Lillie Lemon is now Kinder Creatures, and they’re all about the message. The duo, Lillie Lemon and Eric Rowe formally made the change early 2021 to reflect their evolution and changing priorities as artists. Now, they hope to make a clear statement through their music and use their plat form to address the many social issues of today.
The two have always had a unique approach to their sound – a light, melodic synth-pop tune contrasted with darker, hard-hitting lyrics. The musical dichotomy of Lillie Lemon quickly attracted a dedicated fanbase for the Monterey-based band. However, despite the success, both of them found that there was something missing. As they their success grew, they began to realize that the name Lillie Lemon just wasn’t encompassing enough for their goals. Eric says, “ The Lillie Lemon moniker, which never really worked for us in the first place, was working less and less and less. And then there was a ver y, probably 2017, politically intense time and it felt like the time for change.”
Lillie also added, “You know, the last four years have been really stressful for people who are living, culturally, as the underdog. People are opening up themselves to the world in ways that they felt like they couldn’t before. And naturally, there’s a lot of pushback, and so it feels really tense. I felt like the Lillie Lemon moniker wasn’t speaking to that and I wanted to speak to that more. It was important to me.”
And so, in the middle of a pandemic, Lillie Lemon became Kinder Creatures. As Lillie says, “The name comes from that desire to become something better than what we have been as a society. We want to be more than just these labels that we give ourselves. We want to be humans together, loving each other.” With the rebranding, the group hopes to address issues of oppressive cultural systems and showcase a life-affirming story to their audiences.
As we eagerly wait for their first album, Lycanthropy, we are given a small taste of what is to come. On November 24, 2020, Kinder Creatures released a single called Colorblind, a sneak-peak of the album to come. Though they have changed the direction of their group, their sound has not been lost at all. That unique tonality comes from the extensive collaboration between Lillie and Eric during the creative journey. There is no set process – just a flow. As Eric puts it, their process is like a “beer tap” – sometimes, it gushes out, while other times, it’s a slow trickle. Occasionally, there’s a bad brew or pour, but keep trying and fixing and tweaking – and something good is sure to come out.
Though they make sure to collaborate and communicate while creating music, Lillie typically works on the lyrics, while Eric produces the music. This division of labor – their specialties, rather – are a product of their backgrounds and childhoods growing up.
Lillie attributes her emotional songwriting to a traumatic childhood. She says, “I went through this very tough growing phase. My parents got divorced and things were really, really messy emotionally in my household. I learned very early on to be really sensitive to other people’s feelings around them, because it’s a defense mechanism. Like, I need to know how people are feeling so I can act, because things in the house could just blow up at any minute.” In keeping with the message of Kinder Creatures, Lillie uses this unfortunately-acquired yet incredible sense of empathy to channel the emotional turmoil and struggles of society and write poignant lyrics.
Meanwhile, Eric grew up surrounded by music with a mother who sang professionally and an older brother who also picked up music. His formal education in music led him to pick up many different instruments and styles, but also created a creative bottleneck. While his technical skills were quickly developing, it took a long time for Eric to realize the artistic side as well.
“[Learning formally], I’m like, ‘Oh, I can play the notes, but how do [I] play the message?’”, he says, “So that’s been kind of my ‘coming out’ with Lillie.”
Both Lillie and Eric’s stories are perfectly encapsulated in the name, Kinder Creatures. They came together, goods and bads alike, to create something better and stronger than ever.