Sweet and sunny, the Lemons describe themselves as “not too fast, but still kinda rockin’.” Recently, I got the chance to interview the fun-loving Chicago natives. Kimmy Slice, Chris Twist, John Lemon, Juicy James, and Kelly Nothing share their insights on jolts of sugar, the Beatles, and their latest release. Their new album, Everybuddy’s a Lemon, is now available on BUFU Records!
Boston Hassle: When and where did you guys meet and start playing together?
The Lemons: We all met playing music in Chicago and started together playing as the Lemons in 2013. We did a practice show as the Melons on Halloween of 2012 with Kelly, Chris, and John plus a couple of friends, then played our first show as the Lemons in April of 2013 opening up for the Beets. It took us a while to get the real Lemons lineup going (Kelly, Chris, John, James, and Kimmy), but by that summer we had everything cooking and finished our debut album, Hello, We’re the Lemons.
BH: Where would you say that the inspiration for most of the Lemons’ music comes from?
L: We like any tune that has a good melody and catchy hooks. Lemons songs take all the best parts of a song and leave out the fluff. Our songs are short and sweet. It’s kinda like going through one of those huge candy stores where they have EVERY type of candy in bulk. You just walk along popping different things in your mouth getting a jolt of sugar, then move on to the next one.
BH: Is there any certain feeling or message you are trying to convey to your audiences?
L: Life is fun if you have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously. We want to leave people smiling. We try to get as much psychic energy as possible flowing from us to the crowd when we play. Hopefully everyone soaks up the positive energy and then passes it on to folks they meet at the show, after the show, later that week, forever.
BH: What is your process for writing and recording?
L: Usually one of the Lemons will come up with an idea for a tune, then we’ll all work on it and make a weird recording of it and then learn how to play it live.
BH: You’ve worked with California’s Gnar Tapes and Burger Records, your upcoming release is on Boston’s BUFU Records, and you are based out of Chicago. How did you get connected with so many non-local-to-you labels?
L: We started out by releasing our music on Tripp Tapes, which is run by our drummer, Juicy James. Gnar Tapes got wind of our recordings and offered to rerelease Hello, We’re the Lemons, which Tripp had released in November of 2013. The Gnar release came out in January 2014. The Memories (who run Gnar) took us on tour with them a few months later, and through them we got hooked up with Burger, who gave Hello its 3rd release in September 2014. We met the BUFU dudes, who are releasing our new tape, Everybuddy’s a Lemon, on tour and hit it off with them. Much love to Degreaser, Free Pizza, Tall Juan, and all our BUFU buddies!
BH: Can you describe to all the Bostonians what the Chicago music scene is like?
L: Chicago secretly has one of the best music scenes in the country. There are too many good shows going on literally every single night, tons of labels putting out very cool music (Randy Records, Dumpster Tapes, Grabbing Clouds, Gary Records, and Tall Pat to name a few), and a bunch of great D.I.Y. venues that seem to pop up, rule for a year or so, and then fade away into Chicago’s collective memory. Come to Chicago, you’ll love it! (April through October only.)
BH: Are there any artists whose careers you really admire and look at while thinking about your own future as a band?
L: The Beatles really had it right. They changed their sound but kept their own vibe. They made movies and weird cartoons. They had the smarts to break up when it stopped being fun.
BH: What are you most excited about for The Lemons’ future?
L: We’re mostly just excited that we get to keep touring and making music. When we started the Lemons, we figured we’d play every couple of months around Chicago just to have something to do. Turns out that folks really dug it, so we played a lot of really fun shows. Now we’re hooked on touring. We’re really excited to play Miami on the Fourth of July and BUFU Fest in Boston in the fall!
BH: What can all your fans expect from your new album?
L: Our new tape on BUFU Records is called Everybuddy’s a Lemon, and it’s our best one yet! It’s four songs about four of our buddies and has the longest and shortest Lemons songs ever released. We recorded it ourselves, like everything else we’ve released, and we’ve gotten better at recording. So it still sounds like the Lemons, just a little bit better. We got really good at singing lately too. We picked up a pitch pipe in New Orleans, so we just sing a cappella in the van a lot.
Everybuddy’s a Lemon is now available on BUFU Records!
Everybuddy's A Lemon by The Lemons
And catch the Lemons on their Everybuddy’s a Lemon SXSW Tour!