It’s exciting times for Sunderland band Lilliput, their debut album Midnight Daydream is complete and ready to be heard. Recorded in Liverpool rather than their home town, it seems it wasn’t just the city which left its mark on them, as guitarist and vocalist James Gilling explains. “While we were recording David Bowie died, which actually hit us harder than we thought. There was a lot of referencing certain ideas in the production of songs while we were in the studio. It’s maybe not overtly there but we wanted things to sound a bit more direct and stripped down at times, like a lot of Bowie tracks.”
Taking a fresh approach to a pop rock genre and moving with what feels good rather than what feels ‘right’, Lilliput’s sound isn’t easy to pin down. Loaded with indie pop jangle, the addition of a heavier Southern California vibe creates the band’s identity.
Do You Love Me opens the album enthusiastically, planting a classic guitar and piano-driven pop hook right into your ears. It’s a progressive foot tapper that could sit with equal comfort amongst Radio 2 and 6Music playlists. Pieces continues to jump with North Eastern edge and Californian sunshine; bright and addictive, it’s My Morning Jacket hunkering down for a lively weekend of whisky and Northumbrian coastlines.
we wanted things to sound a bit more direct and stripped down at times
“Our sound does vary there’s no doubt, but it’s not something that’s consciously aimed for. Laurel Canyon and all that 70s folk rock certainly influences us, as musicians we adore that era, but we’ve also got a lot harder, more direct and driven songs. I think it comes from being very comfortable in playing together and tight as a unit.”
Throughout the album, Lilliput have successfully managed to avoid the technical fluff, serving the songs rather than polish away the rough edges. Heavy Clouds showcases this with a contradictory guitar pop pulse and laidback delivery giving an easy listen.
Now made up of six members, the band formed in 2012 originally as a five-piece. “Some of us live together, others have done in the past so we’re very accustomed to each other’s company! Carmen has just recently joined on keyboards, so things have shifted a little bit; mostly down to how much better organized she is than the rest of us.”
Released independently on the back of a Pledge music campaign, the band discovered the process brought them closer to their fan base. “You’re selling straight to the people who want to hear your music, and they get to pay you directly. I love that. It’s also great to offer people lots of different experiences of buying – some people want a lot of merchandise and some people just want a download. It’s interesting to see how different people engage. Vinyl is great, but we’ve never had a mug before, that’s canny.”
The band’s next live stop is Teesside’s Twisterella festival on Saturday 8th October; the perfect festival band, Lilliput are certain to get the crowd singing along in no time. “Local festivals are amazing to play, mostly because you bump into a lot of people you know or want to meet and of course there is so much talent about.”
Lilliput release Midnight Daydream this month. They play Twisterella Festival, Middlesbrough on Saturday 8th October.