In Conversation with Frida’s Eilish Gilligan

Interview of Eilish Gilligan by Sandy Hsu

Melbourne band Frida have recently released their new single, Limbo–a softly sombre and undeniably soulful tune that explores the in-between of choices, of sadness and bliss, love and loss, and everything else that exists in the middle.

The sweeping dark pop groove, adorned with Eilish Gilligan’s captivatingly angelic and powerful vocals, leaves you with an elated sense of floating. I caught up with friend and Frida’s front woman, Eilish Gilligan.

Hey Eilish, how’s it going?

Really good thanks! I thought I was going to get a parking ticket just now and I didn’t so I feel like the universe is patting me on the back.

Congratulations on Frida’s new release, Limbo!

Thanks heaps! It feels like it’s been a long time coming.

Could you please elaborate on the meaning behind Limbo, and the process of creating the song?

Basically I wrote the first demo of Limbo–which was a very different song to how it is now, it had a whole different chorus and bridge section–and brought it straight to Frida, and the rest is kinda history. Even though I have my own solo project as well, I always know when a song I’ve written belongs to Frida. Limbo is kind of the perfect example of a Frida song–textural, broad, emotive, all held together with a dark groove.

One of the wonderful things about Frida is how collaborative our writing process is. We are all very trusting–when one of us brings in an idea, we workshop and construct it together, and as a musician yourself Sandy, you would understand that it’s tricky sometimes to “let go” of something you’ve written by yourself. With Frida, it’s not really that tricky at all, because we trust each other enough to be honest about the direction and aesthetic of a piece of music, which is a six-way relationship that is pretty precious.

What inspired the lyrics to Limbo?

I wrote the lyrics to Limbo after an experience that I had with a friend of ours. We were strangers a year ago, until Frida’s rehearsal HQ became a sharehouse in West Brunswick where he and a few of our members lived. One of those beautiful, rapid friendships grew immediately. He and I DJ’d together a few times and one night something awful happened and he left in mourning–which meant I was very sad and stuck in a DJ booth playing My Humps to an oblivious audience.

Limbo is a bit of a collage of getting to know this special person, growing close very quickly, but then being thrust into their tragic situation and suddenly consoling them so soon after getting to know them, if that makes sense. Like, you never forget the first time you see someone close to you really upset, and you always learn so much about yourself and about them all at once. Limbo is kind of about that.

What do you think has changed about Frida’s music and how you’ve developed as a band over the years?

Frida has definitely become more collaborative over the years, which is a great thing. Frida started as a bedroom solo project of mine in about 2012, when I was still in another band formed in high school. Now Frida is the band and I started another solo project, haha! I also think that Frida has become significantly more mature, both musically and aesthetically, since we first started playing together. We were very lucky to be able to travel to Singapore and India when we first started playing as Frida, and there’s nothing like being thrown into the unknown together to bring a group closer… And there’s nothing like a trip to India to make you grow up.

Do you think your gender makes a difference within the band? If there were more females or no females do you think the dynamic of Frida would be affected or different in any way?

Good question! I love having Greer as a backing vocalist in Frida for many reasons aside from her talent–it’s nice to have a girlfriend along for the ride.

That being said, I couldn’t ask for better men to play music with. They are thoughtful, and listen to me and my ideas as much as anyone deserves to be listened to. I think just because I do a lot of the singing and lyric writing all from a female perspective, the dynamic of the band would be extremely different if I wasn’t involved. I think it’s important for us to embrace that feminine energy–we are named in honour of an incredibly strong, influential woman, after all.

What future plans are in store for Frida?

We have lots of things in store for 2016! More singles, videos, shows, and there’s a residency in the mix too. We can’t wait to share more music.

That sounds really wonderful, can’t wait to hear more music! Thanks Eilish!

Thanks Sandy and thanks Tigress!!


Sandy Hsu

Sandy Hsu is a nineteen year old singer-songwriter / artist / musician / creative human from Melbourne, Australia. She is currently studying contemporary music interactive composition at the Victorian College of the Arts. Visit Sandy’s Bandcamp and follow her on twitter (@SandyHsu_) and Instagram (@sandyshoe)

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