- Words Notion Staff
Indie-folk duo Lilo take us through their musical firsts, from meeting Laura Marling to their inital love of Paramore.
Praised for their ethereality and acoustic hymnals, Lilo are the emerging duo on everyone’s radar. Hailing from London, the life-long friends only officially started releasing music last year but have quickly left a lasting imprint on the country’s burgeoning indie-folk scene. Acting as an EP prelude, set for release in spring, “Just A Thought” is their first single of 2023.
Meeting at school aged 11 in Winchester, Christie Garner and Helen Dixon have cultivated a decade deep bond. Their debut EP ‘Sleep Country’ forecasted slots at esteemed festivals like Latitude, and it’s fair to say that the artists are showing no signs of slowing down.
“Just A Thought”, with its revolving drums and alluring riffs, explores relatable subject matters from a universal perspective. Narrating tales of their mates falling for the wrong men, the track is a beautifully reflective country-pop bop. Influenced by Laura Marling’s finesse and the songwriting of Scandinavian stalwarts First Aid Kit, Lilo’s versatile sound transcends cliches and devises something completely new.
Bouncing off the back of the new single, we spoke with the duo about their musical firsts, from when they met their idol Laura Marling to their love of Paramore.
First song you ever made?
Helen – Our first song was called “I’m an intensely awkward person”, and we wrote and recorded it at school together. I’m pretty sure that we were onto something great. The lyric sheet fell out of an old guitar case the other day and I sent a picture to Christie – I can’t find her response, but it was something like ‘this made me feel sick’.
First CD or record you owned?
Helen – I was left to my own devices when it came to my music taste as a kid, so I remember scouring HMV for the cover art I liked best. For this reason, my first CD was ‘Queen’s Greatest Hits’, and I will have to live with that for the rest of my life.
Christie – I bought Paramore’s ‘Brand New Eyes’ and continue to rinse it to this day.
First time you realised you wanted to do music full time?
Helen – For years and years, Christie and I made music together. I don’t know, as it wasn’t so much a career goal as something that felt integral to our selves, giving us something to hold onto as we navigated adolescence. So I actually don’t know if I ever consciously decided that I wanted to do music full time, or if it’s always felt like a given that in some capacity, it’s just what I do.
Christie – I think I promptly realised as A-Levels approached that I simply didn’t want to do anything else. I didn’t want to go to school (which I did) and didn’t want to go to uni (which I also did), but everything has always felt like it’s happening alongside what I actually want, which is to make music.
First gig and first festival you went to?
Helen – My first gig was Paramore at the O2, and I wore the tour t-shirt under my school uniform for weeks afterwards. A couple of years later, a friend’s mum took us to End of the Road festival and it opened my eyes to the folk music that I now basically live and breathe. Actually I think that’s when I decided I wanted to be a musician.
Christie – The place: Romsey. The artist: Billy Ocean. The company: My mum and her friends. Wouldn’t have had it any other way.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
Helen – During our GCSEs, our music teacher told us that we couldn’t call a song we were writing ‘The Ballad of Helen and Christie’.
Christie – He said ‘it’s egotistical’ and neither of us knew what the word egotistical meant.
First instrument you owned?
Helen – I genuinely think I peaked, personally and professionally at age six, when I taught myself to read music on a recorder from the Early Learning Centre.
Christie – I also had a recorder that sometimes still makes appearances in our musical exploits. I feel like this might have been a near universal experience for people at primary school in the early 2000s.
First time you felt like giving up?
Christie – I think it’s very easy to feel like giving up and I feel it all the time, however I never give any weight to the idea and feel like (and touch wood this doesn’t happen) if everything went wrong from here on out we’d still be keeping going and writing our songs.
Helen – In equal measure: every time the smallest thing has gone wrong, and also never to-this-day.
First time you felt starstruck?
Christie – I once saw Laura Marling in Arket and thought ‘Ah goodness it’s Laura Marling’, but alas I let her continue with her Christmas shopping.
Helen – I served Laura Marling an oat flat white at work and it took everything in me to hold it together. Wow we are so on brand as a band.
First time you realised you’d made it?
Helen – The first time someone (two people) believed in us enough to want to work with us. When we met our now-managers, Will and Sinead, it felt like maybe this small town band thing that we’d been doing for so long was turning into something bigger.
Christie – I think the parameters of ‘making it’ are so constantly shifting that it’s a very hard feeling to grasp. Everything that’s happened to us in the last 3 years has pushed me further towards that feeling, but the tangibility of holding our feature in Loud and Quiet was a lovely feeling, or holding my copy of ‘Sleep Country’, I’m a simple girl who likes holding things.