The duo reflect on a huge year for their own project and the music that soundtracked it.
Having played together since their time at school together, lilo were ready to start 2022 strong. Back in January, they released their beautiful debut EP Sleep Country (see what we made of it here!). The collection crystallised their breathtaking ear for harmonies across five tracks that evolved an original sound from folk and americana influences. Since then, the group have played extensively, mainly in their native London but also across the festival circuit. We hosted them at our own August bank holiday weekender, and also caught them at Cardiff’s Sŵn festival, just after the release of their latest single ‘Settled’. Here, Christie and Helen let us know how they have found this whirlwind year and recap some musical favourites of that time.
This year in lilo
Helen: I think I mean this in a good way, but this has been the longest year of my life. The idea that January 2022 was less than twelve months ago is wild. At the beginning of the year, we released our first EP, Sleep Country, and got to hold lilo vinyls in our hands for the first time. Heading straight back to the studio with producer Joseph Futak, we started work on a second EP, which we began releasing last month. We signed to Dalliance Recordings and had Will and Sinead from Practise Music become our managers. We changed our live band set-up and played our first big festivals; we started figuring out the parameters of indie-folk music, and working out our place within it. We changed the lilo colour scheme and hired out a leisure centre swimming pool. Most notably, we formed some very life-affirming friendships this year, and got to work alongside unbelievably talented people who we really care about. A big year!
Christie: It’s been an extremely exciting year in lilo that I think has seen us get closer as friends/band mates/soul mates/sometimes house mates. We’ve had some amazing experiences playing over the UK and we had our first ever exceptionally chaotic ‘festival season’ this summer, after which I felt suitably reborn. A real highlight was definitely driving around 5 hours to Middlesbrough and playing the loveliest show to the most attentive crowd who made every second of the journey worth it.
Albums of the Year
MUNA – MUNA
This summer was quite turbulent for us personally, and as a band we descended into a sort of semi-permanent hysteria. We were spending a lot of time on the road between shows, and despite everything else going on, I will say with my whole chest that there is no better experience than screaming along to this album in the car with your best mates. All killer no filler 10/10.
MJ Lenderman- Boat Songs
I am so sorry if you know me in real life and I’ve already freaked you out by talking about my obsession with ‘good luck albums’. But Boat Songs by MJ Lenderman was this year’s good luck album, for some reason the universe brought me good tidings when I listened to it and so it shall be chained to my heart and being forever. It’s one of those records I’m never not in the mood for. All killer no filler 10/10.
Weyes Blood And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow
It is a late entry in the year but And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow by Weyes Blood has got to be in there for me. I was saying to our drummer recently, ‘ngl if Weyes Blood burped into a microphone for 45 minutes and released that I’d still love it’. Despite my inherent bias this was an exceptional and beautiful record that got me through some very tough times this year (sensing a theme with our reviews here). This record perfectly encapsulates so many notions of disconnection and desire for belonging that I feel and see in the people around me as we gradually build and piece together who we are in a desperately turbulent world. To hear it realised with such romance is mesmerising. All killer no filler 10/10.
Songs of the Year
Helen: ‘Simulation Swarm’ by Big Thief hits different.
Christie: Grove- ‘Sound of the Underground’. Grove x Girls Aloud there’s nothing more anyone could ever ask for. You thought this song was mad the first time? Well.
Helen: Moving into a new home after months at the mercy of a housing crisis. The comforting reinstatement of mundanity.
Christie: Um, playing Rough Trade East? My teenage self died and went to heaven.
Top Live Shows
Helen: Sorry to be that guy but Paul McCartney at Glastonbury changed my life. When he played ‘Here Today’ that he’d written for John, with all the things he wished he could say to him, I started thinking about what if something happened to Christie and thought I was going to die. Anyway, then he played Hey Jude and I’m SORRY but seeing a Beatle play The Beatles’ songs was absolutely unbelievable.
1. I went to see Father John Misty with the Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican for £10. There were more world changing moments in that set than there were pound coins for my ticket, I’ll tell ya that much.
2. Seeing our friend Jemima Coulter play their show at The Crofters Rights in Bristol was a real lump in the throat evening for me. Seeing them perform the songs I’d been replaying over and over on the dropbox link in real life to a room full of people almost as in love with Jem as I am was something really special.
3. I’d also like to say every show I’ve seen at the Cavendish Arms in Stockwell has been amazing and so well curated. Sox has done an amazing job putting shows on this year and every one has been a belter.
4. I’m being greedy and choosing 4 but also…. 100 gecs at Porto Primavera, if you weren’t there do listen to them.