Beach Bunny's Lili Trifilio Talks The Past, Present, And Future Of The Band


Words by Kariann Tan and Emily Richardson

What started as a solo indie project by Lili Trifilio has since grown to be an unstoppable force on the indie scene. Here's what Lili, their leading lady, has to say on the beginnings of Beach Bunny, her biggest inspirations, and the group's interesting fixation on Hot Cheetos. 

Hey Lili! How’s your weekend going? Do you guys have any plans for the rest of the day?

My weekend’s going good! Later tonight we are going to one of our bandmates’ house to record some demos, because we are recording next week. So, that’ll be fun. We are in this cover band right now, so we just finished with that.

What kind of covers do you guys usually make? 

So we are doing this event called Prom, it’s only like a one time performance thing. We’re mainly just doing a bunch of 80’s and early 2000’s songs.

That’s cool! That being said, I know that Beach Bunny started out as a solo indie project by you, but it eventually morphed into this fully fledged band last summer. How did it all come together, how did you guys realize that you wanted to become a thing?

So, I feel like I reached a point, kind of, where I was like “I want to be in a band!”, but I didn’t know who to reach out to or anything. I just had like a bunch of mutual friends with people that I am in the band with now. I feel like it was like they weren’t in bands either and they didn’t have like prior commitments or anything, and we just jammed out and had good chemistry and became good friends. And yeah, the rest is history.

Has it been less than a year, or something that you’ve been planning for a while?

I think right now, we have been a band for about a year. We started last March, I’d say.

Was this a project of making something that you are personally passionate about, or were there other ambitions in mind beforehand?

Well, the way it kind of works is I do the songwriting part, and I always had a vision of where I wanted to go. With everyone else, we collaborated and were just responsible for filling in the rest of the instruments and everything. So, the songs were already built in just from being a solo project, so it was kind of a matter of everyone else figuring out how to go from an acoustic song to a full band song.

Would you say it’s been an easy process?

I would say, at the beginning, with the songs I’ve had out for a while, it was pretty easy because things were following what already existed. But now we are writing new songs and everything and I think there was definitely a learning curve but now we are pretty good at it. It was definitely like, how are we going to sound cohesive and how is everyone gonna be happy with how it sounds.

On your BandCamp, so you guys describe your music as very surf-vibey, what exactly is surf-pop to you guys?

Okay, everybody gave me a lot of shit for that, so I don’t know! [laughs]

Early on, I felt like we would get compared to like Best Coast a lot, and their whole thing was being a surf pop band, and so I was like I guess if we sounds similar then we are also surf pop. We’ve definitely talked about it more and established that we are more power pop. I think it was just mostly, we didn’t know how to classify it, and people were like ‘this is what it sounds like’, so we just went with it.

By the way, have you actually been surfing before?

No I haven’t. I would love to though.

To talk about your recent release, “Sports” that came out not too long ago, how was it writing that song? If I’m not mistaken, that’s the first song you wrote as a band, so talk me through the process? How did you go from pen to computer to recording, how did that go for you guys?

It honestly went pretty well. All the other recordings were bedroom recording and this time we actually went to a professional studio. Our friend helped with mixing and everything so we could really express what we wanted to do with everything. Writing wise, it was still kind of similar to old stuff where I wrote the song and we all came together and were like “how can we make this sound full-band?”, you know? I guess it was also different because I didn’t have to tell the guitarist how to play something, I was just like, play whatever you think sounds good over what I’m playing.

It’s pretty cool that you guys did this together in a studio, as opposed to a bedroom. Was it your first time in the studio as Beach Bunny or have you been in before?

It was actually my first time in general, because the first few releases I literally just did in my bedroom and “Crybaby” I did in my friends studio apartment. This was definitely more legit.

Are you guys gonna be working on more releases in the studio or is this gonna be going back to bedroom recordings, like where you came from?

I mean, we are definitely. For the songwriting process we have a practice space for where we meet and everything. So I would say the songwriting stuff will stay there, but we are gonna be recording in the studio, on the 14th actually. That is exciting.

What is that one thing that you’d like your listeners and your fans to take away from your music?

I know a lot of people says that our songs really help them when you’re going through a sad time, because our songs are relatable. So I just want to make sure that I feel as genuine as possible when I’m writing and I hope they receive that in whatever message that it’s not just engineered pop songs, but something from heart. It’s really easy to just write a generic song, but then there are songs like “Boys” where it’s very emotional.

I’ve always been fascinated with your obsession with Flaming Hot Cheetos. My question is why?

I don’t know! We just eat them very frequently and we hope that if we keep talking about them then maybe someone will bring us some at shows. It’s funny too because we have a bassist who joined us in October, and he is not a spicy sort of fan, and we were just like ‘oh sorry dude it's 2 against 1.’

Fair enough! Apart from that, what have you been into lately in terms of music or anything else in general?

Well, Remo Drive they just released their new EP and the whole time with them, I was like ‘oh like, I’m ready for this, I wonder what it’s gonna sound like,’ and it’s definitely more Pop-ey. It’s really good. This artist, Snail Mail, I don’t know if you heard of her, she’s so good and her new single “Pristine” is amazing. And for some reason, some people say that we look alike or something. That was actually the reason why I first checked her out. People were like ‘oh you sound like her, you look like her’ and I was like, ‘oh that’s weird’, and then I was like ‘oh, she’s good, I don’t really agree with that, but she’s good’. I like her she seems cool. Not really anything new recently [that I’ve been jamming to] besides that. Same stuff.

I just wanted to bring up that in a week from now you will be on tour with Varsity? But do you guys have plans for touring anytime soon?

We're not sure, but we are playing a show with them. We might have something late summer, but I can’t say anything about that yet— that’s all I can say. But it will hopefully happen this year.

What else can we all expect from Beach Bunny anytime soon?

I don’t know about how much I can say! Hmm, we are trying to release an EP over summer, so that’s what we are working on and recording next week. So you are the first to hear about that. I mean we’ve just been jamming on the songs and they’re really fun. But yeah, I’m very excited.

Check out Beach Bunny's Sports on Spotify now.

(PS: Bring a bag or two of Hot Cheetos one of their shows, they will seriously thank you.)