Toronto’s Hot Lips wants to stand out


It’s dif­fi­cult to stand out in a mu­sic in­dus­try that has so many artists but Keith Hep­pler, Alex Black and Karli For­get have man­aged to carve out a unique spot for Hot Lips, a band they started last year with­out a sin­gle gui­tar in the mix.

They head­line an evening at The Foxx Lounge Rock Bar & Hot­dog­gery later this month.

“We re­ally wanted to be a song­writ­ing ori­ented band; pop songs that peo­ple could sing along,” said drum­mer/per­cus­sion­ist Keith Hep­pler. “We wanted to be a type of rock band; wanted to stand out.”

Each had a meet­ing of the minds over a large rhythm sec­tion. Their sound comes from a blend of fuzz ped­als, synths and hard hit­ting drums.

All three mu­si­cians brought ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing in other bands. Hep­pler was play­ing with band that was about to head out on tour and he felt it would the last. He met For­get through a mu­sic fo­rum, where she had posted some songs. For­get han­dles vo­cals, synths for the band — and the name was ac­tu­ally her idea. Black, who plays bass and con­trib­utes back­ing vo­cals, was known from tour­ing with other bands.

“The first few re­hearsals Karli was on syn­the­siser and I was on drums; she is ac­tu­ally a drum­mer. This is her first time get­ting out (in front) singing,” he said. “All of us have had our ca­reers separately in mu­sic, tour­ing with bands. (We’d) joke: gui­tar play­ers are the most dif­fi­cult to work with.”

Since they formed in early 2016, they have dig­i­tally re­leased their first EP, named for the first sin­gle, Amer­i­can Hard­core, and are tour­ing to pro­mote it. They plan to do their first mu­sic video for the song Lime­light on Dec. 9.

Song­writ­ing is a col­lab­o­ra­tive process that usu­ally be­gins with a ba­sic melody from For­get. She also does the lyrics, which are “all over the map” in terms of sub­ject mat­ter. She came from a mu­si­cal fam­ily, learned how to play drums by ear and per­formed with Crooked Valen­tine, Purr and Scar­let Sins.

Black is a clas­si­cally trained vi­olin player. Hep­pler took some drum lessons and has played with sev­eral bands from Se­cret Broad­cast and Die Man­nequin to Saigon Hook­ers. All are in their late 20s and all had sim­i­lar ideas on how mu­sic should be made.

Hot Lips made an ap­pear­ance in Bar­rie last year. It was the sec­ond live show they did to­gether. This time, they will be ap­pear­ing with three other bands, most of them lo­cal.

“It’s go­ing to be a big party,” said Hep­pler.

The evening also marks the ful­l­length CD re­lease for the alt-rock band Rue Bella. The pi­ano driven band from New­mar­ket won Rock 95’s Lo­cal & Loud 2016 com­pe­ti­tion, re­leased their first EP last spring and has per­formed at the Horse­shoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace and Mavricks Mu­sic Hall, in­clud­ing open­ing for Juno Award-win­ning band Fin­ger Eleven.

The Noolands is a four-piece Bar­rie-based band that fea­tures a cou­ple of mu­sic teach­ers from the Spauld­ing School of Mu­sic. Formed in 2014, they are a rock ‘n’ roll band that likes to write and record mu­sic for a grow­ing group of ‘best friends’. They brought in 2017 by play­ing a Poor Man’s News Year’s Ball in down­town Bar­rie.

The Toronto-based band The Crooked rounds out the lineup. It’s rel­a­tively new project by lead singer J.C. San­doval, who has played with the Die Man­nequin and Se­cret Broad­cast in the past.

The event takes place on Satur­day, Nov. 25 at The Foxx Lounge Rock Bar & Hot­dog­gery, 16 Dun­lop St. E., be­gin­ning at 9 p.m. Ad­mis­sion is $10.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit foxx. bar.


Hot Lips will per­form in Bar­rie on Satur­day, Nov. 25 at the Foxx Lounge.

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