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Ohio Bands

Getting Level with Cleveland’s Lilieae

In spite of the global pandemic, music must go on.

A wonderful place to find great Ohio music is on PromoWest’s weekly Local Discover playlist, which is where I came across Cleveland’s Lilieae. I was immediately impressed with their in-your-fact attitude and neck-bending riffs. I reached out to the band and was able to talk with vocalist Lydia Puccini and bassist Kayleigh Hyland about their group.

I appreciate the both of you taking the time to chat! First things first… tell me how Lilieae came to be?

Lydia Puccini: It began when I approached a friend about starting a “girl band.” She and I had played in another band together and I thought she would be a great fit for an angsty chick group. This friend then brought the idea to Kayleigh in hopes that she would be interested in joining the project. Funny enough, Kayleigh and I actually sat together in art class in high school- we had no idea we would end up in a band together down the road.

Kayleigh Hyland: I never would have guessed that Lydia and I would end up here together. I was very jealous of her in high school – she was so cool and popular and I was the exact opposite!  I thought that putting a band together with the goal of being all-girl could seem a little tacky and difficult but also thought it could be fun and unique anyway. I reached out to a chick drummer and then we had a four-piece.

Eventually both the original bass player and drummer dropped out leaving us searching for some new players. My boyfriend Joe (Stefano) is a drummer so he stepped in just in time to record, and another mutual friend, Donald (Pelc), decided to stick with us after recording and subbing a few gigs on guitar. After finishing our EP Level we quickly realized we wanted another guitar player. We put the word out there and found Eric (Kennedy)! And then there were five.

L-R: Kayleigh Hyland, Lydia Puccini of Lilieae
Credit: Anita Louise Photography

That’s a great story! I love it when things come together like that. Tell me about the name… is it literally just a reference to the flowers?

LP: Yes, ‘lilieae’ (pronounced lil-ee-ay) comes from the flower family of lilies. We were really attracted to the look and sound of the word.

That’s definitely a good place to start. Tell me about your sound? I immediately felt influences from The Breeders, early No Doubt and Veruca Salt, and I was also reminded of another Cleveland-area band, Grumpy Plum.

LP: Our influences include bands like No Doubt, Weezer and Pixies. We are heavily influenced by the 90s era garage, alternative sound. We all have our personal influences which is great- it brings fresh, unique ideas to the table. 

KH: The 90s are my favorite era of music so I think that sound naturally comes out in any music that I write.

I definitely feel it in your debut EP, Level. Tell me about how that EP came together?

KH: We figured starting with an EP rather than an album would make the most sense in the early days of Lilieae. We basically picked through the songs we had written and chose the four that made the most sense together and kicked the most ass.

Lilieae live at Stella’s Music Club
Credit: Samantha Skapin

Well, if we’re talking about songs that kick ass, we have to start with the title track. I actually found you guys by hearing Level on PromoWest’s Local Discover playlist. How did you feel about being featured on there?

LP: Incredible! PromoWest is an awesome entertainment company. I have attended the Bunbury Music Festival the past four years and I have a great level of respect for their production and team.

Very cool. Do you play often around Ohio, both in and out of state? What are your favorite places to play?

LP: We love our city and each venue within! They all have something fun and unique to offer. We always dig playing at Mahalls. I had always wanted to play the Beachland, so I was stoked when we got to play there this past November. We also love playing at the Happy Dog. What’s better than hot dogs and rock n’ roll?
Ed. ~ all three above venues in Cleveland, OH

Hah! I can’t argue with that – we do love our hotdogs here in Ohio! Since we’re talking about playing out… if you could put together an all-star local show, who would be on the bill with you?

LP: We would absolutely include our friends FAWX and DOAKS. They have been our “ride or die” bands. We love sharing the stage with them. Their energy is infectious.

Lilieae live at Happy Dog
Credit: Nathan Rogers

I have to believe that your live energy would be pretty infectious, as well. Tell me what I would expect if I came to a Lilieae show on your home turf?

LP: Our sets are energetic and fun, and I always notice some solid dancers in the audience. I love ending the set with our song November. Near the end of the song, I always jump into the audience and start a pit.

Well, hell yeah! I always enjoy it when band members join the pit! I can imagine that might cause issues from time to time though. What’s it like being a female group with a kick-ass (or perhaps literal mosh pit ass-kicking) attitude?

KH: I love it. We’ve got a lot of feelings, especially since we’re women, so it feels extra good to yell them at a ton of people.

LP: It’s a solid mix between rainbows and head-banging. It works for us.

Brilliant! I feel like that would be one hell of a show. Unfortunately, nobody can play out at the moment. How has Lilieae been affected by this COVID-19 pandemic? Have you had to cancel many shows?

KH: Yes, just like so many other musical acts, we’ve had to cancel shows. We’ve also not been in the same room to jam or practice in a very long time so we’re really itching to get back together and play again!

LP: Like Kayleigh, I’m itching to play again and work on our new material. Virtual chat and learning on our own is the route we have decided to take to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy.

Image courtesy of Lilieae

That’s good. I’m glad to see you’re taking the necessary precautions. Besides playing like crazy when you finally get the chance, what are your future plans for the band?

LP: We’ve got a full-length album of songs lined up to record, so as soon as we can get moving again, we’ll be polishing those off and then we’ll start scheduling some studio time. 

Sounds good! Anything else you want to tell our readers?

LP: Give us a listen! We are streaming on all platforms. Thank you for your support and thank you Jester for the opportunity for us to share Lilieae with your followers!

Thank you Lydia and Kayleigh for taking the time to chat with us! I personally can’t wait to see the band perform live, hopefully soon!

You can find Lilieae’s new EP “Level” on all streaming platforms HERE.

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