[Behind the Beat] Lilly Palmer Talks Sunburn Music Festival, Success, and More
To Lilly Palmer, music is freedom. At the age of 17, she dove headfirst into the electronic music scene and immediately fell in love with it. Today she seeks to forge her own sound in the industry with spacey techno beats and powerful bass lines. I got to ask her some questions about her recent performance at Sunburn Music Festival, the skills needed to succeed in the industry, and more. Read on to find out!
How did you get started in the electronic music scene?
I’ve been listening to electronic music since I was 17 and then started to go out to techno parties around my hometown next to Munich, but I would say I got really hooked by it when I moved to Berlin three years later and fell into the fangs by clubs like Berghain and Tresor.
After traveling a lot and finally changing my location to my current hometown Zurich, I felt the urge to try DJing myself. So I bought some CDJs and a mixer and just locked myself away practicing for months until I felt confident in my mixing.
You recently performed in India for Sunburn Music Festival. What was that like?
Yes, this was an incredible experience! It was my first big festival so you can maybe imagine how excited and nervous I was. It was a learning experience because I had an opportunity to perform to such a large crowd and share the billing with so many amazing artists. India was incredible. The people there are so friendly and warm-hearted and the food was indescribably tasteful. The people there took great care of me and I left feeling so much love for the country. We’re looking into me returning for some shows again soon so hopefully I can announce something in the near future.
What was your favourite performance so far? Why?
Of course playing at Sunburn Festival is hard to top, but I also had an outstanding gig last year at the Austrian club Flex. I played on a Wednesday and had no idea what to expect from the crowd, especially during a normal week in the summer, but it turned out to be really busy and the atmosphere was great!
I can’t wait to be back.
Any funny or particularly memorable moments during a show?
Yeah at one of my first gigs, one of the CDJs had a lot of issues and one of the cue buttons broke, so I asked the promoter to fix it. He was already a bit drunk at this point and he unplugged the broken CDJ and said he will go find a new one from the basement. So the song that was currently playing was just about to finish and people ended up dancing to a 10min loop until we managed to fix it. It was a strange moment because I felt I’d lose the crowd but they seem to love it and the party continued once he returned.
What’s your favorite thing about producing music? What do you find most challenging?
I like the rare feeling when you work on a new track and you’ve tried different things for hours, then you take a short break and when you come back to the studio you feel like changing something (mostly taking away some layers) and suddenly it all makes sense and it gives you this exciting goosebumps feeling.
It’s a challenge to come up with new ideas or to just be creative. I think it’s really good to have your own home studio, as you never know when creativity actually hits you, so it’s better to be prepared.
When you’re not performing or making music, what do you like to do in your free time?
I really like going outside and spending time in nature. I go running most days and this summer I will start to try kite surfing, which I am looking forward to.
Do you have a process you go through as you’re creating music or prepping for a show?
Before a late set time I like to sleep for one hour so I am fresh for the gig. Once at the show I like to understand how the venue is by checking out the DJs playing before me, connecting with the fans and chatting with the staff at the club too. It’s all about finding what fits best for the music so the crowd has a great party. I don’t prepare my shows but I do like to get a collection of music ready for each gig so I have an idea of what music I might play. Getting to the venue early allows me to develop better a sense of the music I might play and spend some time before my set going through some tracks.
What or who is your biggest music influence?
I am a big fan of the productions and sets by the German legend Oliver Koletzki. I was into his music perhaps about 10 years ago now. Also, the melodic releases by the artists on his label like Stil vor Talent have influenced my music tastes over the years. I also love the tough side of the Dutch techno scene.
So my sets are a journey of these two moods, melodic and bit melancholic to upbeat and more pumping.
What music are you listening to right now?
Right now I am listening back and forth to a track called ‘Equivalence’, it’s by a young and upcoming Dutch artist called Mees Salomè, who has just released on Reinier Zonneveld‘s new label Filth on Acid.
What artists would you like to work with in the future? Who is your #1 dream collaboration?
I really like the hard and rough sound by Dense & Pika, I love playing their tracks in the middle of a set to surprise the crowd. Having a remix by them would be a dream for me.
Also, the sound of the amazing trio Township Rebellion from Berlin is fascinating me, it would definitely be great to work with them too.
What projects are you working on right now? What can we expect to see from you in the future?
As social media became a big part of our music industry, I am trying to visualise my work with some videos at the moment, so expect to see some exciting content from me soon.
And I am constantly trying to improve my production skills as I try to grow as an artist.
What’s the biggest thing you learned so far as a musician?
For me personally, that patience is super important to be successful, as this is one of my weak spots. And also to not take every comment and critique too personal, to just sometimes let go of bad energy. You can’t please everyone at the same time and people will always find something to criticise.
What advice would you give any producers looking to make their mark in the industry?
I am still on the early steps myself as a producer but what I have found for me that it is important to get into a good routine and try to work around some disciplines. It helps to separate the busy everyday life with your studio time. You can’t force creativity so it’s useful to get ideas down fast and maybe come back to them at a different point. I am making more and more time for myself in the studio both to work on my music projects but also because I want to expand my techniques and abilities as a producer. I love being in the studio, it’s my ‘happy place’, where I can just let go all of my ideas and see what I can come up with.
Any last words for our readers?
I am looking forward to sharing a dancefloor and amazing times with you soon.
Listen to Lilly Palmer’s latest tracks below:
Featured image courtesy of Lilly Palmer
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