Lili has big hopes as Beach Bunny, and she sees herself writing more, maybe a bit more abstractly, but writing nonetheless. At the moment, you’ll find her playing a bunch of local shows in Chicago and at basement shows with other local artists. But she’s a dedicated attendee; her ultimate goal right now is playing Lollapalooza sometime in the future. And again, you really should follow her on social media cause she’s real funny, I swear.
A friend of mine recommended I check out Emilie & Ogden after they saw the young harpist in support of Half Moon Run.
When I listened to the current single, “10 000” a few times over, I kept seeing this scene of an imaginary movie replaying in my mind. It was as if I had been given a book, and when I opened it this song started playing. As I paged further into the book there were all these little fold outs and pop ups and little graceful details of color and illustration and glitter. All pieces of it were so delicate and precisely planned out, creating this enchanting, pocket-sized universe.
As a child, Emilie was given a hand-me-down flute, which she studied, unattached, until college. She sang in a number of hobby bands that never lasted long, but it was with these bands that she came to enjoy performing. She fell in love with the harp while watching the incredible harpist Sarah Pag performing with her school’s choir. Entirely entranced, she found a Craigslist teacher the next day, and shortly after accepted Ogden, her majestic, 38-string harp, as a part of her life.
The dedicated harpist and songwriter, Emilie, has worked with her producer and skilled arranger of whimsy, Jesse Mac Cormack, since her professional start in her late teens. He collabed with her on her first EP, self-titled, and they continued together with her most recent release, an LP titled, that was out in late 2015.
The tracks on this album are all-encompassing, but entirely unique at the same time. In the song “What Happened,” we hear Emilie begin with melodies reminiscent of a lullaby, just her and Ogden, but in the chorus the piano and drum accompaniment compliments what she’s already laid out creating a sway-inducing sound, for me anyway. The steady kick drum in the chorus of “Babel” gives it a bit of edge without overpowering the intentional daintiness of the song.
Her music has taken the Montreal based artist across the globe to Europe, mostly the UK, opening for Half Moon Run, Patrick Watson, Ibeyi, Tigran, Les Soeurs Boulay, Folly & The Hunter, The Franklin Electric, just to mention a few. She’s headed back in early March for some of her first headline shows in the UK; you can catch Emilie & Ogden in Leeds, Manchester, London, and Bristol!
(Editor’s note: This piece was originally written for The Indie Daydreamer)
Lili Trifilio is the girl who recorded her debut EP in her parents’ bedroom under the moniker Beach Bunny. At the young age of 19, the Chicago native is currently balancing a budding music career as a singer/songwriter while taking classes full time at DePaul University. Being a fellow Hippo Campus fan, attributing the inspiration for her EP to them, a Midwesterner, and absolutely hilarious on social media, she and I hit it off immediately.
Lili began taking guitar lessons as a preteen, and continued through junior high when she got into indie/alt. music; “someone showed me Foster the People and I was like ‘Wow this is different’ [. . .] I think once you start [listening to indie/alt music], there’s no going back!” She kept at it, continued practicing, self-teaching, and writing songs through high school when she realized that, “there’s some passion here.” It was then that Lili decided this very well could be something she wanted to pursue professionally.
She had plans to record an EP set for the summer of 2016, but when she went home for winter break (which happened to be 6 weeks long, the title of the EP’s hit!) she found herself with much free time and decided that she was going to do it right then. Lili did everything herself, from recording and producing, to the cover art. “There’s this spot in my parents room that has nice acoustics, and I just shut every door in the house and told everyone not to make any noise!”
Beach Bunny’s first EP Animalism was released December 16th 2015 with four tracks all with this very uniquely light and airy sound, fitting for the name Beach Bunny, which she says was given to her by a friend. The songs are all very much relatable love songs with crisp clear vocals, and attention grabbing tempo changes. The first track on Animalism, 6 Weeks starts out sounding like the very meaning of the word “pretty”, but then slows in the bridge and demands your awareness with goose bump-inducing vocals that rise with intensity, then settles and rests into the sweetness of the calm that was before the storm in the beginning of the song.