Wet Lips have been gracing Melbourne's most celebrated scuzzy music venues since 2012 with their fresh take on punk and power pop, earning themselves a reputation for being loud, proud, important, empowering voices in the garage scene as we know it today. The Push spoke to Wet Lips about their past, present and future as a band, and what we can expect from them in 2016...
What’s the story of Wet Lips? How did you all meet and decide to start a band together?
Well, Jenny and Grace met in college and after a night at the Workers’ Club, decided to start a punk band. After moving in together in a house in East Brunswick, we met Mohini through our friend and housemate Matt, who happened to want to be a drummer in a band! We started jamming in the lounge room and started playing shows after about six months, when we were still very green. We played a lot of shows that fell apart on stage completely. Our equipment would break, we would forget how the song went or we’d just go totally out of time with one another to the point where we weren’t really playing the same song any more. This was a hugely valuable experience for us and is a big part of the band’s ethos. Nobody really cares if you play the song perfectly so long as you’re confident and having a good time. So if we screw up we just shout ‘WE ARE THE BEST’ and move on.
What are your band’s musical influences? Have they evolved at all from when you first started out?
We have always gone to see a lot of local bands together and they have really influenced our sound and the way we think about music. Our biggest influences/favourite bands from the past few years are Terrible Truths, The Pink Tiles, Deafwish, Deep Heat, Gooch Palms and Loose Tooth. We’re also really into bands from the states, particularly the scene in Oakland California including Shannon and the Clams, Nobunny, Hunx and his Punx, plus Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees.
What are your favourite things about being in a band?
We really love hanging out together and complaining about everything for hours before we rehearse and then rehearsing for 20 minutes and then needing to have a cup of tea and some 2 minute noodles and a nice rest before we get back into it. We also like watching 80s movies together over a gourmet Curly Joe’s pizza to get ideas for costumes. Obviously it’s the best feeling when we play a really good show to a great bunch of people but we also love seeing sick new bands and making friends with them.
Any collective pet hates?
People who call us a girl band.
When you’re not writing songs together and making music, what would you ordinarily be doing and listening to?
Usually we just cruise around in our limo and expensive faux fur coats (‘cause we heart animals) burning up the millions of $$ we make from being the best band ever…
Nahhhhh. Mohini plays in two other incredible bands; Habits and Mollusc. Grace and Jenny do serious uni stuff. Grace studies Professional Communication because she is boss as. Jenny is writing an honours thesis about how terrible angry men left alone on the internet can be.
Wet Lips have organised and curated one of Melbourne’s newest and coolest mini festivals ‘WET FEST’ which saw its second year at The Tote this past January. It’s already been referred to as the best gig of 2016 by many notable punters. Can you tell us more about how you came up with the idea, and why you think it’s been such a success so far?
WETFEST I was a big party we had with six bands in our backyard to launch our first EP Wet is Best in March 2014. It was so much fun! Late in 2015 we decided we wanted to put on another WETFEST in an actual venue so that we could have more bands, a better PA and we wouldn’t have to clean up a million bottles the next day. We just booked local bands that we really like and then worked really hard on promoting it and making is as big as we could. It helped that Ashely Ronning designed an awesome poster and heaps of legends had us on their radio shows or plugged it on their websites or shared it on social media. When it sold out at 6.30pm on the night, we were so stoked. Everyone pitched in and made it a great day, from the artists on stage to the people in the audience to Grace’s sister who brought $40 worth of hot chips and potato cakes to feed us and our mates. It was also the first time we’ve seen people dancing until 2am at the Tote, thanks to the excellent work of DJ Emoceans.
Women and non-binary people have been ignored on festival line-ups for so long and there are still plenty of local festivals that continue to book male-dominated line-ups and then make pathetic excuses about there not being enough female-dominated bands to ask or no one saying yes to a specific date. WETFEST II proves that female-dominated line-ups are popular and will sell-out venues. We believe that a lot of the success of the event comes from women seeing themselves reflected on stage and feeling included in the community.
If you could pick one band to go on tour with, who would it be and why?
Sleater-Kinney. They are the best. Duh.
What’s the plan for Wet Lips in 2016? What will you be doing or working on?
We are taking a couple of months off playing shows to write and record our first album, which we hope will be out by the end of the year. We’re doing a couple of radio interviews for International Women’s Day on March 8 and have just shot a sick clip for Balcony TV which will be out in early March too!