Back in March, this little gem appeared in my inbox:
Months later, Louis Reeve of Lilah and I finally pulled it together and completed the interview we’d been meaning to accomplish. Despite the 7,540 miles and 20 hour time difference between Bozeman, MT and Wellington, New Zealand, we got to the bottom of what Lilah is about. This three-piece has a sound that is both unexpected and ingenious. I hear a mash-up of dream, indie and garage rock, rolled into a neat little package. As I mention in the first question, there isn’t much out there about these guys so this interview is a very special peek into the beating heart of Lilah.
MFL: I did a light dig through the internet and couldn’t find much about you guys! Who makes up Lilah and how did you come together?
The band is a collaboration between Jo Cain, Christian Williams and myself.
Jo and I had been playing together on and off since going to high school together.
We eventually formed the band through long jams/experiments at his old Warehouse space in the suburb of Miramar in Wellington. Christian became involved when we decided that we needed a mother fucker on the drums to complete the picture.
We have consciously avoided a proper web presence!
MFL: Since we’re approaching the holiday, can you explain why your second album is called Christmas?
There is no real reason for the album title Christmas. For some reason it seemed to suit the set – I always thought that the material sounded quite upbeat. Although this is counter-balanced with lyrical themes of existential concern. The title is also just an immature joke.
MFL: If you were to brag about yourselves and say you lovingly sounded like some of your favorite bands, what bands would they be?
We half-jokingly referred to the band as Surf – Drone music however our musical tastes between us are far-reaching. Some of our shared inspirations that feed into the band are Spacemen 3, The Chills, David Bowie and I particularly love guitarist Dick Dale.
MFL: I love the long intros to all of your tracks. At first listen, I thought it might be an instrumental record but then the vocals kick in. Do these long intros say anything about how you all like to write music or maybe what you think makes an excellent song? That said, I do love the instrumental tracks on the album.
I like to use long introductions to “set the scene”. To build a sense of engagement and mystery without jumping straight in (to vocal sections).
I also wasn’t so confident singing and would rather just play guitar. Although on this set I was also aiming for a punk approach to singing.
The instrumentals are more conceptual soundtrack work – something I would like to try at some point.
MFL: Who are you listening to these days? If you feel up to it, give me your top 3 albums of 2017.
I have been listening to George Harrison’s solo albums and Roy Orbison – also earlier Dub music from Jamaica’s Trojan Records. One of my favourites this year has been Laura Marling’s Semper Femina and I am just getting in to Protomartyr’s Relatives in Descent. Kody Nielson just re-released his e.p. DEVILS which I recommend.
I am thinking back on sweet shows I saw this year. PJ Harvey, Pixies, AURA, Unsanitary Napkin, Wizz Kids, So Laid Back Country China, Draghound, Pam, Ayn Randy, Finn Johansson, Salad Boys.
I finally saw The Chills live which was great. Although I did get kicked out of the show for a short period after the bouncer accused me of smoking a joint in the bathroom. Shamed out to say the least. Heavenly Bong Hit!
MFL: How has Lilah changed since the release of your debut self-titled album and what are the biggest differences between it and Christmas?
The first album is grounded in sample based material and conceptual soundtrack work – but in the form of songs. We had a perfectionist approach, working with our friend and producer Thomas Lambert – it was more of a production than a live set recorded. For the second album we were more interested in a “band” sound – live drums and rough n’ ready takes of songs we had been playing as a three-piece. This was the focus over perfectionism and Jo recorded us on to cassette tape. Capturing the energy of the band was more important than any shortcomings in the sound.
The differences in album approach/method/intention parallels how the band itself grew – incorporating a drummer and focusing more on “songs” as a live band.
MFL: We’ll quickly be coming up on 2 years since your latest release. Anything new coming down the pipe?
We haven’t worked together for a while due to the tyranny of distance. Jo is living in New York and Christian I believe is living in Ireland. I am not so hot on the idea of collaborating through our computers but I am open to ideas.
I have been working on a project called By A Damn Sight and playing bass in Doledrums.
Both projects are about to release recordings.
Jo is playing bass in a local N.Y. band and I think is getting his own e.p. together.
Big thanks to Louis and the guys for taking the time to do this with MFL ❤
Follow Lilah and get all their latest tracks on their Bandcamp page.