Rare Candy sat down with Emily Rawlings (vocals/guitar), Sean Camargo (guitar/vocals), and Andrea Caccese of Brooklyn-based dream pop group Lillet Blanc. Lillet Blanc combines 60s pop with modern textures to create melancholy songs with sassy lyrics.
RARE CANDY: How’s playing live going? What’s that like for you guys?
Andrea Caccese: For me, a big part of playing live is also seeing other bands. Last night, every band was nice and the people were fun to hang out with. Everyone wants to make art instead of just being seen and being rock stars.
Sean Camargo: We see ourselves slowly rising and getting better at our instruments. I haven’t been playing guitar for too long, neither has Emily.
Emily Rawlings: No, not at all.
AC: We’re all sort of transplanted musicians. Sean is a drummer playing guitar, I’m a guitarist playing bass, and Emily is a pianist playing guitar.
RC: Have you taken any lessons?
SC: No, not in guitar, but on our original instruments. It’s nice to see us progressing live. It’s an exciting thing to see. We always have to work hard.
ER: It’s true. The shows have been good. The bands that we’ve played with have always been super sweet.
RC: You’re originally from Boston. How is the music scene in Boston different from New York?
ER: Boston’s awesome. They have really great house venues. As far as all ages and DIY spaces go, a couple of new venues are opening up, but they’re a little behind New York in that way.
SC: All the bands that we like always come out of DIY house shows. It’s great to see these types of bands really hone their craft and not have to worry about selling tickets or anything like that. They can solely focus on music and they get to play these small houses here and there. But then I guess they reach a cap and then everyone tends to leave Boston because they can only get so far there.
RC: Is that why you came to NYC?
SC: We love New York, so that’s why we came. It’s not like we were huge in Boston or anything.
ER: We hadn’t even played in Boston. We moved when we had just started writing.
RC: How did Andrea become part of the band?
AC: I was at Rough Trade and I saw their ad on the wall. They were looking for a bass player and the bands that they liked seemed pretty nice—I like shoegaze and things like that—so I just contacted them. Apparently, I was the only person who contacted them.
SC: Yeah, the first and last.
ER: We were like, “Alright, cool we’re going to go meet this bassist at the City of Saints.” We got there, and he was listening to our EP.
SC: That’s always weird—to see someone listen to your stuff right in front of you.
ER: Then, we met Nate, our drummer, through mutual friends from Boston. He just moved here, as well.
AC: He was at a lot of our shows before, actually.
SC: Yeah, he was at our first Brooklyn show.
RC: So it was just the two of you (Sean and Emily) for the first EP, and now a full band for the second one?
ER: Yeah, another guy played bass and then Sean did drums for the first EP.
RC: How’s the second EP coming?
ER: It’s so tantalizingly close to being done.
RC: Do you have a release date?
SC: No, right now it’s just a hopeful release date. We’re going to finish it up pretty soon.
AC: We recorded drums in a studio in Boston and then we recorded almost everything else in my apartment. I think it sounds grittier than the previous EP. It’s more representative of how we sound live, I think.
Photos of Lillet Blanc at Rare Candy's Halloween Horror Story Show (Oct 28) by Lena Nelson
RC: I noticed during the live show you had a lot of noise in between songs. Is it more like that sound?
ER: Yeah, definitely! A little more distortion and fuzz.
AC: Also, I think this EP sounds a lot more personal than it would have sounded if it was recorded in a studio, because we used our own equipment. When you go to a studio, you have a perfect vintage amp and you want to use that. Now, we’re just stuck, for better or for worse, with what we have.
RC: So for that EP are you going to have cassettes? CDs?
ER: Yeah, cassettes.
SC: I don’t think we’re really avid CD users.
RC: So you like having the cassettes more?
SC: Yeah, it’s either that or vinyl. If we happen to come up with that kind of money, that’d be nice.
AC: Cassettes are also fairly easy to make. It’s a good format to have at a small show. Doesn’t matter if it’s a hundred people or five people, there’s always someone that wants to buy a little cassette for five dollars.
ER: And most bands we play with do cassettes, so you can do little trades.
SC: It’s like Pokémon cards.
RC: I love the artwork for the first EP. Are you going to have the same style for the second?
ER: My sister did the artwork for the first EP. I gave her some ideas and prints, and it was awesome. I don’t think it’ll be exactly the same thing.
SC: We haven’t really thought about it yet.
RC: Do you have a name for the second EP yet?
ER: Casco Bay. It’s a place in Maine.
RC: What made you guys want to start playing together in this band?
SC: Emily and I were into the same music and were just like, “we could probably do that.”
ER: I didn’t know how to play guitar at all, so Sean was teaching me very basic things. I was so bad. I would just play two chords back and forth for an hour.
SC: The only thing that made us actually get something down was a class project. Then, we liked it and we decided to pursue it. So we carried it here, found some good musicians, and are letting it progress.
AC: I came to New York and wanted to make some good music. I’ve always been a situation where I created bands, but I wanted to do something that was not my brainchild. It’s another approach to creating music that still requires creativity, but it’s different than writing your own songs and telling people what to do all the time. It’s more like trying to fit your own sensibility into a different picture and it forces you to think differently than you would normally.
RC: Any advice you’ve ever been given that’s really meant a lot to you and stuck with you?
AC: Always check if your zipper is up while on stage. Sometimes you walk off the stage, and your pants are wide open, which is not a nice sight for the audience. I’m not joking; that’s something I really do.
SC: Just have fun. A lot of the time, you get so caught up in “God, I’m about to play a show” and you forget to have fun. Then you don’t end up getting into your fun zone until the last song and you’re like, “Aw, I just spent all that time…” That happens to me a lot.
AC: You always stress out, because you want to play well and impress people, but sometimes that can overwhelm you and get in the way of a good show.
ER: I think we’re all getting better at that.
AC: One thing I’ve experienced is that sometimes even if you think you had a bad show, maybe it wasn’t a bad show for your audience. I always try to stay positive. There’s always someone that had a different perspective.
RC: Other than checking your fly, do you have any pre-show rituals?
AC: I want to be ready to be pulled up on stage at any time, so I just get my stuff ready and then sit near the stage, waiting to go on.
ER: I don’t do a lot of talking right before going on. I have to chill for a second. You just have to take a moment to be chill before you play.
SC: I like having a drink before a set.
RC: Do you have any friends or bands you’d like to shout out?
ER: Oh, Malô’s great! Bat House. I/O. Plastic Waves.
SC: Holy Golden.
Listen to Lillet Blanc / buy their music on Bandcamp: https://lilletblanc.bandcamp.com/
Check out their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilletblancmusic/