I’ve been recently listening quite a lot to Brighton-based band PrissyLips on Soundcloud. I kind of like the way their songs are brimming with attitude and my personal favourites include 50 Bullets, Oestrogena, Toy Boy (Make a Man Outta Me), Dopesick and their cover of Divine’s Female Trouble from the John Waters’ movie of the same name. The band is made up of singer Crysi De Milo and instrumentalist Rueben Drake.
They were formerly called ‘The Torch song Tragedies’. Speaking about their relationship, De Milo has said,
“When I was a friendless nobody kid I sat in my room and listened to Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper and daydreamed. Cyndi was fun and Kate was ethereal and I love to merge the two. I guess they taught me to sing. Reuben has been the biggest inspiration to me – he opened me up to jazz, blues, classical music… The relationship between the guitar hero and the wordsmith is a very special bond indeed, and without nurturing that we may never have made any music at all. If you find your creative soulmate either nail them down or put a ring on it. We met in Brighton about 4 years ago. We were both on our own individual one-way tickets to oblivion at that time. It took us a while to get to the music because we had to explore other avenues of our relationship. I started stalking him first, sending him crazy ass messages – I am always impressed when a reaction lies in fear and intrigue. We have pretty much been everything and everyone to each other. Sex, love, violence – that all had to come before the music. When you’ve experienced desperate living together, when you’ve both tip-toed down the blade’s edge or tried to skip into the abyss, that bond is unbreakable – and that’s how we started creating, with ultimate faith in one another. Team work, baby. We are a strumming, singing two-headed monster, burning our bridges between glory and disaster.”
Speaking about their song Liar Liar De Milo says,
“Liar Liar is about mental illness. It’s seeing a face that looks SO disappointed in you and then realising it is your own. Depression is an invisible illness, an almost unkillable imaginary friend that walks with you always. It pulls the last remaining stability out from under you and then whistles and looks the other way. The song focuses on that moment you think he’s gone, but he is never gone – just gone fishing. The same anvil will drop. A lot of our songs are about blindly rampaging through a dystopian night terror of critical voices and self-destruction. So, like the vast majority of our songs, it’s me trying to get one over on the nagging doubts – a vacation from the voices.”
It’s a very authentic description of mental illness. Somebody really close to me suffered very badly with depression so I know that it is very true to how people feel firsthand and any way that mental illness can be highlighted whether it is through music, books, sport, etc … is always a good thing because sadly it is still seen by many as a stigma nowadays and that can be a really bad thing for people. And I know I’m gone a bit off-topic there but I just had to say it while I was on the topic of depression.
De Milo values diversity and has said,
“I think it’s a tragedy that kids are taught to suppress their individuality rather than standing on the worlds roof and screaming ‘I AM DIFFERENT! HEAR ME ROAR!’. We are real and raw and we give it all.”
Speaking about their roles in the duo De Milo said,
“Primarily speaking I write the rants and Reuben makes them sound sexy, but he also writes sometimes. The songs are often created from old love letters, suicide notes, shit lists and death threats. Late nights with whiskey and crappy guitars.”
De Milo has said of the group,
“It’s a reaction to when living becomes desperate. It’s an antithesis to all the current banal McMusic that Cowell is pumping into the world. It’s the voice of the beaten generation. It’s the culmination of 10 years in a metaphorical straitjacket. It just had to happen. There was no other choice. It’s my catharsis and my therapy.”
On the topic of their name De Milo explained,
“It’s a joke. Prissy means prim and proper and respectable, which let’s face it we are not. Also it means to be easily disgusted – which I am quite often but mainly at the global state of emergency. It’s ironic. We’re a mess of punk ethos and no rules. It’s also important to have a reference to lips as people comment on mine all the time, without fail.”
While De Milo cites influences as “Alternative female rock, riot grrrl, old-school rock & roll, grunge, 1970s glam, 1980s trash, new wave/no-wave, art rock, punk, indie, 1990s, vintage, classical, gloom rock, blues, redneck campfire anthems, doo wop, the mashed potato, jitterbug, rockabilly, and all those legendary women (Marianne Faithfull, Courtney Love, Patti Smith). I surround myself sonically with beautiful, real, raw voices. Reuben translates this into our songs, adding a healthy mix of avant-garde jazz and youthful optimism.”
The first song the band released Hermaphrodité and was inspired by the amazing Marc Bolan,
“The first song we released was a 6-minute Bolan-esque guitar ballad called “Hermaphrodité” which is about the choice I made in being true to myself and so forsaking love! The post-gender blues. I always thought of it as “the Breech Birth of Venus”… it’s a very depressing song but a lot of our songs have come from the dankest, most fucked-up or self-loathing corners of my mind.”
The “bright new darlings of the avant-garde” have compared their sound to T.Rex, Hole, Sonic Youth, The Smashing Pumpkins and 10cc and have have also recorded a cover version of Female Trouble from Director John Waters’ movie which the song is called after,
“John Waters is pretty much the Pope at our house. His films are staggering works of genius, and Divine a legend. We were honored to be asked to perform at the Brighton premiere of “I Am Divine”, which was an awesome night full of beauty and reverence and boundary destruction… I want to be friends with the Dreamlanders and visit Baltimore. I think John’s book “Shock Value” should be on the bedside table of the world!”
I think I have a new style icon! Crysi De Milo’s style is incredible. You can see certain influences clearly in De Milo’s style like Courtney Love and Cyndi Lauper. The latter of which I have always been a huge fan and her song Time After Time was the song I first sang in front of a crowd while I was in school. It was a Stars In Yer Eyes show (They do a show in schools over here in Ireland called that based on obviously the ITV hit from the 90s’ which sadly I’m old enough to remember! Just about though darlings, I was a kid at the time!) De Milo’s style has quite a 60s’ vibe to it too which is great. Of course the 60s’ was one of the best decades for fashion so any style with influences from that decade always shines through. It’s unique, it’s wacky, interesting, different and fun. I hate it when people take their style so seriously that they are scared to try something daring and out there. Most of the best style possesses those two qualities.
But Reuben Drake’s quite stylish too!
Listen to more music from PrissyLips at:
Also Crysi De Milo has a wordpress which has all writing and poetry on it. It’s really quite good.
You can view the wordpress here:
And Reuben Drake did a beautiful piano solo Snow on his own SoundCloud which you can hear here: