It is officially Sham Jam Eve which means tomorrow is WRVU’s first live virtual concert featuring Samia, Lala Lala, *repeat repeat, and OHMME! The next artist spotlight is on Lillie West of Lala Lala, a Chicago-based artist who makes raw, intimate indie dream pop.
Born in Los Angeles, raised in London, and now based in Chicago, Lillie West has been creating art throughout all the different stages in her life. She studied visual arts at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts after moving back to LA from London when she was 12. She went to high school with Phoebe Bridgers, who, in her March 2020 Amoeba “What’s In My Bag” interview, said that West was the cool kid in her high school and that it was “completely unfair that she entered music and just completely destroyed the scene with her perfect record [The Lamb].” West then attended the Art Institute of Chicago where she continued to study visual arts.
Since she spent the majority of her childhood in the UK, West always felt as though she greatly missed out on major aspects of American culture, so in high school and college, she became obsessed with listening to music so that she could catch up on what she missed. While West was always interested in creating music, it wasn’t until a college classmate convinced her to buy a guitar on Craigslist that she decided to ditch visual arts and pursue a career in music.
Her debut album Sleepyhead, released in 2016, is full of songs about getting high, drinking, and hanging out with friends. While Sleepyhead remains a great album, full of heavy guitar and indie-pop sounds, West says she feels “almost no connection to” it as she was heavily drinking during its creation. After a period of partying and putting the band on the back burner, West decided to become sober and changed all aspects of her life.
After the death of a close friend and a break-in to her home, West began to spend a lot of time by herself in which she wrote her critically acclaimed sophomore album The Lamb. West’s Bandcamp page describes The Lamb as an illustration of “her fraught insecurity, struggles with addiction, and the loss of several people close to [West].” The album incorporates several instruments, including saxophone, synths, guitar, and drum machines to mix post-punk with bedroom pop influences on the album. The Lamb received great acclaim from the music world, with many other artists discussing the album as one of the best of 2018.
West went on to tour with the likes of Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridger’s band Better Oblivion Community Center, Twin Peaks, OHMME, Death Cab for Cutie, WHY? and Whitney. She released several collaborations over 2019 and 2020 including Siren 042 with WHY?, a two-song split with Grapetooth, Good For You with Porridge Radio, and € € € €^^%%!!!!!heaven!!!!!! with Baths. Her poster appeared in episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and her song Destroyer was included in Amy Poehler’s movie Moxie (2021). West continues to be a vital part of the Chicago music scene and is continuing to make music, stating that she is beginning to incorporate electronic elements into her songs.
Tune in tomorrow, March 18th at 8 pm to hear Lillie West from Lala Lala perform. Get your e-tickets here and check out some highlights from Lala Lala and the rest of the lineup in this playlist: