Liily injects their own combo of youthful exuberance and vigor in rock music

Liily
Photo Credit: Richie Davis

As their early 2019 City/Valley: Live from Brekfast documentary will show, Los Angeles rock band Liily is completely comfortable of being themselves. They are personable, they’re fun, and they have a raw energy that translates to both their live performances and recorded music equally. I Can Fool Anybody In This Town, Liily’s first EP displays creativity in song structure, tracks that will make you want to crowd surf, and some that have a contemplate energy to them. These particular tracks were written while the band was just 15 and 16. So, if this is where they are starting, imagine where they could go.

That’s only the beginning. Now older and wiser, (ages 20 and 21) the recently released ‘Wash’ begins with a collection of distorted guitars and frantic groove from drummer Maxx Morando and bassist Charlie Anastasis. Lead singer Dylan Nash starts the song off in a Danzig-like cadence, but then the song gives into the runaway pace that is built up throughout. This song in particular is the development and growth that the band wants to show as they get ready to record their first full-length album very soon.

How does the band feel about their much-deserved and earned success and where does the band go from here? I spoke to Dylan about all things surrounding their fulfilling 2019.

Let’s kick this off in talking about Lilly being chosen as one of Vevo DSCVR’s 2020 artist to watch. How does it feel to have all this hard work validated like that? 

It was amazing because everybody was super cool there. Obviously, a lot of cool artists have come out of that. People get to really discover new artists, so it’s really cool. It gives a platform for artists that are doing pretty well, but aren’t really pushing past that barrier yet. It was honestly such a cool experience because everybody was awesome there. The set was really cool and it was in New York and we love New York. So, it’s really fun.

Jumping from that answer, the band released I Can Fool Anybody In This Town in March. Everything has been of been building up to that point. The fan response has been great. You’re playing shows that if they aren’t close to selling out, they are sold out. Looking back on everything, how has this release changed everything? 

I think it was like a weight lifted just because we never had music out. Having it out for a while now has been kind of nice because we’ve been able to develop a new sound, start writing new music, and start focusing on that. It’s been amazing. Right now, we’re actually starting to write for a record. When we wrote that EP, it was a bunch of songs have for a long time that we made when we were 15-16 years old. Now that we don’t have songs and we’re specifically writing for a record, I think it’s such a different experience to be doing that. That’s sort of the difference that we feel coming off an EP that’s been out for about six months now.

‘Toro’ was one of the first songs that I’ve listened to and it’s depicted in the video, there’s very chaotic energy to it. Even with that, from the drums, to the guitars, the bass, and even from your vocals, there are intricacies.  Intelligent parts that move together well. You just mentioned that you guys are starting to write new music. What specifically have you all learned about the songwriting process going into a new phase?

So far with just writing in general, it’s kind of shifted our perception on how to write a song. In the past, everybody would be in a room and jam. Then we’d say, “Oh, this song is done.” Now, that’s just an idea. That’s just an idea of what could be. Sometimes, we’ll do that to get an idea out and jam on it. We’ll record like a demo of it and then, I’ll figure out melodies and lyrics. From there, we’ll figure out a structure on Pro Tools, cut and paste things, and see how we can add dynamics to this song. Instead of just settling for a demo. I feel like we were just settling before.

‘Wash’ was released in September. I know the band has played that song a lot live even before it was released. There’s also a really cool stop-motion video attached that different than anything you’ve put out before. What made you want to release this song separate from the EP? 

That song was essentially for the new wave of songs that we’re writing. We just wanted to take that step forward into that new phase of Liily music. We feel like that song is the perfect example of that. We thought a really cool music video would supplement that change.

Honestly, we’ve done just pretty standard music videos and stuff that didn’t really capture the vibe of what we think of a music video should be. This video definitely captured that. We’ve always wanted to do a stop motion video, period. Sam took on the mantle and, made the storyboard and we’re like, “let’s do it for ‘Wash.”  It turned out great. We love it. We’re still proud of it, you know? I think that’s the hardest thing to do is to make something and be proud of it for a long period of time. I think that this music video and that song will be that for us because it’s that next step in our progression.

Now, there are some lyrics that stuck out to me like We’re washing, washing, washing away/I have no hope for the world of today/Breaking their backs just to censor the pain. In ‘The Weather,’ the very first line of that song is “I’ve been paid to be victimized.” I feel those songs tie together and perhaps, that’s your commentary on celebrity. It’s putting yourself out there, but maybe receiving scrutiny of some sort back. 

Well, I think, obviously, where we are now, it’s pretty unavoidable to talk about. If you’re ignorant of it, then you’re just living a lie almost because we have to be aware of what’s going on. I think with ‘Wash,’ is sort of split up for interpretation, but it was the way I was feeling at the time. It was this thing where I felt everybody is just canceling out their feelings and pushing them under the rug by using social media. Using all these platforms to sort of hide their emotions and that’s causing a lot of problems.

If no one speaks up, nothing’s ever going to change. That’s happening on both sides.  People aren’t saying anything and that’s causing a lot of grief and making things essentially worse for everybody. I’m not one to speak on social commentary, but sometimes from feeling a certain way, I’m going to write about it. I think the biggest thing with those songs are just understanding that there are problems and sort of just getting the emotion out instead of hiding it.

To go from the macro and the micro, another song that stood out to me is ‘Nine.’ I like how you make a little play on nine lives in the chorus. Nine times I’ve lied/and nine times you’ve healed. Perhaps you try to reignite something or try to keep something alive and it just doesn’t do it. You just can’t get past some things. With how hard this band has worked this past year, it is a struggle to keep certain friendships or relationships alive? 

We’re sort of all in a place where it’s either college or touring. We’re all just 20 or 21 years old. All our friends are in college and I think, it’s more on their end because a lot of my friends are away. If I’m not keeping up the relationship because they’re not in town or anything.  I pretty much try and hang out with all my friends when they’re in town. I think keeping up relationships is pretty easy. You have to be willing to do it what it takes.

Is there any point where you feel like you’re missing out coming a little bit on the college experience, which is your guys exploring and kind of like moving into music where progression from the EP to an album or Are you able to kind of like, have a balance?

I think there’s a good balance. Not going to college and not having to do schoolwork and stuff like that, that’s obviously a benefit. I think we’re already past the point at which we’re scared about it. We’ve just kind of just pushed ourselves into that vulnerability. Now being able to be an adult and work in the field that we want to be in, I think it’s starting to get easier to really feel comfortable doing that.

We love doing it. It just was very uncomfortable just because we’ve taken a risk essentially not going to school and not having a sure thing. It doesn’t matter to us because this is our passion. We’ve taken that risk for a reason. I think just being passionate about it has sort of given us that balance. We know when to when to work and when to take breaks. I think we’ve really developed like a strong vision of what we want to do.