Interview with The Lillingtons vocalist/guitarist Kody Templeman | By Ren Potts
Have you seen The Lillingtons lately? The Wyoming band have been circulating again over the last few years, but after an 11-year freeze, the slow leak of clues leading up to their new EP, Project 313, felt reminiscent of classic Lillingtons ambiguity.
It started with a Red Scare Industries Instagram post announcing the band were already in the studio recording, followed by a mock found footage video featuring a snippet of music. Finally, the official announcement came in April, and in mid-May, a video for the song “Rubber Room” was released. If this is any indication of what to expect, this record—released June 9—will have fans forgetting that The Lillingtons ever stepped away.
Obvious starter, but why now? Why put out a new release after 11 years?
Well, everyone was living in different states and had a lot of shit going on. We played a few reunion shows, and we liked doing that, but after so long, we felt like we were becoming a copy of ourselves. We realized that if we wanted to continue being a band, we needed to write new songs. We weren’t being fair to ourselves or our fans by rehashing all the old stuff over and over again. It was cool for a few shows, ‘cause a lot of people never got to see us play live, but after a while, you need to move forward or stop.
We talked about writing songs for several years, but it was always when we were hanging out drinking. So, when we eventually shifted to hanging out and writing tunes instead, things started to come together quickly. Everything kind of snowballed from there: song ideas, song titles, and trying to do different stuff musically than we had done before. Basically, the same thing we did when we went from [1996’s] Shit Out of Luck era to [1999’s] Death By Television.
The band have been playing festivals and doing some touring here and there since 2013, and now, the new release. What set this reformation in motion?
Like I said before, it was really a matter of us doing shit instead of getting wasted and talking about it. Lillingtons played Riot Fest in Denver 2016, and the show was great, but I remember thinking, “This feels like we’re a cover band.” It felt pretty generic. Then, when I watched The Misfits with Danzig the next night, it took me back to the reason we started playing music to begin with: to do something cool and weird and different.
What can fans expect from this new EP? Based on the found footage video peek that was released, is there a running theme like with Death By Television?
Yeah, there’s a theme going on there, but that’s for the listener to discover. It’s definitely more subtle than the sci-fi theme of Death By Television, but it’s definitely there.
There’s always been a kind of tight-lipped, cryptic feeling about the band’s happenings. Is there a reason for that? Or just simply that none of you were dying to deal with media?
A little of both, I suppose. When we got into music, especially punk rock, there wasn’t a lot of access to bands like there is now with the internet. Before all of that, you had to let the music do the talking and interpret what you wanted from that. Even more so with punk rock stuff, ‘cause no one was covering it. And if they were, we sure as shit weren’t hearing about it in Wyoming. We were lucky and more than happy to just get our hands on the music. The lack of knowledge created a special mystique that added to that excitement, and all of that is dead now.
Also, Cory and I aren’t much for talking, and we suck at interviews.
You’ve been confirmed for FEST this year. Have you discussed touring at all after the new release?
Absolutely! That’s the reason we’re writing stuff now is so we can continue playing. There are still a lot of people who haven’t seen us live, and it will be fun to play some new songs, so we will definitely be playing out more. We also discussed staying away from bigger festival type shows and doing smaller venues. We like that aesthetic personally, as fans, and we want to try to make it more of a show than just a band playing their set.
All of you have other bands outside of The Lillingtons, but is there anything in particular you’ve missed about this band? The creative process with the guys, etc.?
Yeah, definitely! Teenage Bottlerocket are my family, and they’re like family to the other guys too. I’m pretty sure it’s the same with [guitarist] Alex [Volonino] and [his other band], Grey Area. We’ve all been doing this stuff for a really long time, and you forge relationships and grow up doing this stuff together. But there’s a process that [bassist] Cory [Laurence] and I have of writing songs that just seems familiar. We brainstorm off each other and get way too stoked on shit.
Also, all of us have a very dark and sarcastic sense of humor that plays off of one another. Ask Toby [Jeg] from Red Scare about it. He’ll text us a question, and there is usually 80 or so replies before he finally gets a half-assed answer. That’s typical when dealing with us.
Do you expect The Lillingtons to continue getting together, at least occasionally, to play beyond what’s already on the books?
We’re just getting around to discussing this now. The main focus is to have something out before we do any more shows, so when that happens, we will start planning things. Yes, it will happen. When and where has yet to be determined…