Topp Twins

Topp of their Game: Q&A with Jools Topp

Dames Jools and Lynda are at the Topp of their game. We caught up with Jools about the pair’s impressive career and what’s next on the cards.


Topp Twins


Your awards list is growing. Did you ever think you would be appointed Dames?

Never in a million years. One of our pet lines at the moment is ‘the rebels got their medals’. Although we started out as really radical, the world has caught up with us. We thought about not accepting it but thought it would be more political to accept to recognise all the support we have had.


How has your music evolved since you first began playing together

I think the music is more personal. We were writing about lots of issues, writing songs about being nuclear free, the Springbok tour. It was all the stuff that was happening in the 80s and 90s; that was history making-times in New Zealand then. But now it’s more personal; our latest song Tom Boy was about us growing up as kids. That’s what they called us.


Who are you inspired by?

Growing up in the middle of nowhere, we were inspired by each other. We were really positive little kids on the farm. Dad inspired us to be good farm workers, ride a horse or two. You don’t have to look out to the world to be inspired; you can look in the home. The interesting thing about New Zealanders is that we’re always looking outside of ourselves. We feel like we are outsiders. A lot of the time we’re world leaders. We’re away from everybody, so we don’t feel like we have to wait for permission, or wait for the world to catch up. We were first in the world to give women the vote and now here we are again with a woman Prime Minister. We’re not afraid of change.


What’s an average day like for you?

I’m very lucky because I don’t have to go to a job. Some people enjoy that but it’s not for me. I put my gummies on, check the cows are shifted. I live in the outblocks of the Kaipara Harbour. You can’t see the city. I consider myself lucky; it’s a real privilege to have that, we’ve worked long and hard. I wake up every day and say man I’m lucky. We’re living in paradise. Meghan and Harry’s parting words were ‘you live in heaven’. They’re right, we live in an amazing place.

Today I was writing some of the film we’re working on with all our characters. Thought we better do that before we part these shores. The day is whatever I want to do sometimes. When the gigs roll in we’re really structured. We might do 4-5 gigs a month that can vary from a big corporate do, to an appearance at a Breast Cancer breakfast or the Gay and Lesbian Awards. Our job description is extremely varied.


How did the idea for your A Culinary Journey Through New Zealand with The Topp Twins cookbook come about?

The book came about mainly because it was such an inspiring show (Topp Country). We didn’t want to lose those recipes. Mum said to us when we did the programme, ‘it should be fun, I should know how to cook the meal at the end of the programme and nobody should be able to be voted off!’ That’s the wisest advice for anybody.

We were pleasantly surprised how well the programme was received. We got wonderful stills etc while we were doing that. We wanted to pay homage to all those people we had visited and they let us put all the recipes in the cookbook. New Zealanders have a great idea about recipes, that idea that it’s something you hand down.


What is the most fulfilling part of what you do?

I think it’s very social and we meet lots of amazing people. It’s the people we meet. We’re not stuck in an office; we’re out performing. I saw something on CNN the other day that said it’s good for your health to meet someone new every day. So many people are in their room on their computer. They have millions of friends on Facebook but they’re lonely. It’s a funny world; we call it social media, but it’s not social.

If mum and dad want to be social they go out for a cup of tea, they don’t join Facebook. We’re 60 years old now and still love doing what we do; still love putting Ken’s and Camp Mother’s outfits on. We’re 60 going on 20! Life’s still full of lots of adventures; we never know what road we’re going to turn down next! We’ve had an amazing career. It aint over yet.