|   |  4 min read

Lips: Traces of Teddy

In 2012 when Stephanie Brown aka Lips won the Apra Silver Scroll for Everything to Me we flicked her our Famous Elsewhere Songwriter Questionnaire.

But that was then and this is now and Lips -- who lived in Brooklyn, NYC for many years but is currently in Arizona -- is now a duo with West Virginian drummer Fen Ikner, and is coming back to New Zealand for a short tour in a double bill with Anna Coddington. (Dates below)

Lips is now two EPs into a career and an album is due early next year.

Very much a visual act too, Lips bring something unique to the game.

So we thought we'd throw another questionnaire their way . . . 

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

Steph: I don’t remember the first piece, but I do remember this one day I was playing the piano at Mum’s house and picked up Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words in E flat major. Something about the music was so moving, I had tears rolling down my cheeks and, as I kept playing, my Mum came in and she was crying too, it was spookily awesome.

Fen: It mighta been [the Beatles'] A Day in the Life. I remember being touched by the verses, and frightened of the orchestral swell.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Steph: New Kids on the Block. We used to dance to their music in jazzercize class at primary school.

Fen: Kiss. Color me possibly embarrassed.

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Fen: Lennon, Nirvana, Madonna, Jacko

Steph: Same as Fen.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Fen: being a drummer (c’mon now!)

Steph: Ba doom tsssss! Didn’t you have a job at a comedy club once where you’re entire job was playing that b’doom tsss fill when comedians told a bad joke?

Fen: I did.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Steph: The 12” extended mix of Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears for Fears, Little Dreamer by Future Islands, Cough Cough by Everything Everything

Fen: Your Favorite Music by Clem Snide, My People...Hold On by Eddie Kendricks, and for selfish purposes, Take My Call by Lips, which we haven’t released yet.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

Fen: Well, there are 4 giant lipses and accompanying giant accessories for giant lipses (giant lipstick, giant cigarette, etc) hanging around.

Steph: I have a keyboard case signed by Kanye West from when I randomly played on a recording session with him. He signed his name and then drew a picture of a bear.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Steph: I liked the Quincy Jones autobiography a lot. I once had a book with transcriptions of every James Jamerson bassline ever recorded which was pretty cool.

Fen: For pure entertainment value, Maybe Motley Crue’s The Dirt? Joe Jackson’s autobiography A Cure for Gravity is a great one for music lovers. Also, Here There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick, who recorded most of the Beatles’ music.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

gb_1_posterSteph: The cast of Seinfeld. I would play their friend.

Fen: Ray Parker Jr, and I’d yell “GHOSTBUSTERS!” Or maybe Norah Jones, and I’d yell “GHOSTBUSTERS!”

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Steph: I have only seen four films: The Star Wars Trilogy and The Wedding Planner. I would go with The Star Wars Trilogy.

Fen: Not sure I’d wanna annoy anybody with that. But maybe Magnolia, Raising Arizona, and GHOSTBUSTERS!

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Steph: Ah dammit. The last thing I bought was West Side Story. I’m working on the music for a musical and that’s my favourite musical.

Fen: Split Enz’ Enz of an Era on vinyl. Mint Chicks Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! by download, just cuz I couldn’t find the vinyl. I guess being in NZ so much is having an effect on me (I’m American, if that’s not clear).

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

Fen: If I wrote it, doesn’t matter. If I didn’t, The Thong Song by Sisqo

Steph: Earth Song by MJ. I would rerelease it regularly for different occasions and change the “what about [insert noun]” lyrics to be relevant. For example, St Patricks Day: “What about leprechauns”.... Thus, royalties for life.

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

Fen: That’s a hard one. Let’s just throw any old Matisse up there, shall we?

Steph: Anything by my Mum, she paints and designs, she’s amazing.

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

Fen: a freckle

Steph: I don’t want a tattoo.

a2992073373_16David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

Fen: In the studio, making records with unlimited budgets.

Steph: Ditto, also writing for stage. With orchestras.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

Fen: It has the least suck yet!

Steph: Hai! Soo desu ne.  


Thursday 10th Wellington Meow

Friday 11th Nelson The Boathouse

Saturday 12th Takaka The Mussel Inn

Thursday 17th Christchurch Wunderbar

Friday 18th Oamaru Upstairs Cucina

Saturday 19th Dunedin Taste Merchants

Sunday 20th Wanaka Gin & Raspberry

Thursday 24th Napier Cabana

Friday 25th Hamilton Nivara Lounge

Saturday 26th Auckland The Tuning Fork

In October Lips also present Daffodils at the Tauranga Arts Festival, re-settings of classic Kiwi songs by Brown and Ikner: October 22 and 23, 8.30pm

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire articles index



Standing at more than two metres tall and playing powerful rhythm guitar, Ham Hornhead of the Hamilton band the Trons, is a towering figure in New Zealand contemporary rock. A distinctive... > Read more



Each year the University of Auckland's School of Music holds a songwriter competition with contestants drawn from their Popular Music courses, this year there are five contestants and Elsewhere is... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

After the Buena Vista Social Club alerted the planet to great old, and largely forgotten, musicians in Cuba – and of course the beguiling rhythms of that small island – it was open... > Read more

Gary Numan, The Studio, Auckland. May 23 2014

Gary Numan, The Studio, Auckland. May 23 2014

Many many years ago, I interviewed the British musician Thomas Dolby who had enjoyed a big hit with She Blinded Me With Science in '82. It was notable for having spoken word samples from the... > Read more