Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Felt Lips. Felt Lips has been generous enough to allow readers an exclusive early listen of their upcoming album which you can find at the end of this interview!
1. Mustard is grateful to have Felt Lips join them at Music Shelf. How is everyone doing today?
We’re good! This is Everett and I’m here with my dog and we’re just enjoying life and excited for the album to release. Hope you’re well too.
2. Mustard wonders: are your lips made of felt? Or did the band recently receive a kiss? How did you come up with your band name?
A long time ago I was recording music with some of my friends and the buddy who was doing the recording said my lips moved like a Muppet’s. That stuck with me, and I liked the idea of being a Muppet a lot. We like the idea of our music having the uncomfortable familiarity of making out with Kermit the Frog- intimate, warm, but maybe a little scratchy.
3. What is Felt Lip’s origin story? When did the band officially form?
The band has existed in one form or another for a very long time but as Felt Lips we didn’t really start existing until the pandemic and I started to actually get motivated to record some stuff. I talked with friends I had leaned on for songwriting advice over the years and they said I should go for it and they’d help in anyway they could and so Felt Lips became a thing.
4. Who (or what) influences Felt Lips?
The biggest influence is Silver Jews. David Berman was an incredible artist, his retirement left the world asking “What else could we have gotten?” and then he answered that with Purple Mountains only to leave us asking the question again, forever.
Aesthetically Minutemen are a big influence, there’s a reason in 11 songs we barely reach 30 minutes- we jam econo.
In a general taste level, John Waters is the greatest living artist and we look forward to seeing him bring Liarmouth to the screen. (John, if this makes it across your desk, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to use our songs in your next movie, cheap!)
5. What are some shows and movies that Felt Lips have recently watched? Do you have any recommendations?
Let’s start with the movies that are on the album. Feral Kid is about Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and it’s a stone cold classic. Nothing we could say about it adds anything to the discussion, if anyone reading this hasn’t seen it they need to fix it ASAP.
Tommy is about Tommy Wiseau and The Room is one of the most entertaining and fascinating failures- delightful to watch with other people and an interminable slog to watch alone.
My favorite movie of 2022 was David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future. It is an exceptional film that becomes more and more relatable by the day as the planet careens into the climate crisis and government entities try to control what people do with their bodies. All art is political, and one of the best, most fully formed pieces of art of last year was made by an old ass white cisgender dude – we all oughta get on Cronenberg’s level.
Also, if I can recommend a TV show that was underloved in its time, the tv show The Birthday Boys is maybe the best modern sketch comedy. The “Contemporary Family” sketch has been memed a lot, but “The Shworvels” accurately predicted modern reboot and fan culture (down to Jack Black appearing in The Mandalorian) and sketches like “The Affair” and “September Santa” are endlessly replayable.
6. Was your 2021 single “Dan” inspired by an actual human named Dan? Could you share more about the single?
The “Dan” of “Dan” is the singer songwriter Daniel Johnston, a major artistic influence. I’ve had some mental health issues but nothing as intense as Johnston did, and his music is a guiding light. The opening lines “Did you mean it when you said ‘There’s a heaven and a star for me?’ are a reference to “Hey Joe”: There’s a heaven and a star for you…
It was written before Daniel Johnston died and band member Brandon got to see him before he passed and picked up a tape for me. A treasured gift.
7. You followed up “Dan” with “Bobby or Lou.” How did these humans help influence and inspire the song?
The Monster Mash is my favorite song. It’s also the source for the album title:
“For you the living this mash was meant too
When you get to my door tell them Boris sent you”
While Lou Reed and the VU are icons, there’s something beautiful and endearing about embracing a chintzy legacy like a novelty record, reworking it over and over to suit changing genres and your beliefs, and just keep hawking it until leukemia takes you to our final resting place. Praise and life eternal to Bobby Boris Pickett.
8. A human gets the chance to see Felt Lips perform. How would you describe your performance?
All of our performances have been in the pandemic era, so I’d describe them as digital. We hope to play for people in the same room as them soon, and we hope people are cool with some songs being whisper quiet and others being noisy and raucous. Would love to have you present, Mustard.
9. What is next for Felt Lips?
Getting started on album 2 and shows with people in the same room!
10. Where can readers listen to your music?
All of the typical streaming sites and Boris Sent Me is on Bandcamp at https://feltlips.bandcamp.com/album/boris-sent-me. And for people on twitter @borissentme is the place for updates on all things Lips, Felt or otherwise.