Running towards rock’s upper echelons: Liily interviewed

Alexander Schmitz August 21, 2019

There’s no doubt that Los Angeles is the heart of the music industry, not only in America but in the whole wide world, and no city has seen a bigger impact on different music scenes. It’s worth stating the obvious: Musicians come to L.A. to make a living making music. You can live anywhere if you only want to be an artist. However, if you want to make a living off music Los Angeles is the better choice.

There’s a wide-eyed, collaborative spirit to the L.A. pop-songwriting community that’s unlike anything experienced anywhere else. Big artists write and record in L.A., just like labels and publishers are based there, and so are the sync houses who put songs in ads and TV shows. It’s simple; moving to L.A. is one way to differentiate your band from the millions who don’t. The aspirations will be taken at face value, being in L.A. means you’re serious.

One of the new bands that have ended up on many “Bands to watch“ lists in 2019 is four-piece Liily that already gained a reputation for the their wild and rowdy shows. And they also created their own festival, Brek-Fest.

After a completely insane show at Molotow earlier this summer the boys returned to play their biggest show ever, as a support to Weezer in Stadtpark. We met up with the band briefly, just right after they played their opening set in Stadtpark and talked Brek-Fest and a debut album in the works.

Touring Europe and running Brek-Fest

You’ve been to Germany before and played Molotow here in Hamburg, a legendary club. How was it?
Liily: It was a fun club. We played a handful of shows in Europe last time we were here. The audience was very responsive and energetic. It reminded us of the people at Echo Park [district of L.A.]

What do you like about Europe?
Liily: Every country has its own language, culture and history. You don’t get to different states by the same distance in America. The closest we can get is the Mexican border. It’s nice over here. Usually people speak more than one language. Also when we got to Germany or Amsterdam people had a very good English. In the US most people speak English and due to Mexican population Spanish also. School don’t really enforce or encourage learning other languages as they do here.

You’re from Los Angeles , how important is L.A. to you?
Liily: Very! That’s where we were born and raised and feel very comfortable there. And it’s definitely hard to leave. We all agree we try to stay there as long as we can.

L.A has quite an interesting scene and a history of great music. Tell tell us a little about the local music scene.
Liily: It’s a pretty healthy scene in L.A. It’s done by people our age for people our age. It’s not really a legit thing, it’s just something fun and it’s what we wanted to do.

I read that you started off playing house concerts is that right?
Liily: Yes, that is what the scene is like, very DIY People just like to put on shows however they can.

What was the best experience you had playing house shows?
Liily: You don’t get in a situation where the stage separates you from the audience. When you play in one of those warehouses you‘re part of the audience with an instrument in your hand and it’s very intimate. It’s not something people look at “Oh, they go on stage, they are playing“, but more collaborative. Also it’s less stress. The one who runs the place is someone respectful. It’s so much less serious.

That’s kind of a huge difference from the show tonight.
Liily: Way different. This is a new world for us.

At Stadtpark the stage is really far away from the crowd. Having your videos in mind and the wild shows together with the audience: did you enjoy the gig?
Liily: It was fun, we enjoyed it. It’s just different. Definitely a great experience, because it was the biggest crowd we’ve had so far.

You started making your own festival called Brek-Fest.
Liily: Yeah. We put on shows before, but this was done a little better. With this festival we want to respect the artists a lot more than at other DIY festivals, because a lot of the time these festivals don’t have PA‘s or the floor is staged.

From our perspective we conquered that goal, it was really fun. We did it in January over four weeks every Tuesday, we and two other bands would play, and we recorded the whole thing and put it on Apple Music. There are also interviews and performances on YouTube.

Will there be another Brek-Fest next year?
Liily: Yes, hopefully we can do this every year. We enjoyed it a lot.

What was the best moment at Brek-Fest?
Lilly: The fact that people showed up. On the first night there was a line outside. That was really cool, because for us putting on a show and then see people not only come to the show but also stand in line was awesome. Also it’s free. We wanted to make it non-profit.

What was the biggest challenge?
Liily: Getting it started, planning one thing after another. It’s just like anything else, every step means something to the final product, but there were a lot of things we wanted to do. A lot of things we were able to do, some we weren’t able to do but it actually turned out very well and successful.

A challenge was also finding bands that we like and fit with the set, but it worked out pretty well in the end.

Debut album in the works

This year your EP “I Can Fool Anybody In This Town“ came out. Are you planning to release a full album?
Liily: We started recording in the studio right before we left and finished recording parts of two songs. Hopefully we have an album coming out next year. Maybe we’ll release songs in the fall.

Talking about your videos, I had the feeling you have a fascination for analogue technology. Am I right?
Liily: It’s not a fascination, we just like what tape sounds like and we like recording live. Also it happen to be a little more interesting, it’s what most people do right now. We don’t really like making videos, it makes it less of a challenge if you don’t make it visually perfect and it gets more appealing.

I thought there is some anarchistic or avant-garde approach to it.
Liily: Maybe. That’s the camera right there we made the video with. It’s just easy.

I was just wondering why you use analogue technology when you grew up when everything was about getting digitalised.
Liily: Where we come from we feel it’s more like a trend right now using apps. In our close area there are companies try to push hard forward with futuristic art. Also, talking about visual art, people for the longest time were trying to get the best clarity out of things instead of quality, like what’s in the video. The course right now is to make cooler videos. Maybe it reminds people of the time when good videos were made.

Your facebook info page says “interested in buying expensive guitars“. How important are instruments to you? What would you buy if there was no financial limit?
Liily: We’re fine with our setup.

Photographer: Mandy Privenau.
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About The Author

Music nerd from Cologne (yeah, we are sorry) because of the Highlander movie thus buying Queen’s “Kind of Magic”. Equally interested in eurodisco – although it’s crappy – 60s stuff and ska punk but under much influence of Nirvana. In an ongoing beef with the editor – that bastard – about who’s gonna interview Blood Red Shoes. Loves squirrels and horses. Get over it!