Beach Bunny's Lili Trifilio Talks Tour, Songwriting, and Her Pet Snails (Exclusive)

If you are somebody who uses TikTok, you’ve probably heard Lili Trifilio before. Creator, frontman, and lyricist for the breakout band, Beach Bunny, her voice is most widely recognized for the band’s hit single, “Prom Queen”. We got the chance to speak with Lili as she gears up for the band’s upcoming album Honeymoon and tour, “Goodbye Summer”. 

Her Campus: 

I know Beach Bunny was something that started personally out of your own house. I think the story about how the other members came together in the Battle of the Bands is a really cool, wacky story, so I was wondering if you could tell us more. 

Lili Trifilio: 

Sure. Yeah. It honestly was pretty wacky. So at the time I had recently gone through a breakup which you could probably hear through all the songs, and I was like, “I need to like get my life together” and all that stuff. I was like, “all right, I need to advance this music”. I'm going to do Battle of the Bands, going to get myself into getting Crybaby heard and all that kind of stuff. And originally some people I was jamming with, who were good friends, were just jamming for fun mostly. So I was like "Oh, maybe you could even do Battle of the Bands." But they were actually working Battle of the Bands. So I realized I was going to have to find new people. And I was wondering, "Who do I even know who plays" and John and Matt were the first to come to mind. And I had seen Matt play in a cover band, so I was like, alright he knows how to play guitar. And then John, I have seen play drums for fun with people. So it's like, all right, cool. Both of them aren't in a band, which means that they can compete. And it was just a weird mutual friends kind of situation. And our first band practice, I'm sure it was super awkward; us just trying to navigate what to do. But then by the end of Battle of the Bands we were already like a little family. And I think we all thought that maybe we were just going to do Battle of the Bands and then let it just fade after that and I'd go back to doing solo stuff. But it got this great feedback and we got along so well that it kind of just continued on from there. 

HC: That is so cool. I think that's like a movie. 

LT: Yeah. It feels very like Scott Pilgrim. 

HC: Yeah, exactly. 

LT: I was also competing against my ex. It's alright, we're good now, but at the time it was a lot [laughing].

HC: That's terrible. I've been doing social media digging, and I've noticed a few fan accounts dedicated specifically to you have popped up about how much they love you and how beautiful they think you are. How do you feel about that? 

LT: Oh man. I mean it's this weird thing where I'm like, “Oh my gosh”. I'm really like "Thank you!" But then it's also kind of like being put on a pedestal. Super weird because I'm just like, "Oh, you can do this too. Don't idolize me, you can totally do whatever I'm doing”. But a lot of them are younger, which is — I don't know. It's cool being someone's role model in a way. 

HC: Yeah, definitely. I would imagine that's something that's kind of a hard pill to swallow. Speaking of doing it yourself like you said, it was a bedroom project kind of in the beginning. So I was wondering where did you even first learn to create music beyond writing your own lyrics? Because it does involve a certain technical amount of information. 

LT: Yeah, totally. So when I was in fifth grade, my dad put me in guitar lessons and at the time through middle school. But I was also the lead planner of the middle school dance committee, like a homecoming or something like that. And I was getting really pissed cause my practices were on Fridays. So I was like "I don't want to play guitar, I just want to go hang out with my friends and plan these dances and all that." So I took a break and then in high school, I kind of learned the foundations of guitar from that [middle school]. And then I feel like in high school when there was talent shows my friends were interested in, I would be like "Oh, now I kind of want to learn how to play guitar, for myself." So I guess I just started off playing mostly covers. And then, my close friend, her name's Rachel Vogrich. We had this kind of little acoustic duo, which I think that sort of segues from playing covers with her into trying to figure out how to write songs. 

HC: So you started pretty young then? 

LT: Yeah, pretty young. 

HC: Are there any musical artists who you feel inspire Beach Bunny's sound or have in the past? 

LT: Yeah, definitely. I would say — okay, this is hard! There's two main ones I would say. Probably towards the end of high school, I really fell in love with Marina and the Diamonds. I just felt like the way that she approached social issues, and especially feminine issues, was kind of like groundbreaking for me in a way. So I think lyrically I was like "Oh wow, I want to like write songs that are really like genuine and have meaning." But then I would say as far as wanting to maybe explore a career, I thought of this band very spontaneously, I didn't know who they were. My friends literally picked random concerts you go to and they were there. Their name is Hippocampus. We saw that they were so, so unbelievably good. And we were just dancing all the time and I was like, "Oh my gosh! I want to make music that people can also dance to and rock to". ‘Cause I feel like I left that like concert experience being like, "My God, I want to do what they're doing." 

HC: For your upcoming "Goodbye Summer" tour, is there anything you can give away of the structure in the shows? Any special props, sets, etc.? 

LT: We're definitely going to be playing a lot of new songs off Honeymoon. I think it'll be a good balance of the classic songs, and then new songs sprinkled throughout set, which will be really cool. And then we don’t really have props, but I think now that the "Prom Queen" kind of era is over I've got some really cool fits. I'm really into wearing bandaids as an accessory.

HC: I've noticed. I thought that was so cute. 

LT: Thanks! So I'll definitely be rocking some bandaids. I feel like my go to outfit is a pair of knee highs, the track shorts, and then like some kind of crop top situation. 

HC: Oh, I love it. It's adorable. Like I wish I could pull off that style!

LT: I mean, don't even. I'm sure you can. 

HC: Her Campus: Oh, it's my wish. Well, I don't know too much about them, I know you have two snails, one of whom is named Nigel. I have twelve snails, so I was very excited when I heard this. Tell me the whole origin story, I want to know about these snails.

LT: Oh my God, that's so cool. Wow, okay! Growing up, my dad's like allergic to fur so I kind of grew up always being interesting and being like a bug girl I guess. I had a praying mantis as a pet for a while. I was literally like "You're my child." And I've always loved snails, I've had water snails, but I wanted a land snail. But there's none in Chicago that are just out and about. So I was like, "Alright, this is happening. How do I do this?" And I found a website that was literally called "mypetsnail.com" and I'm like, "Okay, this is sick". I did not read the details and I didn't know that they were a Euro-based website. So they just straight up shipped these snails from Ukraine and I was so stressed out because they got lost in the mail. It was a whole thing. I mean, I guess nails are pretty hardy, so you know, they're all fine. It's all great. I'm currently in the process of trying to collect a bunch of those little fairy terrariums and cute terrariums for the boy. So yeah, looking cute. I just like snails, and I just wanted one.

HC: I totally understand that, mine are from Greece and it's like a whole thing to get them. 

LT: Oh my gosh, I'm sure. Can I ask what website you used?

HC: I actually got mine from someone on Ebay who no longer sells. But I've been on "mypetsnail" I know exactly what website you were talking about. 

LT: That's so funny. I guess this is what you gotta do.

HC: Snail lovers. We know. 

LT: Would definitely recommend as a pet, very low maintenance, very cute.

HC: Very slimy. Sorry for that total 180. I just had to ask about the snails. 

LT: That's amazing. 

HC: So you mentioned that the album will be about the positives and negatives of coming out of the honeymoon phase. How is this narrative structured, is it a linear story or is it a collection of songs with this theme?

LT: I feel like when I wrote it that it was all kind of different times. It's not like I sat down and was like "Okay, I need this song, this song, and this song" It was just like I wanted to capture a a whole spectrum of emotions regarding it. So it's not super linear. I think it's more just, “Okay. This song captures jealousy; this song captures anger; this song captures uncertainty”. They all sort of embody emotions where you could connect with that stage of a relationship, but also as a just kind of a fun thing. People don't need to read this to understand the album, but I'm trying to kind of build a fictional sort of story to go beside it. Which maybe will help connect to songs. 

HC: Yeah, like a rock opera. 

LT: I'm still writing little diary entries and I think I'm going to put it all together and make a little scene or a little book, just for fun. 

HC: I saw one of them on your Twitter. With that, your poetry book. Do you feel that has any connection to your music?

LT: Oh, that's interesting. Um, I guess, I mean in a way I guess I write everything from a very genuine perspective. Like, I think I can only, maybe it's a weakness or strength, but I think I can only write from things that I've experienced firsthand. So I guess with the poems, in a similar vein to lyrics of songs, it's like telling my story but it's not necessarily related to Beach Bunny. 

HC: I was just wondering, because I personally love poetry so much. 

LT: Yeah, it's so fun. 

HC: It really is, and very cathartic. Here at Her Campus, the majority of us are journalism majors ourselves, and I know you just graduated from college as a journalism major. Do you have any advice for any of us? 

LT: I feel like I'm not using my degree! That's the tough part. I guess like, the journalistic thing is kind of lacking. I do have a music blog that I try to just write things I'm passionate about with the journalistic angle. So, I guess, maybe I feel like sometimes in the journalism field you kind of have to compromise what you want to write about to a job, but maybe to still do something like on the side that involves writing, whether it's poetry, or a blog, or something on a topic you're super interested in. So that when it comes to writing more boring stories, you're not burnt out. 

HC: That is definitely good advice. The last question I have for you is, ideally, where do you see Beach Bunny going in a few years? Where would you like to go with it? 

LT: Well, man, that's a good question. I don't know. Well, I guess I just want Beach Bunny to be, not in like a number sense or money sense, but, you know, just grow it to be as successful as it has the potential to be. I think right now I'm not really trying to focus on like a specific limit. But maybe just kind of see where things go and just be open to possibilities—that like anything could happen, and hoping to write a lot more albums. And maybe write more songs like "Prom Queen". Talk less about romance, maybe more about important issues because people can relate to those. 

HC: I definitely can. Yeah, I can relate to all of it, but "Prom Queen" is definitely scathing in the best kind of way. I sincerely, absolutely do love it! Thank you so much for your time, Lili.

LT: Thanks so much!

 

 

Stream Beach Bunny’s music on YouTube and Spotify, and buy tickets to their upcoming tour.