Lambrini Girls aren’t the type to pause for breath. Whether it’s in their fiery punk delivery, their unflinching passion, their vicious, irresistible performance, or their seemingly relentless touring schedule, the Brighton duo are powering ahead at 100%. Phoebe Lunny on guitar and vocals, and Lilly Macieira on bass have been a creative partnership for a long time, meeting on the Brighton live circuit, and since the release of their debut EP ‘You’re Welcome’ in May of last year, they’ve catapulted from local scene staples to essential listening for anyone angry about the world.
We caught up with them earlier this month as they were about to take the stage the iconic Pink Room at Manchester’s YES.
ROCK SOUND: So this time yesterday you weren’t even in the country! You’ve just played Eurosonic, and it feels like you’ve been non-stop since ‘You’re Welcome’ came out. How’s it been?
PHOEBE: “Yeah, yesterday we played Eurosonic in the Netherlands, and then we missed our ferry back! We got back around 10, 11, then got back out again this morning. It’s been go, go, go – we had a break over Christmas.”
LILLY: “Just a slight one though! We still had shows, and recording, and stuff.”
PHOEBE: “It’s been mega busy, but that’s without new music, so fuck knows what it’s going to be like with new music!”
RS: How have things changed for you since the release of ‘You’re Welcome’?
PHOEBE: “The most notable difference was getting a team around us. We signed to [Big Scary Monsters] and went from being a DIY band to suddenly having a press person, bookers, all of that stuff. People suddenly being like ‘we’re going to do this for you, you need to be there, you need to do that…’ ”
LILLY: “It was a bit of a whiplash moment. It all went from zero to a hundred really, really quickly. We wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have the people around us that we do. Before, we were so busy organising everything and doing all the normal bits that a band does. And then afterwards, we didn’t have to do that any more, but now we have to play a whole lot more and travel a whole lot more!”
RS: Momentum has definitely picked up for you. Did all the hype of 2023 change anything about your creative process, between You’re Welcome and whatever is coming next?
PHOEBE: “Arguably, the next little nugget of music you might hear is one of our most political songs. From a musical standpoint, it’s still catchy and fun, still a laugh, still very tongue-in-cheek. Just us but better!”
LILLY: “When we wrote the EP, we wrote it with a permanent band member, Catt, on drums, who had a real big hand in the songwriting and song composition. So it has definitely changed, but not necessarily for the better or worse. Me and Pheebs have always bounced off each other really well; Catt’s not in that mix any more, and we bounced off Catt really well too… Now sometimes we’re in a room with our new drummer and a song just comes together from scratch! It varies completely.”
RS: You’ve attracted some unwanted attention because of how you’ve used your platform to champion trans rights. What was it like dealing with that, navigating all the hate and continuing to speak up?
PHOEBE: “That was insane. We literally just played a show with visualisers in the back, just saying ‘Trans Lives Matter’, and that shouldn’t be controversial at all. But we woke up the next day, while we were still at the festival, to all these TERFs going mental on twitter. Ultimately, I think it’s very important to keep bringing these conversations into the mainstream. With people like that, it’s like having a bunch of wasps in a jar and shaking it – they’re asking for a fight, and it got to a point where it was so out of control.
“All you can do is be as rational as you can, and continue to do what you’re doing – the last thing we want to do is make the conversation revolve around us. We both use she/they pronouns, both AFAB and relatively femme presenting, so it’s not a hardship that we face every day, so we want to amplify the voices of trans friends and people in the space. And at the end of the day, the hate that you might face is a fraction of what people of marginalised genders do every day.”
RS: Have you found that through all that, you’ve been able to gather the right community around you? You’ve made the sort of impression you want to make as a band?
PHOEBE: “I think it’s nice that other people step up and it encourages other people to be vocal about these issues. I’d say increasingly, the more political as a band you become, the more people will not want to touch you, and then the people that end up wanting to be involved are the people that support your decisions.”
LILLY: “We’ve made our stance on things very clear, and I think we’re sending a very strong message. I don’t think anyone, or any labels could look at us and be like, hmmm, yeah, I could make something of these two girls, very valuable!”
PHOEBE: “[laughing] These lovely sweet girls! It was a natural deterrent for those sorts of people. The whole reason we’re doing it is to have a platform to speak about these things.”
LILLY: “I’ve actually become more politically active since I joined this band. When you’re in this environment, and especially with me and Phoebe’s friendship, too, a lot of our friendship is based on the values that we agree on. It’s come hand in hand.”
RS: Your music is very politically engaged, very societally engaged, very angry at times. But also to listen to, it’s really fun, and your live shows are a riot – was it deliberate, to bring those two sides together?
PHOEBE: “It’s a mixture of both. Because me and Lilly are silly little guys, number one, we love having a laugh. But at the same time, the easier a message is to listen to, the more people will listen. If you have a message which is accessible, and also kind of exciting and fun, the more people pay attention.
“Ultimately, I think, women and queer people get held to a standard that male bands don’t. You look at [a band like] IDLES, they have a very political stance with a lot of their music, but they can also sing about things which aren’t political, which is also fine. No one questions it. Whereas if we don’t constantly exceed people’s expectations of what they think we should be, then we will get hate.”
RS: Do you feel like you have the freedom to write non-political songs, now or in the future?
LILLY: “There already have been a few songs where it’s not necessarily about something specifically political. I’m just theorising, because Phoebe writes the lyrics, but eventually as a musician and as a well-rounded person, you’re going to get to the point where you want to be exploring different kinds of themes. Generally speaking, I think every band reserves the right to write things that aren’t always political, and explore things in a more gradual way. While also still caring about things and using our platform!”
PHOEBE: “We’re always going to be political as a band. I’ll always like to write songs about politics, and there’s always going to be things in an inherently horrible world which we should be angry about, and should use our platform to be talking about. But at the same time, we can write songs about looking inwards as well. We could do six songs about observational politics, and then do one about a pancake recipe, just for shits and giggles.”
‘You’re Welcome’ is out now.