QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Lily Black (LILLI)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Lily. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days? How are the other guys of LILLI?

Lily: Thanks for featuring me (and us as a band)! We’re all doing fine, it’s a pretty cold weather in our region right now but fortunately we have good practice space/studio and it’s warm in there. So all is good.

Pix666: How did you get to know each other and what kind of music does LILLI make?

Lily: I first got to know Teemu (our lead guitarist) when we played Finnish baseball on the same team. We got to talking about music stuff and Teemu suggested some kind of a co-operation on some songs he had written. We tried it out by the two us for a few times and decided to start gathering a band to continue working on those songs. Teemu messaged me telling that there was this bass player Sami, who had a good practice space available. Sami didn’t consider himself as a good bass player back then but he was enthusiastic to learn. Teemu also knew Petteri from childhood and decided to ask if he was available for this project. Petteri told us that he would come and play with us ”for the while we could find a better drummer” but to this day there has been no need to replace him – or willingness for that matter.

Our music is basically rock with different kinds on seasonings. Our first album was more kinda pop-rock but working on our second album, our sound has clearly gotten heavier and harder.

Pix666: Did you or the guys have experiences in other bands before?

Lily: Teemu has played in different bands since a teenager and Petteri is the one of us with most experience  since he played drums in Dreamtale and has done some shows outside Finland too. Sami had very little experience of playing in a band (except for a chamber music group) and I myself had one acoustic cover band project on my belt before starting LILLI.

Pix666: Your band LILLI was founded in 2019 – at the end of 2020 you released your debut album. How difficult was the road to the finished album? Did the Corona Pandemic influence or change the process?

Lily: Well, at the beginning we actually didn’t even think about releasing an album – we just wanted to do our own thing and own music. We released our first single Don’t stand too close in September 2019 and after that we realized we were starting to have enough material for a whole album. We decided to finish it and release it. The road wasn’t too hard I’d say, we had a good flow and basically didn’t limit ourselves or exclude any ideas. The pandemic did not affect us too much since we do recordings in our own studio space but the mixing took a bit longer since our mixer couldn’t get to his office for a while.

Pix666: Now the time has already come for album number two.The new single has just been released – a great foretaste of the new songs.  What can fans expect on the album – are there some differences from the first album and when will it be released?

Lily: Our overall sound has gotten a bit harder and heavier since releasing Awful Hits For Women. We have improved our recording process and equipment which I’m sure can be heard in our upcoming material. We also started co-operation with mixer Sami Niittykoski who kinda ”got us” from the very beginning and it’s very easy to work with him. The album will be released in 2022, but we still don’t have a specific date of release. I’d say the album will come out during the first six months on 2022 – unless something dramatic happens.

Pix666: Were you actually allowed to play concerts in the past – and if so, how was the atmosphere? In Germany we actually had concerts where you had to wear your mask all the time…

Lily: We didn’t actually do many live shows before the pandemic but the feedback we got from the audience of the few gigs we played was good. Since the pandemic canceled basically all live shows we participated in a live stream event called Poristriimi and also produced two live streams ourselves. So no masks required as people were able to participate in the show from the safety of their homes.

In summer and fall 2021 we played four live shows altogether and the atmosphere was amazing every time! People finally got to listen to real live music in the summer 2021 after a long break when the restrictions were loosened in finland and they really enjoyed it. The feedback we got as a band was all positive and it sure was great for us to do live shows after a long while! We are planning to do some live shows in the spring 2022 but also focus on the upcoming album.

Pix666: Let’s talk a little bit about your songs. How do you create your songs? Is there a certain plan? Who in the band is responsible for what and what themes are the lyrics of your songs about?

Lily: It varies a lot! Usually there is no plan, we just let the creativity flow. It might be the lyrics that come first or a cool guitar riff or just a chord progression that sounds good. We are all connaisseurs of our own instruments of course but we still spar eachothers’ ideas and doings. There are basically no specific ”jobs” for none of us, if someone has an idea they would like to try, we’ll try it.

Our lyrics are about life in general. I was going through a divorce and starting a single life when we first started the band and the sort of heartbreak and also hopefullness can be heard in the ”Awful Hits For Women”’s lyrics. But the themes might also be about current news stories or just basically the struggles or joys of life. And sex and alcohol of course! But I’d say that the lyrics of the second album are more about the life around us than straight from our own lives.

Pix666: What are you doing to make the band and the songs more popular?

Lily: We don’t really think about popularity when making music. Our basis is to make music we ourselves would like to listen to and if it sounds good to others too, then great. But we really don’t consider popularity when creating stuff.

Pix666: Do you look at the statistics of your social media channels – either just out of curiosity, or perhaps even to deduce important things from it?

Lily: We follow it to some extent but personally I’m not that into statistics. I value straight feedback from our listeners and fans far more than figures.

Pix666: Tell me a little bit about your dreams…. In which locations or at which festivals would you like to perform and with which band(s) would you like to go on tour in the future?

Lily: Go big or go home! Really I haven’t given it a deep thought but it might be cool to play abroad some day – maybe at some of the festivals in Europe! I’m kinda ”go with the flow” sort of a person so I don’t really think about specific festivals or bands I’d want us to co-operate.

Pix666: What do you do when you’re not busy with music? Do you have some – maybe typically Finnish – hobbies?

Lily: I try to keep fit by running and gym training and other random sports as well. We all have day jobs and the guys all have families that also take up their time, but I think we all have good balance in our lives.

Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?   

Lily: Well… I don’t know if I’m really allowed to tell this but… our next song to be released just went into mastering and it is gonna kick some serious ass! It’s a real power bitch anthem following the footsteps of ”Bad Bitch”. So stay tuned for that!

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck with the new songs and stay healthy!!!



photos © by Hannu Ikonen & Markus Koskinen