on there and then. Tanya also managed to spit on someone and even though people might think “gross”, I thought that was punk as fuck.
TM – We actually recorded our entire performance at Ramfest so that we could answer this accurately. From the crowd response, a lot of people loved it, they were head banging, cheering and moshing. That says enough to me.
What’s the next step in Junkyard Lipstick’s agenda?
TM – We are going to continue writing new material and developing our sound.
LG – I am looking forward to learning new things and writing more challenging material.
LV – Promoting the hell out of our EP, making contact with record companies and festival organizers for 2015 European festivals and of course writing even more new material. South Africa also partakes in the Battle for Wacken and hopefully we’ll get into the preliminaries. I would love for us to tour locally again to Durban and Johannesburg.
And which are your goals, when will you feel completely realised as a band?
TM – If we could do an international festival, that would be great.
LG – That’s such a tough one. I suppose an international festival.
LV – When I play a European festival I think we would feel complete but then I know myself and I’m quite ambitious so the goal posts always changes once we’ve reached goals. Even though we are driven to succeed, I feel the most important thing for us to have as much fun along the way.
Thank you for your time, a message to the readers?
TM – Thank you for reading our interview and supporting our music! You make it worthwhile.
LV – Check out our latest EP, buy it if you like and remember “It’s the size of your heart, not the length of your hair” – Suicidal Tendencies’ Join the Army