Pop punk has undergone a bit of a resurgence over the last few years – it’s hard not to ignore the exposure that bands like Masked Intruder and Teenage Bottlerocket are getting, as well as the amount of smaller bands making waves below the radar.
Iowa’s Lipstick Homicide are one such band. Having released their second album, ‘Out Utero’, earlier this year, the three-piece are turning heads with their infectious vocals and mixture of sugar coated melodies and attitude.
We caught up with bass player and vocalist Rachel Feldmann, who gave us an insight into the band’s lyrics and songwriting process, her thoughts on the state of the ‘pop punk scene’ and who they would most like to tour with.
Give us a bit of background to the band – how, when and why did you start?
We started our band when we were in high school because we wanted to rock. I met this girl named Kate Kane and we both really liked Josie and the Pussycats, Green Day and the Distillers so we decided to play music together. Our drummer Luke came along at some point. It was all downhill from there.
What’s the story behind the band name?
There’s not much of a story. We thought of it when we were 16-year-olds. We thought it sounded cool and punk, like Bikini Kill or something. We mixed a feminine word with a violent word. The name kind of stuck, but we don’t support homicides of any kind.
What kind of topics do you like to explore with your lyrics? Are there any songs that stand out that are particularly meaningful to you?
I usually write about my own personal experiences, I’ve also written songs from other people’s perspectives, and songs that are just random thoughts put together because I had a melody in my head. I think people can make their own meanings to our lyrics. Some of my favourites to sing are “Bite My Tongue” and “Who Stole Molly’s Bike”, because they help me get all the “fuck you”s out of my system. I write too many pissed off songs.
There are a lot of bands within the pop punk genre with female vocalists at the moment – Chumped, Jabber, Mixtapes and Candy Hearts to name a few. Do you think it’s important for the genre or do you think it’s something that doesn’t need to be highlighted at all?
There are definitely lots of great bands with females in them happening right now. If anything, more bands with girls in them should be highlighted. I think it’s important to be getting to a point where women aren’t considered the minority in punk and bands with girls in them aren’t looked at as a novelty. Boys, Rational Anthem, The Turkletons, Bad Cop/Bad Cop and Benny the Jet Rodriguez are some great pop punk bands with female singers that I would recommend to everybody.
What do you think about the state of the pop punk genre as a whole?
There’s a good handful of active pop punk bands that inspire me to write and go to shows and have fun. Bands like Masked Intruder, Rational Anthem, the Murderburgers, Boys, The Headies, Jabber, Wringer and The Turkletons. Those bands are doing it right, in my opinion. Pop Punk is obviously a pretty broad term nowadays, but I prefer the kind that’s simple and fun and catchy. I think pop punk bands should try harder to not sound the same as every other pop punk band. That’s what we try to do. Oh, and less half-time break downs and dance beats. Another thing that would be really good for the state of pop punk is another Dear Landlord album.
How do you go about the songwriting process? Are you the kind of band that can come to a practice with just an idea and have a full song an hour later, or do the songs take weeks to perfect?
Usually the person who writes the song (me or Kate) will bring a nearly finished song to band practice and teach it to the other two. Then we all work together to arrange the instrumental parts and vocal harmonies and stuff. It usually takes a few practices for us to get a song sounding right, depending on the song. Some songs click right away and others we have to work at a bit more. A lot of times we’ll change arrangements of songs a few times before we find with the right one.
How hard do you think it is, mentally, to be in a band? That is, sharing a personal creative output and spending a lot of time together.
Spending lots of time together isn’t that big of a deal to us, the three of us have all lived together for several years and we practice at our house. We’ve also known each other and played music together for almost 10 years, ever since we first picked up our instruments. So we’ve kind of figured out how to work with each other really well, and we’re all on the same page as far as the music we want to play and the places we want to take our band. I can definitely stress myself out mentally about band stuff though. Thinking I’m not writing good enough songs or booking enough shows. Sometimes my bandmates have to tell me to chill the fuck out. We try to set realistic goals for ourselves, and go for them.
You’re touring the UK later in the year. Have you been before? What are you expecting/hoping for? Are there any places you’re particularly excited to visit?
Yes, we’re beyond excited! None of us have ever been overseas and we can’t wait. We’re looking forward to visiting all the countries we’ve got lined up, we know Book Yer Ane Fest in Scotland will be great. We’re looking forward to meeting a lot of new friends!
If you could tour with any two bands in the world, who would they be and why?
Probably either Miley Cyrus, because ‘We Can’t Stop’ is my favourite song, or the Muffs because they’re the Muffs and they’re awesome.
What one thing couldn’t you live without on tour?
Caffeine. In soda pop form.
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
Touring to Fest in Gainesville, FL, touring to Europe, working on new songs, and whatever else might pop up!
– Andrew Cream
Pick up Lipstick Homicide’s latest album at http://bloatedkat.storenvy.com/