Twenty-two year old rock
/ new wave singer Tasha-Ray Evin and her twenty-four year old sister Lacey-Lee
defied the odds in 2003 when their band Lillix sold in excess of a half
million copies of their debut CD Falling Uphill. Equally impressive
is the fact that they also battled through the odds of being an all girl
band (at that time) from a small and somewhat isolated Canadian town in
the Rocky Mountains, Cranbrook, British Columbia with a population of 20,000.
Originally signed to Maverick Records in 2001, when Tasha was only sixteen
years old, Tasha and Lacey could not have picked a worse time to begin
their careers, as the music industry was reeling from declining CD sales.
They were also asked by
the WB Television Network to cover The Romantics' song "What I Like About
You," and it became the theme song for the show of the same name that starred
Jennie Garth and Amanda Bynes, while airing between 2002 -2006.
With the release of their
second record Inside the Hollow in 2006, it looked as though Lillix
would continue to build upon the success of Falling Uphill. Maverick
Records however ran into financial difficulty and eventually bit the dust.
Lacey described their disappointment, "No one has had a chance to hear
this ( Inside the Hollow), and it is pretty much due to the lack
of promotion. The record wasn't promoted, and we weren't happy about that.
Maverick went under, and we went under with them. At first (when they were
signed) we were blown a way because we got signed, and then four years
later we weren't on a label anymore," she says.
With extraordinary maturity
and demonstrating steadfast determination Tasha said, "You know what, we
are happy and excited right now, because bands get signed, bands get dropped
and bands get signed (again), it is just the music business. The
ones that keep going are survivors, because they are passionate about their
craft. If you want to keep doing it, or you don't that's your choice.
For Lacey and I it is our choice to keep going. We feel like we are
Shortly after Maverick Records
went down, two of the band members left, bass player Louise Burns and the
group for the third time lost a drummer, this time Alicia Warrington. The
current rendition of Lillix has Scott Thompson as the bassist and Eric
Hoodicoff as the drummer. The band has started to record again, have
begun to do some gigs and like their new sound.
Tasha talked about Lillix's
new look, "I think it has changed the band. We like the same kind
of music, only with different influences. Generally, I think that we are
all on the same page when it comes to what we like and don't like. It has
affected our new music, because it sounds more coherent. It is not all
over the place. I think with all girls there was a little bit of ADD going
on (she giggles). We are really excited because working with guys
is fun. There is no pressure, and it is just so laid back. We can just
have a beer, play music for hours and jam. Everyone is really open-minded.
Maybe, it is because I am little bit older too."
As far as how the two newest
members impact Lillix's sound Tasha said, "We have only recorded two new
songs together, so we have not had a chance to hear what we can come up
with. It is hard to explain, because it comes down to parts. Everybody
brings a different part, and a different element. I think overall there
is a little more rock."
Despite the personnel changes,
the core of Lillix remains intact, "It has always been my sister and I,
writing music and recording music together since we were kids. The band
members around us always changed but (she bursts into laughter) first of
all, you can't really get rid of your sister (more laughter). We like playing
music, and you can hear that when we (Lacey and Tasha) play together,"
Knowing that Tasha and Lacey
share a fondness for classic rock, new wave, pop and punk bands such as,
SuperTramp, America, Neil Young, Queen, Tin Lizzie, Blondie and The Beatles
, I teased her about the duo being the Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart) of
the twenty-first century. She came back at me with a resounding, "Hey I'll
take that, I love Heart!" They also enjoy more recent bands such as The
Faint and The Cure.
Before purchasing your copy
of Inside the Hollow you can listen to the full tracks the website
for Much Music, the Canadian equivalent of MTV ( http://www.muchmusic.com/music/firstspin/lillix/).
Inside The Hollow is a phenomenal album that highlights the creative genius
of the Evin sisters. "I think we really tapped into what we like on Inside
The Hollow . You can hear our influences more than you could on the first
record, because the first time around we didn't know what we liked as much.
We were sixteen years old (she was) and signed to a record label. We were
still trying to figure out who we were and what we liked. I think that
is how ( Falling Uphill) sounds. We worked with so many different producers
and the record doesn't move as smoothly as Inside The Hollow does. "
Continuing to compare the
two CDs she said, "On Inside the Hollow , the label gave us a chance
to do what we wanted to do. I should rephrase that and say I think our
producers (Jeff Saltzman and James Michael) let us do what we wanted to
do. I think the producers got it, and understood where we were coming from.
They allowed us to create music that we heard in our minds. They helped
us record that music, and if they hadn't been involved, we probably would
have been working with some other producers who wanted to put their stamps
on our music. James Michaels and Jeff Saltzman weren't out to do that,
they were out to help a band find their sound."
One of Lillix's greatest
strengths is the songwriting of Tasha and Lacey. It takes many artists
until well into their careers before they are willing to be vulnerable
as lyricists and then allow that vulnerability to surface vocally. "Songwriting
comes naturally to me. It is something that I have to do. Some days
I wake up and I have a song idea. I will write it down and start recording
it by myself. It is almost like a moment that you have to release, or you
may never get it back. I think you do have to be vulnerable, and I think
that I am when it comes to songwriting. I prefer to write down my
emotions, and I find that I am better at expressing my feelings through
melody lines. It is better to sing something than to say just a word that
summarizes it. It doesn't touch upon what you really feel. I think a melody
line really expresses how I feel more than just a word," said Tasha.
She said, "If you write
a song, you know exactly what it is about, and you know where it comes
from within you. A song that you write talks about your experience or maybe
somebody else's experience that you are trying to touch on. If you are
writing the song, it comes from the heart, and it has an emotional impact
on you. It is a natural thing that is going to happen. If somebody else
is writing your song, I think the emotion is coming from them. If I do
a cover song, I still try to take that song and make it my own. Everyone
has the same emotions, and they can find something in a song that they
can relate to, and make it their own, however, I think if you write the
song yourself it is easier for you to sing."
The vulnerability in Lillix's
songs comes out in varying degrees. "The song "Every Girl" is a story about
a personal relationship that I had when I was young. I am still young,
but when I was younger. It was my first love, and I thought it was going
to be forever. I one hundred percent believed it, even though I was being
treated horribly. For some reason when you are a kid, you have this person
engraved in your mind, (like a) Prince Charming. I instantly believed that
was it, and that was the way things were supposed to be. Sure enough, it
is not a fairy tale fantasy world, and I had my heart broken. He manipulated
me, and I wanted everything to work out like a fairy tale, but it didn't.
I ended up turning into somebody that I didn't want to be. I transformed
into somebody that I thought the other person would like. We were really
young, and reality came into play.
The song "Doughnut" is also
about a past relationship, but this time one of Lacey's. I cannot say more,
because I have been sworn to secrecy. I can however tell you that
there is no mention of doughnuts in the song.
Too often today, we hear
of celebrities who experience overwhelming success at a very young age,
only to crash and burn both personally and career wise. Tasha shared
with me her thoughts concerning what has kept the duo well grounded. First,
she credited the fact they are sisters in the same band, "We were best
friends when we were little, we share the same interests, and we have been
doing this (music) together since we were really little (they began performing
live when Tasha was twelve). It is great having Lacey with me all
of the time."
Secondly, unlike some child
prodigies they did not have parents who were trying to vicariously live
their lives through their children. Tasha immediately dismissed the notion
that such a scenario applies in her and Lacey's situation. "No, not at
all. Lacey and I were really motivated about it (pursuing a career in music).
I think in today's world, children are confused about what they like. It
seems like a lot of kids like many things, but they can't pick one to do.
Everybody wants to do everything. Kids just have to make up their minds.
I guess it is hard to follow your mind when you don't believe in one thing,
or are not really inspired to do something. With Lacey and I, music was
just it. We both wanted to make music, sing and play our instruments at
a young age. We just went with it and chose it. We said this is what we
are going to do."
Lillix's CD Inside the
Hollow can be ordered online through Maple Music .
By Joe Montague, exclusive
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer and the publisher of Riveting Riffs,
www.rivetingriffs.com . His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his
late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright
and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.