Bogotá-based musical collective llilli promise to kick off FEP 2023 in style
“We’re actually the total beginning of the festival”, Pablo Escallón explains. Despite the pressure of a Thursday opening slot, both Pablo and his bandmate Felipe Piedahita are resolutely nonchalant when we meet them a couple of weeks before the big day. Pablo and Felipe are two parts of the music and art collective llilli. It’ll be a debut for this project, but they know the festival well.
They stand out in the swirling maelstrom that is the Festival Estéreo Picnic press afternoon. Breathless young acts charge about from interviewer to interviewer, photographers bark orders to pose correctly and PRs are cajoling and arguing with seemingly everyone. Pablo and Felipe, on the other hand, are rocks of quiet calm within the fury. They have the confidence of seasoned pros. They’ve just dropped Bien y Mal from their upcoming album. To our ears, it’s more the former than the latter for sure.
It’s a confusing name for many and we soon discover is more about visual aesthetic than symbolism. It evokes the idea of a barcode, but that’s not the way they’re going, says Pablo: “ the idea in the beginning was to be a bit ambiguous. The idea was to have a name that was more like a logo than a proper name. My music is not very digital actually, I don’t think it makes much sense to have something that looks like a barcode.”
You can say the name like Lily, but it’s better pronounced GG, although they sound nothing like the great punk visionary Allen. The group instead situate themselves within the world of independent and experimental pop, drawing on the traditions of krautrock, noise, ambient music and spoken words in their compositions. It’s true art-school music that blurs the lines twixt high art and something you can stomp your feet to.
“It’s like a landscape of emotions that feels very honest and true to the soul,” Felipe explains. “We like very much the idea of the music living in the moment: like a conversation, we like to explore ways to let music flow freely.” And freely it does flow – It’s dreamingly elegant music, languidly dripping into one’s ears like the honeyed whispers of a good friend.
After debut EP Dalia (2020) catapulted put llilli on the scene, Valle followed a year later to cement their place in the contemporary rolo indie movement. Llilli might be a relatively new venture, but both Pablo and Felipe are veterans of the Bogotá alternative scene, and indeed Festival Estéreo Picnic.
Although they’ve taken to the FEP stage before with other projects, this is their first time doing so with the llilli project and the pair are quietly excited. “We have really big plans […], a new way of showing the music,” Pablo cryptically tells us. They won’t be drawn on what’s going to go down, but expect surprises from their early-afternoon set.
As for the rest of the weekend, the pair are characteristically laidback. They’ve been many times before as both artists and spectators, so there’s little new under the sun. Blondie’s on the itinerary for Pablo, and for Felipe, who knows? “I don’t even know who’s playing, I’m just there for the ride,” he confesses.
Set the festival off to a good note with the effortlessly cool llilli at the Adidas stage at 16:00 on Thursday 23rd March.