South Africa is perhaps not the first place you think of when you go looking for new metal bands to discover but JUNKJYARD LIPSTICK come from as far as possible with a sound well worth checking out. Answered by Lucinda Villain (Drummer). ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
Could you give us a short intro into the world of JUNKYARD LIPSTICK?
-The band was formed by myself and a few other awesome ladies in 2011. It was originally a punk band. After 2 line-up changes in 2012 and 2014, we have finally settled into a line up of members that makes up a good, solid package. With every change, the direction of the band’s music has changed. The sound has evolved and we are happy to be a full on all female thrash band.
How hard was it to decide on a name that you all agreed on? What is a Junkyard Lipstick?
-When we formed the band, we had numerous brainstorming sessions to find a good name. We were looking for something rough & rugged but with a feminine touch. We settled on Junkyard Lipstick as we felt it represented just that. If you look at it literally though, it’s a bit disgusting because who would want to use a thrown away lipstick found in a junkyard?
I guess that there are a ton of metal bands in South Africa but we on the outside don’t get to hear of them. Why is it so hard for South African bands to make it internationally?
-We have extremely limited resources and support from mainstream media in South Africa. Resources to tour, record and promote is limited as our unemployment rate is extremely high and it is an understanding in South Africa, that playing full time in a metal band is only a hobby and not a career, even though most of us would love to do just that. Well-paying gigs are few and far between and most big festivals that are played are mostly for exposure. Junkyard Lipstick has put a lot of effort and time behind the scene to create a brand and a good reputation for being well organized and professional, and it is paying off to some degree.
What is the South African metal scene like? What is the most popular style of metal right now?
-The scene is evolving and growing thanks to institutions like Metal4Africa, Emalyth and Witchdoctor Productions that organize well-attended gigs and festivals. We actually have a lot of bands here. Sometimes it feels like there are more bands than fans. The most popular subgenre to play here is definitely death metal and metalcore. The South African crowd loves their metal really heavy. Venues are few and far between so you do play the same places and to the same crowds often.
There are not many thrash bands at all and I can count them on both my hands. After attending to Graspop in 2012, I realized that there’s a huge thrash revival movement overseas and that was a great motivation to push Junkyard Lipstick into that direction. Thrash is so much fun and it’s the ultimate subgenre to get you amped for a great night out! We are hoping that more people will eventually get into it.
When you come from the southernmost point of the world does it feel like you are as far away from the action as is possible?
-It does feel that way most of the time when you see the festival line ups overseas and when you see how many great young bands are getting the exposure they deserve. Our current economic situation does not help us at all. We’ve had an unreliable postal service for almost a year now, so getting physical copies of our releases to labels and to fans overseas are worrying because we’re never sure how long it will take to get there, if ever.
Witchdoctor Productions seem to be South Africa’s knight in shining armor at the moment as they brought out Kataklysm, Sepultura, Behemoth, Konkhra and Ministry all since last year July and there is the mammoth Witchfest line up which sports more than 10 internationals including Cannibal Corpse, Decapitated, Hatebreed, Aborted and Septic Flesh. I am hoping that every single metalhead in this country will have their backs and support them as much as they can.
Based on your name I kinda expected you to sound like Poison (US not Germany) but I was wrong? What has inspired your sound?
-If you listen to our debut album, “Hellbent”, you’ll will experience a glam/rock influence especially on vocals. Our previous vocalist, Tanya, was really into that style and she was also in the band since we formed.
Every member in the band has a passion for a different subgenre of metal and we try not to suppress that passion when we write new material by sticking to a certain formula .With our EP, “The Butcher’s Delight” we experimented with thrash elements and decided to speed things up a little bit and we absolutely loved the challenges and fun that brought into the mix. Now with Jo on vocals we have the opportunity to really push boundaries on the thrash front.
What would you say is a great album cover? What does it have to contain for it to be great? I love the really big, colourful ones from the LP days. The ones you could sit for hours looking at discovering new details.
-Personally, I love album art from bands like Cannibal Corpse and Municipal Waste. The details are definitely important and should relate to at least some of the songs on the album. We aimed for that on both our releases.
What kind of respect do you get from your regional/national press? Do they recognize local bands or is it just the big bands that come through on tour that gets the “headlines”?
-The press backed by big corporates hardly even mention international metal bands that tour here. Only when the bands tour here, their songs MIGHT make it onto mainstream radio depending on whether it’s the biggest concert promoter bringing them here. Local bands are very much dependent on small independent press blogs/sites and overseas media to make a name for themselves.
The media and the listeners here are more into Afrikaans pop music or other mainstream shit that the local radio stations shove down their throats. It also doesn’t help that the community is still very conservative here and perceive metal to be associated with Satanism. We’ve had many cancelled international tours in the last few years and recently Witchdoctor Productions’ Witchfest had to change their venue TWICE due to demands from the community. Luckily they are persisting through these challenges and bringing a lot of internationals to our shores and this is a great opportunity for local bands to show how much talent they have. There are a few young media players that do all they can to assist the bands as well.
How do you best utilize the interest you get on social media to actually have it mean something outside of the social media?
-Our aim is to be as professional and organized as possible within our means while managing our full time jobs. It really doesn’t cost anything to respond to an email professionally and on time, and we take every comment, message and request seriously and take action if required. We still have an old school approach with shows and always print posters and flyers beforehand to distribute. Social Media has had a huge impact on how you market and promote your material, most of it positive but I’ve seen so many bands kill their reputation by the arrogant statuses they post or by relying only on Facebook to build a fan base. You have to build your brand, have a professional website and presskit. Be efficient and courteous to the press and institutions that are giving you exposure.
What does the future hold for you?
-Witchfest 2015 over Easter weekend is a huge tick on our bucket list. To be on the same line up with big names like Cannibal Corpse and Decapitated is such a huge honor and we are still waiting for it all to sink in. We would love to support an international band touring South Africa as we have not yet had the opportunity to do so. Metal4Africa’s bi-annual fest is also a big aspiration for us as it showcases the cream of the crop of our local scene and we hope we get this opportunity soon. Other plans include writing material for a new album (we are already done with 3 songs) and to organize a local tour. We’ve been approached by promoters in other countries and there are a lot of big dreams but unfortunately all of this is much dependent on funding so we play our music, push our boundaries musically and do what we can to get it out there.