- Tell me about your band, and what kind of previous experience do you have as musicians?
LIPSHOK is an original gothic hard rock/symphonic metal act out of the San Francisco Bay Area USA. Highly unique, Scarlett, the female lead vocalist/songwriter/keyboardist performs keyboards and vocals from the center of the stage live and leads the band with haunting melodies and incredible songs with commercial hooks and mesmerizing compositions. With dynamic chord changes and fantastic harmonies, LIPSHOK is a band that lets your soul travel to another reality, alternate dimensions, and magical realms. Along with Scarlett Dark is Phil Jameson on bass, Scott Bullerwell on guitar, and Joe Londeree on drums. LIPSHOK is experienced, professional, and has a varied background. For many years, LIPSHOK was a corporate dance/party band and even played at Santa Rita Jail 13 times as well as the Dublin Federal Penn twice! Needless to say, everyone loves a captive audience! Then in 2009, they returned the original scene, released a CD in 2010, “In Darkness, Light”, and then another CD at the end of 2013 “The Soul of a Broken Mind”. The next CD “To Haunt a Quiet Realm” was released 10/31/16 to rave reviews. A new CD is planned in 2019/2020 to be released on Sliptrick Records.
- Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?
A “Lipshok” happens when as a singer you touch your lips to the microphone and there is an electrical problem. It is quite common and has certainly happened to me (Scarlett) quite a few times to the laughter of the rest of the band… I didn’t think it was funny of course, but they loved the term “Lipshok” that I coined from the experience and insisted on using it for a band name despite my reticence. And after all this time, well, I guess it’s too late to change it…lol. And forming the band was just a natural progression from musical friends getting together. Certainly the lineup has changed many times over the years, and the genre we play currently is just what came out of the creation.
- What can you tell us about your latest record?
Well, the latest record “To Haunt a Quiet Realm” is really a visit into my (Scarlett’s) head. I have always felt haunted and had to get some of it out so the CD took on this name based on all the stories I was telling lyrically. And those songs are as varied as my brain waves… there is something for everyone on that album. And I mean everyone.
- What are the kind of album feedbacks you are waiting for?
We don’t usually wait for feedback, (other than from Sliptrick). We do what we have to do. It would be nice to get positive feedback… but sometimes you just do what you have to do you know?
- Are you going to make some world tour in the future? Do you think this is available for everybody as an option to tour around the globe? What do you think the band will have to do to get such an opportunity?
Life is tough for everyone right now. We all have jobs and families and have to make sure that everyone is taken care of. Although we all make time for our music as it is too important to ignore. Travelling abroad would be fantastic. We would like to perform at the big festivals (i.e. Wacken). That is my dream anyway…
- Do you believe in a heavy music scene without money?
It’s kind of like that now isn’t it? I mean, in the US metal is not one of the big genres. Although there is of course some fantastic music coming out. I am very European influenced and as the major songwriter in the band I hope those influences make sense.
- What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?
How are you going to get away from it? I mean, someone can loan you their ipod. You share your band videos. You give CDs away for reviews and interviews. You send your music out there. I mean, it’s out there. I wish we didn’t have to give it away for free, but come on.
- Who are your musical influences? Have you ever thought your band could be as famous as your favorites?
My musical influences are mostly symphonic type stuff. (.i.e. Nightwish, Within Temptation, Evanescence, etc. I love the sound of heavy keyboards (I am a keyboard player after all), and the combination of melodic vocals with heavy guitar. I think it’s a fantastic combination of sounds. Fame would be cool, but I do music because I am compelled to.
- Do you have a formal music education? Do you think it’s a kind of important thing?
I do, but not everyone in the band has formal education, but it really does help to have some theory knowledge. I used to be an opera singer and studied for years. Of course, now I don’t sound operatic as it doesn’t really fit with the music I write. Although I do use it sometimes, and the training has made me a much better singer.
- How do you balance your music with other obligations? (i.e. mate, children, job)
Well, it isn’t easy. Everyone needs a day job as making a living as a musician is hard. You have to really organize your time. With families, jobs, and mortgages you can only go so far. But we musicians are usually pretty dedicated and will always work it out.
- How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Or can you assure there are no mistakes during your gigs? Do you get nervous before a performance or competition?
Mistakes? Ha ha! We are all human after all. After as many shows as we’ve done, you know the audience won’t notice a mistake unless everyone makes it at the same time lol and that’s not likely. Productive rehearsals sure help. And no partying before a show lol! Obviously just keep going and you’ll catch back up pretty quickly. Certainly don’t make a big deal out of it! Although humor can sometimes take some of the pressure off and the audience likes it. Al least I think so…and nervous? Of course. But that’s a good thing. It means you care.
- What’s next?
Focusing on starting and finishing this new CD. Every CD we do we like to think improves on the last one. So we’re always excited about a new project. For me, each CD gets more difficult as I like to experiment with different keyboard parts and more elaborate vocals (that is if the rest of the band doesn’t get mad at me lol…). And I like to think I am always progressing as a singer and a songwriter. And maybe change my hair color again…ha ha…and actually I do that all the time.