“The top, in my opinion, is inspiring others, or maybe just making them feel something through your art.”Greg Babinski (The Lipstick Junkies)
The fun and quirky The Lipstick Junkies are gearing up to release the first of their four part series. The first of the series, the EP The Lioness Volume, is set to hit the airwaves November 18th. The Lipstick Junkies’ vocalist Greg Babinski took some time to answer some of my questions about his history with music, the idea behind the four part series, and his philosophies about life and success.
Who does your band consist of?
Brian Davis (bass), Hayden French (guitar), JR Tomlinson (drums) and I’m Greg Babinski (vocals, guitar).
How did you and your band meet?
Greg: I met Brian and JR met in high school, and later met Hayden at work.
Has music always been a big part of your life?
Greg: Not entirely, I came to really enjoy it when I was around 13 and didn’t start playing any instruments until a couple years after that.
Do you remember your first experience with music? What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Greg: I remember listening to “Just What I Needed” by the Cars and thinking to myself that there’d be nothing else I’d rather accomplish. I have yet to ever perform that song, though that was among the first moments that I knew I wanted to play music.
How did you become involved in the type of music you play/sing now?
Greg: I wasn’t very good at playing guitar at first, and I just found it easier to write songs to be honest. I was already writing a lot of poetry which doubled as lyrics. Brian and I were great friends, and he was already in another band, so once I got good enough to keep up with him (debatable), we just started writing and playing together and things have just evolved from there.
Your music is known to blend a couple of different music genres. How would you describe your music for the public audience?
Greg: The short answer is alternative. To take the long way around though, let me start with the fact that we never put a label on whatever genre we are, we just try to write the best thing we can and try to call it something afterwards. Also, genres are often inadequate in their depth and meaning; what is indie or alternative or pop anyways? Right now we are going with the “alternative” moniker, mostly because of the bands we feel we fit with share that space. We’ve gotten indie/funk and post-funk and funk/rock, which are interesting too.
You seem to have gained a reputation for your energetic and fun live shows. Would you rather play live performances or be in the studio?
Greg: That answer might be different for each member, but ultimately both are fun and important. Personally the creative ventures of recording are more my speed.
What type of fan base do you have?
Greg: Right now, a very personal one. I don’t think we’ve had enough exposure to fit into a niche or demographic specifically, but we are friendly, for the most part, and we know almost all the people who come out to support us. Sometimes friends who we’ve known before, other times its people who were fans first that we’ve become friends with.
What do you think your greatest accomplishment has been so far in your musical career?
Greg: The ultimate accomplishment for us is to have an impact on somebody’s life. Maybe they are inspired to start playing music, or maybe our music becomes personal to them. It’s happened a couple times already, and hopefully a lot more in the future. It’s about passing on what music gave to us.
What are your songs about and what general themes do they talk about? Why do you choose to focus on these themes? Are there any stories surrounding your songs that you’d care to share? Does anyone in particular influence you?
Greg: Lyrically, I always write for balance. I try to be real and wear my heart on my sleeve, but while trying to avoid being esoteric. I’m still coming from an experiential place, the things that I think and feel, but not limiting it to that. Also, I believe that there are a lot of cues and conventions within a particular song or style that you should pay attention to as a lyricist. Some words or phrases blend in, or are presumed to be meaningless. Others stick out. It’s really about playing with those conventions for me, and that’s really how I try to take a song from my personal experience into a more general thought. For example, many (if not most) songs are about love in some capacity, and it’s an interesting nexus of feelings, ideas and metaphors. It’s, therefore, the easiest disguise. To make a long story short(ish), I try to let the audience choose their level of involvement and, hopefully, the more you want out of the lyrics, the more you get out of them.
Your latest endeavour seems interesting. Could you tell us more about your upcoming 4-part series?
Greg: It’s been a natural step for us, our EP prior to this was initiated by other people (managers, producers, etc.), and was done in a way that focused on recording singles as they were. We’re always looking to improve so it forced an equal and opposite reaction in that we wanted to record with the goal of making a cohesive playlist or story, and we wanted to start by doing it ourselves. By expanding the scope beyond purely singles it gives us room for music beyond singles, that is to say we have a whole bunch of songs and ideas that we want to craft into different Volumes.
What has been the biggest challenge for you or the group?
Greg: There’s a ton of challenges, anything worthwhile will have them. Balancing work and your personal life, finances, defining success and having time all come to mind, but really it comes down to how you deal with them.
Music tends to appeal to everyone, young and old. Do you have any advice for the youth of today?
Greg: I’m definitely not qualified to give any advice like that, but maybe we could all take some advice from them every once in a while.
Do you have other interests or talents you would like to share with us? What do you do with your time away from music?
Greg: Really, nothing too out of the ordinary. Sports, Pokémon, hanging out with friends, work, school. We also practice other arts, writing or drawing or something.
As an artist, is there anything special you hope to be able to accomplish?
Greg: The top, in my opinion, is inspiring others, or maybe just making them feel something through your art. It’d be pretty damn nice not to have to work another job though.