Arts & Entertainment
5 min

Sweat, get naked, dance and get laid

Random Order's new album is inspired by sex and danger

The members of Random Order wants you to think, feel, have fun and get laid. Credit: -

Through well over 20 years and nearly as many members, Toronto’s one and only swamp-rock, reggae-ska freaks Random Order have maintained their unique sound. Despite their longevity they’ve released a mere two studio albums, something front man S Lynn Phillips credits to their love of playing live. When it finally came time to start work on their third disc, Black Lipstick Kiss, in 2012, the team headed back to Toronto, shacked up in Phoebe Street Studios and set to work.

“The album is definitely a departure from the previous work,” Phillips says. “It’s edgier yet still has elements of ska and reggae. I was watching a lot of zombie and vampire films at the time, and I was often falling asleep to them. I think my psyche was screaming sex and danger.”

The sex/zombie angle is obvious in tracks like “The Morning After Kill.” But theatrics aside, the disc also gives insight into Phillips’s private life. The lead track was originally a poem he’d written for an object of his affections, one he’d had a particularly tumultuous affair with.

“The relationship reminded me of a pulp fiction novel,” he says. “I wrote it very quickly, and after performing it solo a few times and seeing the audiences’ overwhelmingly positive response, I knew it would set the tone for the album.”

For Phillips, the personal is inevitably political. Coming out as trans while still a teenager in the 1970s, he’s seen his share of hardship and oppression thrust upon his community throughout his life. But while politics often feature in his songs, he still wants people to have a good time. The track “Trans Mission” might be the world’s first party jam that also pushes for trans acceptance.

“People relate to the lyrics,” he says. “I’ve had fans approach me after a show and say it’s like I’m singing about their life. That’s important. People have a lot more in common than we sometimes realize.”

All seriousness aside, Random Order wants you to have fun at their gigs.

“We have a motto for our shows,” Phillips laughs. “Sweat, get naked, dance and get laid!”