Lillye is a powerful, female-fronted rock band based in Sydney, Australia. Drummer Bennet Livingston took some time out of the hectic schedule to give us this interview.
How would you describe your music?
Loud, heavy, groovy, raw but melodic. I’d also describe Virginia as one of the world’s great rock singers.
Tell us about how the history of the band?
Christian (bass), and Matt (guitar), have known each other for many years, and were looking to start a band with a female vocalist. Low and behold, Christian then meets Virginia (vocals) while working on a separate project, stars align and they realise they’re on a similar page musically, and as it happened, Virginia and I’ gigged together around Sydney for a number of years. We all got together and in 2014 we released our debut EP. Since then we’ve been on an amazing ride and we’ve just released our debut album; Evolve. We’ve been blown away by the response so far!
What are you influences/ musical heroes?
Some of the bands we love include Tool, Sevendust, Cog, NIN, Skunk Anansie, Pink Floyd, Karnivool. From a drumming perspective some of my favourites include Danny Carey, Buddy Rich, Gavin Harrison, Chad Smith, Josh Freese, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lucius Borich, John Bonham. The list goes on…
What inspires you?
Life, music, nature, the beach, kick ass live bands. At the moment, I’m really digging Joe Rogan’s podcasts. Some of the guests he has on blow my mind! Recently he had on Matthew Walker, a Neuroscientist who specializes in sleep. Sounds like the most boring topic but it was one of the most interesting and important 2-hour discussions I’ve heard in a long time. Check it out!
Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?
We’ve done a little writing on the road, specifically when we played in the Middle East, and Virginia was inspired to write ‘In the End’, which is a track off our new album. Predominantly the writing takes place in Christian’s studio; (Machine Men Studios). Matt will go around to Christian’s studio and lay down some initial ideas, then Virginia will add her magic, then I’ll throw in some rhythmic ideas, and from there the foundation of a track is born and we bring it to life from there.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
It tends to change from time to time, but at the moment my favourites to play live are ‘It Is What It Was’, ‘Chained’, and ‘In The End’.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Whoa! There are many, many dream tours we’d like to be a part of! Big European festivals like Download, Rock am Ring, Reading, Roskilde etc would be insane! I’ve been incredibly fortunate to play the Sydney Opera House, but I’ve always dreamt of playing historic venues like Wembley Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Red Rocks. Right now, If I had to pick a few bands to share the stage with, the ones that come to mind are Tool, Living Colour, Rage Against the Machine, Cog, NIN, Sevendust. They’re all exceptional live bands. Sharing a stage with any of those bands would be a dream!
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
It’s such an interesting time. Obviously, it’s an incredibly difficult time financially for a lot of bands. Hardly anyone buys music any more. It’s all about streaming. I still buy the albums of the bands I love, but I buy less music than I used to. Where does the industry go from here? I’m not sure. I love that the internet has opened up the playing field for so much music to be available to a wide audience, but there’s very little quality control. The one thing that’s crucial moving forward is for artists to be paid fairly for their work.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
We have a lot of fun. All I’ll say is that most of the funniest / weirdest experiences on tour tend to involve our impressively bearded guitarist, Matt, who is one of the loveliest humans you’ll ever meet, but prone to getting himself into very interesting situations! I really can’t go into details about some of Matt’s stories though, they’re not fit for print. Best you come and meet him at a show!
What are your future plans?
Well our debut album; ‘Evolve’, has only just come out, and we’ve been blessed with some amazing reviews, and we have some exciting opportunities ahead. We’ll continue to keep smashing shows, keep writing and recording, and keep working towards hopefully hitting some of those festivals and stages mentioned earlier!