Photo: Craig Williams

Band o’ promise

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By Carlo Ang

Imagine being 20 years old and in a band, touted as one of Toronto’s up and comers, having a demo CD that sold 2,000 copies and regularly drawing crowds to The Horseshoe. The next logical step would be just sort through the major label offers and accept one, right?

Wrong. Sometimes success comes too quickly. The musical depth required for a great major label debut may not be there. Toronto’s Lilith have taken time to ensure they are ready for the big time when they choose it to come.

The band started as demo-less 19-year-olds from Oshawa. “Next thing you know, boom, interest. We’d barely been in the studio before we got out indie deal. 24 tracks [in the studio]?” says guitarist Lonny Knapp. Their 1995 self-titled debut CD saw the band involved in a maelstrom of shows (opening for Our Lady Peace and The Tea Party) and media exposure. Numerous articles focusing on vocalist Jeen O’Brien’s Joplineqsue power-vocals and Lonny Knapp’s Hendrixy guitar riffs followed the band throughout 1995-96.

“After the tour, we realized it’s gonna take more work than we thought to please people on the outside, and even more to get down to what we were. Where we were headed was not necessarily where we wanted to go,” recalls Lonny. So for the past year, members of Lilith have just stretched their creative muscles, and took the time to produce songs they are happy with.

“The demo CD was like Star Wars, it did well, but was from from what it should be. Nowadays, we’re taking the time to write songs and put them down the way they were intended to be. No pressure from a record company,” says Lonny. “If the music is not there for you, chances are it’s not gonna be there for everyone else.”

In these days of flavours of the week, putting off major deals is suicide. The band, however, can rest on the fact that there is always interest from the industry, talents is always en vogue. “I don’t know folks in the gigs anymore.” Lonny hopes their formal CD is recorded by spring, but realizes they will only do so after time is spent refining the songs.

“Just because you can put out an album every eight months, it doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of people are just putting out garbage rock.”

Indeed, there seems to be an absence of an anthem capable music in these alternative times. With record company pressures, it’s hard for any band to take time writing songs. Which is exactly why Lilith is taking time. It will be a luxury if they hit the majors. “You’re still a band without an album.” Words that could bring the music back to the industry.

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