Emerging French Indie outfit Black Lilys create ‘dark pop’ music, inspired by pain and grief.
The brother-sister duo use nature and loss as inspiration, and turn their somber emotions into folky, atmospheric tunes. The emotive music is organic and smooth, filled with husky, breathless vocals and soft guitar plucking; reminiscent of Angus & Julia Stone or Wilsen. Black Lilys allow their vulnerability to fuel their songwriting process, resulting in hauntingly beautiful tunes.
We caught up with Camille & Robin Faure to discuss their latest single, ‘Yaläkta’, having a song in Netflix’s Elite, and their journey to forming a brother-sister duo.
How did you come up with the name Black Lilys?
We wanted something that would sound dark and bright at the same time. Just like nature can be.
You grew up listening to Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel, how have these artists influenced your sound?
Indeed, we listened to a lot of folk, acoustic music. This music never gets old. On our new single, Yaläkta, we wanted to reach back to that sound.
Your sound is described as “Dark pop”, What does this mean?
It actually comes from a previous interview, where our music was described as « dark pop ». It made us smile, we never really thought that actually pop could be dark. We felt it was well describing the contrast of our music, balancing between intimate moments and powerful explosions.
How can you describe this sound for new listeners?
It is never easy for us to describe our music, the words that come to me are atmospheric, organic, sensitive with a bit of anger.
Who are your favourite artists to listen to?
At the moment, Leonard Cohen, Balthazar, Mac Miller, Ane Brun, Half moon run,
You formed a band after the loss of your mother. How does grief influence your sound?
It actually influenced everything and gave birth to Black Lilys. We probably wouldn’t have started to play together if things didn’t happen the way it did. We created this safe place, where we could question what we needed to.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Is heartbreak or loss vital when writing a song?
You can use every sort of emotions to write songs, but indeed, I feel the urge to write when I am down.
Cam : I don’t know, it is different for everyone, I guess. [Debut album] Boxes was a painful and peaceful therapy. It helped us to get through this period.
What challenges do you face working together as siblings?
Well, we know each other by heart and it can be annoying sometimes like best friends can be.
We don’t know [how it has effected our relationship] because we play together since we are teenagers. We’ve always had this close relationship, the band just gave us more time to spend together.
You’re French, what made you chose to sing in English?
Cam : Growing up, mainly English artists were played at home. It really inspired us. I also love how English sound with my voice.
You’re gaining quite a following. How did getting played on Netflix’s Elite soundtrack come about and what was your reaction?
It was funny! We knew one of our songs would be featured in Netflix’s Elite but we didn’t think it would reach as many people.
Our song ‘Nightfall’ reached 1million streams, It was crazy. People from all over the world were posting our music, sending us messages in every language. And still today! It’s magical when you realise that people are listening to your music in countries you’ve never been yet.
How does living in Scotland influence your songwriting practice and what is it about nature that helps you create music?
We don’t live in Scotland but we are spending most of our time there. It will influence a lot our future album. We fell in love with the country, the locals are really nice and like to make you feel home, the music community is fantastic. We met so many great musicians here.
Our new songs were written in a tiny flat in Edinburgh by the shore. During the weekends we had many breaks by the mountains. The nature is so wild over there.
How did you come up with the title Yaläkta for your latest single? What does the song mean to you?
Yaläkta is a made-up word from an imaginary language. There was not a word to squeeze the exact meaning of the song that’s why we had to invent a new one.
I don’t think it’s important what it means to me because a song becomes powerful when it means something unique for everyone. Yaläkta is a frozen moment, it’s a goodbye but also a ray of hope for tomorrow.
What was the process for creating your album, “Boxes?”
We are really proud of this album because it was not easy to record it and most of the songs are about a dark period of our life. We had to record it move on.
How do you prepare to play festivals and how is it different than playing more intimate gigs?
For festivals and bigger venues, we play with our drummer, Benoit, and we select our more energetic songs. Unfortunately, the situation forced a lot of festivals to cancel but we can’t wait to be back.
Black Lilys will be releasing new music throughout 2020 and rearranging their UK tour. Find out more at www.blacklilys-music.com