The Reincarnation of Lilly E. Gray: Evolving into Yourself
SLUG Mag recently chatted with local gothic artist Lilly E. Gray about her current and future projects, as well as emotion and personal expression.
In 2019, the Salt Lake City resident and trained vocalist was tired of dealing with practice schedules and unpredictable bandmates. That’s when she went solo and started creating electronic music. It was never meant to be a live band; it was never meant to be more than just her. Eventually, Gray was persuaded into working with more bandmates and now doesn’t want the project to end. The current bandmates are Gray, Billy Tripps and Vyle Black, with another member expected to join the act soon. Locally, Lilly E. Gray is getting gigs opening for national acts such as Rosegarden Funeral Party and Aesthetic Perfection. They also recently played festivals like the Utah Dark Arts Festival at Area 51 and the Virtual Temple streaming festival on Twitch, and you may also find them on the darker JRC Events. Touring is an amazing part of any musician’s lifestyle, so naturally international and national gigs are always on the mind. When asked about which artists they would like to open for, the COP International artist Stabbing Westward immediately was mentioned. Gray says, “They are my second favorite band. Music is about living the dream—let us have our fingers crossed, because that would be an amazing show.”
Naturally, a name is important to an artist, and Gray “did what all good goth artists do … stole it off a headstone” at the Salt Lake Cemetery. It is there that a mysterious headstone reads “Lilly E. Gray, Victim of The Beast 666.” Gray always liked the sound of the name and felt it flowed well together. Combined with the spooky urban legends surrounding the headstone, you can understand why Gray chose the name.
Gray has long been the brains behind the songwriting while Black plays the guitar. Since 2019, their music has gone through the engineering and mastering process at Empire Recording Studio in Ogden, owned by the band’s drummer, Tripps. The studio has mastered artists like Max Ramble, Dan Welden and Brad Wheeler. The band likes to balance traditional instruments in their music with a natural progression toward electronic music. Sure, this includes forms of technology like A.I. software, but they never fear that these electronic elements will overpower the guitars in the mix. The ‘80s heavy metal and ‘90s alternative sounds have influenced each member and shows up in the band’s sound. Frustration and a touch of teenage angst are a common theme in the band’s music, and darker moods are what inspire Gray. It’s not all doom and gloom though—the band has positive songs as well. “Music is meant to make you better or at least calm you down and put you where you can focus or relax,” says Gray.
Production has begun on their fourth album, tentatively titled Autumn. The tracks have a frosty, solemn feeling that reminds Gray of fall and the color orange. Gray says, “There will still be some melancholy because that’s what I do. I write sad bastard music.” On the next release, you will find more of a collaboration in the writing and sounds throughout every aspect. The album’s first single is expected to be released in March.
Gray herself is transgender and an avid supporter of SLC’s LGBTQ+ communities. Though being trans in Utah comes with its challenges, Gray has appreciated being in an accepting community that allows her to be herself in a welcoming, safe environment. As for the band’s appearance, Lilly E. Gray sticks to a theme with coordinated colors and flashy costumes—they want to give something to the audience that is not just audibly but also aesthetically pleasing. It is another outlet to show their creativity. Gray says, “You can count on a dark aesthetic with some sparkle.”
The next time you see the name Lilly E. Gray playing on a bill, be sure not to miss them, and keep an ear out for their upcoming release Autumn. It is not just a band playing; it is a performance that delights the senses.
Read more SLUG coverage of gothic music:
Review: Ashes Fallen – Walk Through Fire
From Doom Metal to Gothic Folk: An Interview with The Keening