For Karli Morehouse, founding member of Lipstick Jodi, 2020 was supposed to be a year of performing, writing, recording and releasing new material with their (Morehouse identifies as nonbinary) new bandmates, Andy Fettig and Connor Middlebrook, and landing a deal with a record label. Thankfully, COVID-19 only hampered those plans slightly.
“We were playing a good amount of live shows and we were also in the midst of recording the record we are about to release in June,” Morehouse said about early spring 2020. “It didn’t disrupt finishing the record or getting onto the label because we ended up doing both of those things.”
Morehouse founded Lipstick Jodi in 2014 and by 2017, the band was garnering a lot of local attention thanks to the release of its self-titled first album. But by 2018, Morehouse’s bandmates had drifted into other things and Morehouse was ready to explore a new sound.
“I was writing mostly alone and writing mostly with synths. I had a handful of demos I’d made alone,” Morehouse said.
Morehouse began looking for other musicians interested in pursuing indie pop music and through word-of-mouth they connected with Fettig and Middlebrook.
“We all are really going for the same thing. We have the same goal. We are good friends and are into the same music but also have our own unique workflows or genres we like that just expands what Lipstick Jodi has now turned into,” Morehouse said.
By 2020, Morehouse, Fettig and Middlebrook were working diligently on Lipstick Jodi’s sophomore album, recording most of it in their basements. Even after the shutdown, Morehouse said the band was able to continue plugging away on the album.
It also had the good fortune of being signed to Quite Scientific Records.
“Overall, we’ve actually gone a lot further than expected because we didn’t anticipate getting signed in the middle of a pandemic,” Morehouse said.
At the time of this writing, the band was eagerly anticipating the vinyl release of “More Like Me,” slated for this summer (the album has been released digitally), and hopeful that it will be able to start playing live shows with an audience again.
Morehouse said the most challenging part of the past year was not being able to play in front of a live audience. “I get a lot of my energy and cup filled from other people taking in our music however they feel, and not having a live audience kind of impacted that. It made me more sad than it made me better,” Morehouse said.
They noted the finished album exceeded the band’s expectations and sets it on a path toward the future.
“It exceeds what I thought was going to happen to be quite honest,” they said. “I had an idea for the energy and the mood it was going to be. Andy is so talented, and he has grown since being in the band — and we’ve leveled up with equipment and synths. He has such an ear for pop music and for making it our own. … very much, we have our own sound now, which is very cool.”
They added, “We are really excited about this album. … It’s still my writing and my hooks, but it’s stepped up a level and I’m excited to share it with everybody.”
This story can be found in the July/August 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here.