Slumber Parties, Blue Velvet, and Nostalgia: An Interview With Lila Drew

emilytreadgold #1, Features

Lila Drew just dropped her gorgeous EP "locket (side one)" and I can't get enough of her raw, vulnerable lyrics and intricate spacey sounds. We talked to her about the new EP and not taking shit from men.

How did you get started in music?

Lila: I get this question a lot, and I never really know how to answer it. Music was (and is) something in my life that’s been a huge force. Music is everything to me. I started singing and writing pretty young and realized by the start of high school that all I want it to do music and how lucky I would be if I could do something I loved so much as a career. I just kept writing and singing and recording my own demos! I would always procrastinate doing school work so I could learn Ableton. someone heard my demos and introduced me to a producer who I started working with, and everything kind of spiraled from there.

Tell me about the EP, what’s the story behind it?

Lila: This EP, called locket (side one), is a small selection of a larger collection of songs that I've made over the past two years. I didn’t really create the songs with the intention of them all going together, but found that a lot of the themes I was writing about were very similar - nostalgia, the importance of my childhood memories, the transition from young adulthood to slightly older adulthood, the anxiety that comes with growing up, and the first challenges with heartbreak. I wrote “faded/2am” (which features Goldlink and has a special extended version on this EP!) almost two years ago, but I only wrote “nothing” a few months ago. I kept adding and subtracting songs from this EP - it was so cool to craft a narrative out of my own music, it really shows my own personal growth over the past two years and I think that’s pretty special. as for the title of the EP, I’ve worn a locket around my neck for a while now, and love the symbolism that goes with the jewelry piece. it’s something personal and even secretive that evokes old memories. I feel like the name of the EP matches the music perfectly.

Which song do you feel like was the hardest to write?

Lila: "hide" was definitely the hardest to write. It’s the most personal song on the EP and I was really trying to not shy away from those deeply personal aspects. I was worried it would sound too sweet or too young. it’s also one of my favorite songs on the EP though! I love the last minute of "hide", it’s sonically my favorite part of the EP.

I LOVE that your EP release was slumber party themed, why did you go that route and why is it important for the fans to be involved?

Lila: Thank you! I’m obsessed with nostalgia. My friends make fun of me for how much I use the word! I think our childhoods follow us throughout adulthood and that it’s really important to be able to connect with that freedom and carefreeness that comes with being really young. I thought a slumber party theme was the perfect way to capture that and allow people to enjoy music and art in a safe space. I think it’s important for fans to be involved because those are the people helping my music get out there and listening and sharing and really caring about the music I’m making. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to have the slumber party! I really wanted to bring fans and friends and family together. It’s so cool to get a DM or meet someone that genuinely connects to the music you’re making. So many people are consuming music at a crazy fast pace, so it’s amazing to meet people who understand what I’m making and are real fans of the music.

What was the inspiration behind the video for “take it back”?

Lila: I shot the take it back video with these amazing directors in Chicago called Weird Life Films! We all loved the idea of finding peace and happiness in solitude - that’s kind of the theme of the whole video. Visually, we were inspired by David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. That’s one of my favorite movies of all time - I watched it in my 11th grade film class and was so blown away by it. For my performance section of the video, we were definitely inspired by classic 80s performance music videos.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in your career?

Lila: It’s been really tough this past year having to balance music and school. I am about to graduate high school, so getting school work done, applying to college, and working on new music, visuals, and keeping up with social media has been difficult. Somehow I’ve gotten through senior year while releasing 4 songs and consistently working on visuals and being in the studio! I’m taking a gap year starting in the fall so I can fully focus on music, then heading off to college after that. I’m really excited to be able to open my mind in college, I think it will only inform my writing!

What’s your best piece of advice for young women?

Lila: Recognize your worth as a woman, fight for policy you believe in, vote for other females who have the same values as you, don’t be afraid to speak your mind. It’s been pretty clearly proven over the past 3 years that the US government doesn’t respect women, and I really believe it’s our time more than ever to stand up and fight and not take shit from any man. 

Follow Lila Drew on Instagram and Twitter and listen to her new EP now.

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