Annabel Kean / Thursday 15th April, 2021 9:02AM
The Julie Lamb Outfit have taken the first step on their supersonic The Barmy Jarmies tour with a sizzling show at the Newtown Community Centre in Pōneke last Saturday. A key element to the Julie Lamb Outfit way of life is their community focussed, fun-forward values, making for performances that are more than just funk-pop tunes and horn sections. As bandleader Julie Lamb herself says, "Mischief, stories, sentiment, groove" are the four words that come to mind, and I’d say that’s what gives their octet an extra sparkle on their live tour stops. Lamb’s cheek and charm shine through in the below interview, have a gander and see where the closest Julie Lamb Outfit event is to you — touring their latest album How Humans Think plus brand new singles ‘That Brilliant Thing‘ and ‘Working On The Line‘…
Julie Lamb Outfit: The Barmy Jarmies Tour
Saturday 17th April – St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki w/ Charlotte Kerrigan*
Friday 30th April – The Tin Hut, Featherston w/ Grafia
Saturday 1st May – Spaceship, Hastings
Friday 21st May – The Vic , Auckland
Saturday 22nd May – The Yot Club, Raglan
Friday 11th June – Whanganui Musicians Club, Whanganui*
Saturday 12th June – Butlers Reef, Oakura
Tickets on sale HERE via UTR*
UTR: Please describe The Julie Lamb Outfit in ten words or less.
Julie Lamb: Mischief, stories, sentiment, groove. Not always in that order.
Is it correct to say it is you who “steers the ship”?
That would be correct, but it is a benign dictatorship, and I am often told by the others how I can steer the ship better. #learning
How did the current lineup of Julie Lamb Outfit come to be?
In February 2018, my previous band came to an end after a productive and successful 6 years. Still having musical things to say, I approached some musicians I wanted to work with, and we formed the Julie Lamb Outfit. Originally, the new collaboration was intended to be small, but HOW CAN YOU FUNKY POP WITH NO HORNS??
Personnel have changed over time and we’ve become this funny, fabulous fit.
I read that the band meets up every Wednesday for dinner and then band practice. How long have you been doing that? Where do you go for dinner?
We DO! We have Hell Pizza takeaways every band practice. It’s an opportunity to sit, chat, unwind and create. We sit in the reception area at the practice space and laugh and eat and argue the benefits of coffee at night. I’ve done this forever as a way to shake the cobwebs from the muse. It’s amazing how everyday conversations can do that.
Can you tell me a bit about what the humans of the Julie Lamb Outfit do when they’re not doing Julie Lamb Outfit things?
I’d like to say, in a robotic monotone, that “No. This. Is. All. We. Do.” But we do such a variety of things. It’s where the ideas come from… We have a sailor, a car racing driver, a writer, an engineer, an accountant, teachers, a retail manager. We have mums, dads, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers… I like to say our occupations are those things, our preoccupation, collectively is music.
Why is the album called How Humans Think? How does that come through in the songs?
The name came from looking for a common thread. Seriously, it was a cheat. Every album in the multiverse could be called this. Every song in an album includes a measure of human observation and emotion. But it gave rise to some brilliant artwork (Debe Mansfield) and as soon as the working title hit, it gave us freedom to talk about anything at all in our songs. We don’t leave many on the “cutting room floor” but giving a broad working title meant even fewer were dropped.
Will ‘Working On The Line’, ‘Age And Attitude’ and ‘That Brilliant Thing’ be on the next album? Got a title yet?
Good question. The original idea was to gather songs and toggle them together in an album. Once we hit the magic 8, we’d package them… but… I’m unsure if we mechanically need to do that. With the exception of getting together a bunch of lovely artwork, providing CDs as business cards and creating an excuse for a tour, (for us) do audiences want or need an album? I think if the songs tell similar stories and sit well together, it sure is a consideration, but we are writing these as singles (which satisfies the algorithm gods.) Originally though, we had a working title of Better Work Stories. So far the concepts would suit How Humans Think Now instead.
What stops on the tour are you most excited about?
Actually all of them, but for different reasons. We have 4 theatres on this tour. That means green (dressing) rooms and mirrors! No changing in toilets!
We are hitting new venues and towns… always nerve racking, and always an opportunity. And always lovely fun.
Do you have any tour traditions? What about pre-show rituals?
Separately, I suspect we all have little rituals. Mine are getting grumpy, making sure the bling is “correct” and panicking. Together, we have dad jokes, making bets on where and when Shan can sleep, (ANYwhere / when — it’s her superpower) decorating the stage and music stands. Honestly, the decorations take up more space in the van than the drum kit.
Post show… finding midnight food (harder than you may think).
Who are three of your favourite NZ acts at the moment? Why?
Personally, and in no particular order:
The Mean Bones. Ant Donaldson and Tom Callwood create the best funk grooves and layer a bunch of amazing vocalisations and horn work over the top. A gig at Meow two years ago remains my favourite live gig since.
Sea Mouse / The Skeletons. Or actually any other band Seamus Johnson fronts. Too brilliant for small stages. He’s the Ian Moss of NZ. Opens his mouth and captures the audience. Sweats and delivers.
Vorn. Clever, articulate, funny, on point. An under rated multi instrumentalist with a massive brain and enough humour to hide it. Such a good writer.
Julie Lamb Outfit’s latest album ‘How Humans Think’ is out now.