LILLYE // Chasing Challenges

“You work so hard at it, you over analyse everything. You mix, you master, but then nice words make it all worth it!” After putting in the hard miles, Lillye’s debut album, Evolve, is finally ready to meet the world and vocalist Virginia Lillye is elated.

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The Sydney foursome are on the cusp of something epic, their boisterous hard rock hell leaving the listener wanting to hear more. The femme fatale vocals combined with hard-hitting instruments is a powerful force. “We had a lot of fun together, really,” says bassist, Christian Lauria. “It did take a lot of work but we’re happy with the end result. Everything’s been positive so far, we’re excited for the future.”

“When we were writing, we saw in our minds that we wanted it to be unpredictable, to take people on a journey they didn’t expect, and that’s hopefully what we’ve achieved,” adds Lillye.

When Lillye went into the studio, that had a very carpe diem. “A lot of hours were spent in my studio,” says Lauria. “That’s where the cooking starts!” laughs Lillye. “Chris is Italian so he loves to cook, so with us, the more spices the better!”

They do say variety is the spice of life and Lillye were certainly heating things up in Lauria’s kitchen. “We had all the time we needed to sit there and spend as long as we wanted on particular sections of songs, and we all get along so well, mesh really well when it comes to writing together,” says Lauria.

To get this particular sound was a collaborative effort, each member pitching in, open to the other’s ideas. “Christian and Matt get together, and Matt would lay down ideas for riffs and solos. They’ll do a basic computer drumbeat then through it over to me,” says Lillye. “I’ll pull out my keyboard, play around with the melody and yeah, I have many, many notebooks, a bit like a jigsaw. Whatever the track is, whatever emotion sparks up, I’ll delve into the book, take a little bit here, take a little bit there.

It wasn’t particularly about our music evolving, it was more about our personally choices, our evolution.
[ Virginia Lillye ]

“Songs were changing right up to the final day of mixing,” Lauria teases, clearly a Lillye in-joke. Lillye are a glutton for punishment and clearly don’t like to make things easy for themselves. “I think that’s the challenge in making music,” says Lillye. “You’re forever, never completely satisfied with it. I listen to our first EP and think, ‘Maybe we should have done this here or there,’ but look, it’s done. You’ve gotta move on and we’re happy with everything so far.”

In an industry where female vocalists are becoming more prominent, Lillye have a secret ingredient to make them stand out against the Halestorm’s, the Devilskin’s and the PVRIS’s of the world. “I think it’s Virginia’s theatrical delivery,” says Lauria. “When we’re tracking these songs, it’s just an amazing thing to witness. She’s not just belting out the tunes, she’s all movement, all hands and everything.” Not just because of Lillye’s heavy background in musical theatre, the band as a whole is very much a production, in how they play, how they compile their songs and in how they produce videos.

The video for lead single Run is a damn cool example of theatrics at work. “It was really funny because we had different ideas. I actually started formulating a video and when we went to the Middle East to perform, I started putting together a roadside video,” Lillye explains. “We did this photo shoot and we created these particular characters. We looked at the photos from the shoot and thought they were brilliantly outlandish.

“This light went off in my brain and the characters were recreated for the video. Making it a crazy Wizard Of Oz-on-the-road-videogame kind of thing.

Personally, a lot of us went through some changes in making this album,” Lillye continues. “It wasn’t particularly about our music evolving, it was more about our personally choices, our evolution. It was also about our message—so much is going on in this world, so much information is coming at your from left, right and centre. People don’t even talk to one another anymore, heads down in their laptops, in their phones. It’s about evolving and coming out of that—I think Jared Leto said ‘The internet has become the outernet.’”

Absolutely. We almost need to reverse to move forward. Lillye aren’t so much talking of evolution as they are of letting that ball of existence thread hit the ground and come undone. “And really listening to your inside and trusting your gut,” says Lillye, “That’s a huge thing to think on.”

“Bring back vinyl!” Lauria’s outburst is met with raucous laughter.

Order Lillye’s debut album Evolve here.

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