Lilygun’s history is one of extreme measures! The band was formed by the enigmatic singer/songwriter/guitarist Anna-Christina, who is the driving force behind the group. With a turbulent history of her own, Anna-Christina has a remarkable story to tell.
On Lilygun’s climb to success, the singer suffered a Subarachnoid Brain Haemorrhage. The shock hit hard. Her life stood on a knife's blade for a few deadly months but it was not to be the end.
Her operation and recovery was a miracle. Words could not describe her hardship and pure determination to return to music and she eventually came back with a vengeance. Clawing out from the pit of despair and defying all odds, she made an astonishing comeback. The charismatic singer proved what a courageous little being she is and her spirit showed that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. Her light was music.
Lilygun has been a band plagued with countless line-up changes which meant that endless auditioning often kept them out of the limelight. Anna-Christina’s health issues throughout the band's earlier years also hugely held back progress. Blood, sweat and cursing led Lilygun to find their heavy, dark routes and they eventually catapulted themselves into the edgy Alt Rock medium.
In the early stages of Lilygun, the band became known as Anna-Christina and Piranha, Lilygun's extraordinary original bass player. They began playing with guest lead guitarist Aaron John. He became a key ingredient in the development of Lilygun's sound of today.
It's no secret that Lilygun have had many guitarists, every type and style of player but in all the years no one had actually changed the course of Lilygun or its sound to such an extent as this remarkable musician. Aaron John's unparalleled talent to invent, changed Lilygun forever.
Lilygun have seen it all. They rolled up to one of their gigs without a drummer (he decided to go for dinner instead of fulfilling his duties) which is possibly one of the most stressful and awful things that can happen to a band on the night of a gig. However they dazzled with an unplugged set instead! They effortlessly glided through stripped down renditions of their songs and ended with the ever ethereal Moonlight. They were greeted with rapturous applause from an audience demanding more, Lilygun obliged.
One thing is for sure, when you turn up to see a Lilygun gig you never know what you're about to see but can trust in the fact that you'll always get a nice surprise! Ironically due to the success of this gig, it turned out to be the beginning of a series of successful unplugged gigs that followed.
Eventually Lilygun began to creep into the media's attention and were receiving good demo reviews on music websites, published in several magazines and were played on XFM, TotalRock and many other radio shows.
The band cooked up a magnanimous creation and recorded Diamonds with producer David Ryder Prangley (Singer of Rachel Stamp). This recording was Lilygun's first ever single, self-released in March 2008 and went on to receive brilliant reviews and even made the Most Popular Hits of 2009!
A string of gigs followed through the year including The Women in Music Festival in Birmingham, the Surface Unsigned Festival, Carling Academy Bar where they were first joined by drummer Belle Star (Killing Miranda) and the Borderline supporting Die So Fluid.
Lilygun also played with guest drummer Robin Guy (Faith No More/Bruce Dickinson) for a few shows including Gotham Festival at 02 Academy Islington. They recorded their debut EP Peace of Mind at the famous Britannia Row Studios (the direct descendent of the original Pink Floyd's studio) where Anna-Christina and Piranha took full control of the recording, both taking part in engineering, recording and mixing. The first single Conversations, self-released August 2009, earned fantastic write-ups, was published in Devolution Magazine and received air play on Radio Nightbreed and Radio Rheinwelle in Germany on The John Peel Show.
The highlights of 2010 saw Lilygun support Anna-Marie Hurst at the Scala, The Eden House in Colchester and Bristol and a headlining show at Camden Underworld where they were joined on stage by David Ryder Prangley on bass. The band's first EP Peace of Mind was self-released that summer. Lilygun also had a full page article published in the Observer newspaper in November.
During 2011 Lilygun began to record their debut album. Live performances grew to new heights with successful shows at 02 Academy Islington, The Garage, Electrowerkz and other venues in and around London.
2012 was Lilygun’s year! After all the hardship and anticipation, they released their first two album singles Scum and Moonlight on Zeff Music. Both were well received by critics, most notably the second single Moonlight receiving rave reviews, making XFM’s Playlist on the Ian Camfield Rock Show and a nomination for a Pure Rawk Award for ‘Best Single of the Year’. Lilygun’s self-titled debut album was released in September on A Line Records/Cargo Records.
It received outstanding reviews from a cross section of reviewers and DJs, from Rock to Pop, Metal to Goth and Alternative magazines and websites. It featured regularly on radio and podcasts both in the UK and abroad long after its release.
The band was interviewed live on radio for Raidersbroadcast and Anna-Christina and Belle Star (now a regular member) did their first Skype interview on America’s XPat Radio. Other interviews for Riot Music followed. Lilygun made ‘Band of the Month’ on Roomthirteen.com as well as ‘Album of the Year’ on Nanobot Rock Reviews and specially recommended on Riot Music.
Following the album release, they received an endorsement deal and were booked for two big festivals in London, The Renaissance Alternative Music Festival and Gotham Festival at 02 Academy Islington.
A mini album tour followed of successful gigs in and around London. The Intrepid Fox, two headlining dates Upstairs at The Garage, The Jubilee Late Night Show at The Barfly, The Flag in Watford, The Horn in Hertfordshire and The Twist in Colchester to name a few, wrapped up the years hard work.
2013 saw Lilygun team up with bass player and long time friend Ashley Dreher, for the return to The Renaissance Alternative Music Festival in May as well as a string of shows throughout the beginning of the year. The band was lucky enough to be one of the last bands ever to perform at the legendary London venue The Bull & Gate before its closure in April.
Whilst Lilygun began to focus on writing their second album, Anna-Christina began a spin-off project she called "Pretty Little Lady?". Solo acoustic music with an edge and "not for the faint-hearted", Anna-Christina performed a series of intimate gigs in and around London throughout 2013/2014. Having never performed solo in the past, her shows generated interest and good reviews.
She released a collection of songs as part of her first acoustic EP called Pretty Little Lady?. One song from the EP was released every Sunday throughout the month of May 2015.
Songs from Pretty Little Lady? were featured on radio shows throughout the year and were popular. Anna-Christina performed her solo set at several headlining shows in London including the Avalon, the Dublin Castle, AlleyCats, Proud in Camden and Monto Water Rats. Other stand out gigs were The Flag in Watford, The Horn in St Albans and The Renaissance Alternative Music Festival in London.
On Halloween night Anna-Christina released her first official music video for the song Little Boy Blue. The video was directed by Jordan KK and filmed at Unit 2 Studios.
By 2016, the recording of Lilygun's second album was in full swing. "The Big Eight" (songs) as Anna-Christina called them, were chosen out of a selection of twenty demo songs. Most of the musicians playing on the new album also performed on Lilygun's debut.
In true Lilygun fashion, the making of their second album didn't go without a little drama! After recording sessions ended, Anna-Christina began to mix the album with producer/engineer Adie Hardy and Belle. Much to their horror, the first few mixes were lost when the studio hard drive decided to die!
However the wait was over and finally Lilygun released the much anticipated first single from their second album on 8th October 2016! Inside was the last song written by Anna-Christina before suffering from a Subarachnoid Brain Haemorrhage. She decided it was fitting to release the song on the same date as the incident using her head X Ray as the cover!
Lilygun followed this up a with their first music video.
It’s guaranteed, not many rock bands first music video will look like Lilygun's! Directed by David Ryder Prangley, the Inside music video clocked up over a thousand views on Facebook in less than 24 hours. Lilygun proved to not only be unique in sound but also in vision. Anna-Christina’s raw and powerful performance was captured beautifully in the video and she was delighted when a reviewer described her as "a Gothic Kate Bush". Inside made 'Video of the Week' on Belgium's Rock Your Underground and Lilygun were back in the news!
On 17/7/17 the band released their second album Strength & Grace as a Limited edition gatefold CD. Within six days of its release, the album sold out. This was a real testament to their continued popularity, despite the lack of live shows in recent years.
In September, Anna-Christina was invited to perform live on radio for the first time. She played acoustic versions of Inside, What Goes Around and her Garbage cover version of Fix Me Now on K2K Radio.
By November, Lilygun had released their second single What Goes Around with another music video and Strength & Grace was reissued. The cover for Strength & Grace was designed with two faces. The first edition cover was the white side, the reissued edition, the black side. This makes both versions of the album special.
Anna-Christina didn't want to mass produce CDs because she wanted to give Lilygun fans something which they knew was unique. From the songs, to the packaging, to the first two music videos, Anna-Christina made an effort to make sure everything was a true, authentic representation of what Lilygun has become.
2017 was a great year for the band. Whilst old fans remained loyal, Lilygun reached the eyes and ears of a whole new fan-base which meant copies of both their albums sold like hot potatoes!
There's still plenty of Lilygun action scheduled for next year. The band are planning on releasing their third single with another music video and there's rumours of a live show. In the meantime, keep a look out for behind the scenes photos from both video shoots and one or two other surprises!