Lilo's Wall

by Sam England

It’s a spectacular day in late May, the sun being the most ideal of temperatures and temperaments. In Winchester train station sit Christie Gardner and Helen Dixon, who together form the band Lilo’s Wall. The rising folk-pop duo have taken the time out, on the day after their debut EP release, to be quizzed by me, and this is what they have to say.

You guys have obviously got quite an interesting name, would you mind telling me where that comes from? Christie: Okay well, in the film Lilo and Stitch, Lilo takes loads of pictures of people at the beach, and then puts them on her wall, and so we are Lilo’s Wall of all the pictures, of all the different people, of different sizes, all being beautiful in her eyes. The point is that they’re not stereotypically beautiful people but she thinks that they’re incredible.

Okay, so you released your EP yesterday; what has the response to that been like so far? Helen: It’s been amazing, yeah. In the iTunes singer-songwriter charts we got to number 12 apparently, which is mental. People have been really nice about it, or at least they’ve been nice enough to pretend they like it.

And regardless of what the public reaction has been, how have you guys found the release personally? Christie: I’m quite proud of it, but I think that might be very much down to how long it’s taken us.

How long did it take you? Helen: A year. Christie: About a year. Helen: I personally can’t bear to listen to it, but I think that’s just because it’s us. Christie: It’s definitely just because it’s us.

Yeah, I don’t think you find many musicians who are fine listening to their own music, I think most people tend to leave it to everyone else once it’s released. Christie: Yeah. I let it play on mute for a while to get the Spotify plays up, and I’ve bought it. Helen: Yeah I’ve bought it!

So you said you’ve been working on this for pretty much a year, how does it feel to finally have it out there? Helen: There’s still a little way to go though, isn’t there? We’ve still got to sort out physicals, and it’s only newly released. Christie: Overall though it is quite a relief. Helen: Yeah. Christie: Just to have it on Spotify is a relief. I also thought we were going to get scammed in about a thousand different ways and we’ve just been really lucky that hasn’t happened – definitely a relief.

What was the actual process then, if it has taken so long, presumably you put quite a lot of effort into it? Helen: I think also it’s that we were in full time college, so that didn’t really help. Like studios are free during the weekdays, and then you get to the weekend and they’re like “Sorry we’re fully booked for 7 months”. Christie: We did skip one day of school. Well, I did anyway. I skipped two days of school to go into the studio, and I told everyone in my History class like an arsehole. *Puts on cool voice* “Yeah, I can’t come to class tomorrow because I’m recording in the studio, but I’ll give you all a copy of my album; it’ll be on Radio 1 soon”.

As you mentioned, you guys are still at school full-time, how have you found balancing that with your music? Helen: It’s been alright actually. Christie: I think it would be a lot harder if I actually held my education in high regard. If it was the choice of going to college one day, or a super important gig, I’d definitely choose the super important gig. Helen: Yeah. There was one French exam where I didn’t revise for it because I was doing physical EP ordering. Apart from that though it’s been fine.

Who out of the two of you has the best music taste? Christie: Oh, I do. Helen: I do….No, I think Christie does actually. Christie: Yeah! Helen: I think everyone thinks they have the best music taste. Christie: I don’t know, I think some people can be very self-deprecating about their music taste. Every now and again I’ll listen to The Vamps and just hate myself.

Who would you say is the best dressed? Christie: Helen. By far. By quite a long way. Helen: No, if you look at our YouTube videos, I’ll be there in a hoody and I look like my face is melting off and then there’ll be Christie looking beautiful and immaculate. Christie: Granted, it’s quite often the other way around. Our Pumped Up Kicks video I am in my pyjamas, and I did not wash that day.

As a duo, how do you cope with writing songs together that are quite personal? Is it ever uncomfortable? Christie: With regards to comfort, I think we got over that barrier a long time ago when we stopped writing songs about Pringles and stuff.

And do you ever find you want to take songs in different directions from one another? Christie: I’ve never really wanted to change anything with Helen’s songs to be honest because they’re her songs. Every now and again there might be a word I want to change, but normally we’re quite critical about our songs anyway, so it’s a nice open discussion.

Okay, so, I’ve got one last question for you – do you have any plans for the future? What’s up next for you guys? Christie: It all ends here. Helen: Bye! No, we’ve got an EP launch on the 26th of June at the Mettricks in Southampton. Christie: Sam England and Jemima are supporting us. Helen: And also we’ve got Springtide Festival on the 30th of May. Christie: And we’ve got Wickham Festival. But in terms of long term future… Helen: We’ve got a gap year haven’t we? Christie: Yeah, we’re both taking a gap year and we’re going to go around the country doing some shows. Helen: Yeah, the main plan is to tour around doing living room shows, visiting people at university and sleeping on their floors, all that kind of fun. Christie: Cheap as possible. Helen: We have no money.

Lilo’s Wall’s debut Rowan EP is out now on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.