A LILY | wake:sleep

Dynamophone presents: an interview with A Lily's James Vella.
The subject: his debut release wake:sleep.

What inspired you to write the songs on wake:sleep?
The entirety of wake:sleep was for my girlfriend at the time, and was inspired by her. I thought I should try and make something that's just for her, and writing songs seems to be what I'm best at.

How did you go about recording them?
I record everything in my bedroom/studio, which is a laptop, a hard-drive recorder, ambient mics and as many instruments as I can find. For wake:sleep, I used guitar, bass, piano, accordion, drums, glockenspiel, lapsteel, and vocals, as well as a few programmed synths and recorded samples.

Speak a bit about the last two "ambient" pieces.
The last two pieces were originally recorded just for Leanna's private listening – for whenever she wanted to sleep to something I'd written – but I ended up liking them enough to include them on the release. They were both played live, with improvised guitar through a few delay pedals.

How does the writing process for A Lily differ from your other band, Yndi Halda?
Yndi is a much more gradual process. With that band, we tend to have a 'finished' version of a piece that differs so drastically from the final arrangement we end up recording, it might as well be a different song. We work on songs so much even after we've decided to stop doing so. With A Lily, though, I prefer to just listen to my head for a while, until I can create something in theory, and then I try to re-create it with real sounds. So it's less about experimentation and more about translation.

Do you think your environment influences your music?
Definitely. I doubt A Lily or Yndi would sound anything like they do if we hadn't all grown up in the halcyon summers of south-east Kent and never had to hear police sirens at night or dodge cars in our playgrounds.