Interview: Eilish Gilligan
Melbourne's Eilish Gilligan has been a regular on almost everyone's 'ones to watch' list since she released her first single 'Here' in 2016. And it is easy to see why. With her emotive vocals, powerful lyrics and stunning visuals, her 1980s-inflected pop is both timeless and effortlessly cutting edge. Playing for the first time at this year's BIGSOUND festival in Brisbane, Eilish recently spoke to Women In Pop about her music and what we can expect from her upcoming shows.
Hi Eilish! So, to begin with how are things in the world of Eilish Gilligan right now?
Hi Women In Pop! I am very busy at the moment juggling my day job in music PR and getting new music together for the later half of the year. I'm also prepping my set for a couple of headline shows in August and September in Sydney and Melbourne and, of course, for BIGSOUND!
We really love your recent single ‘Patterns’ - the 80s vibe is amazing, plus the lyrics are really powerful and just a little bit heartbreaking. What was your inspiration behind this song?
Thank you! I’m really proud of this song. I think it’s definitely one of the saddest songs I’ve ever written – it’s about the sudden realisation that over the course of several different relationships, a very repetitive behavioural pattern emerged at my end and it really freaked me out. ‘Will I ever get better?’ in the break is a very real lyric for me!
Do you have any more new music coming up, or plans to release a full album?
Yes and yes! An album is a little way off yet – I’ve only ever done singles so far and would like to close off this period in my songwriting career with an EP hopefully towards the end of this year or heading into early next year. There is new music definitely still to come this year though.
You are appearing at BIGSOUND festival in Brisbane in September. What can we expect from your performance?
Lots of drama – the good entertaining kind though! I can’t wait to play BIGSOUND, it’s been a dream of mine for a very long time.
Music festivals around the world have come under fire recently for the lack of female artists on line-ups. What are your thoughts on the gender equality situation in today’s music industry, and how female artists are portrayed in the media?
I get asked this question a lot and it’s always extremely difficult to answer. Obviously the situation at hand is not ideal, and bookers/promoters/the industry in general have spent far too many years not trying hard enough to book representative and diverse lineups. But I think if we continue to hold others and ourselves accountable for these things I hope that we will see improvement.
In your career have you experienced episodes of sexism, or where you felt you were disrespected because of your gender?
Yes I have – but to be honest with you, as a white cis woman who’s currently in a heteronormative relationship, brought up in Melbourne, it’s certainly nowhere near as hard for me as it would be for someone with less privilege than me. Lorde has a great quote that really sums this up: "I mean, it's totally not about me. It's about all the women who may not have the opportunities that I have, all the privileges that I have. (Feminism is about) trying to fight for better conditions and better treatment of all women, whether that be trans women, or women of color, or women in professions that don't get a lot of respect. That, to me, is what feminism is all about."
Do you think the situation is changing?
Slowly, and with a lot of issues along the way, but yeah, I think it’s changing.
What music/artists are you listening to at the moment?
htmlflowers, Banoffee, Amy Shark, Alice Ivy, Nat Vazer, yergurl, Moaning Lisa.
So, what’s up next for Eilish Gilligan?
New music, lots of shows, BIGSOUND, hopefully as much adventure and excitement I can possibly squeeze into one lifetime!
Eilish Gilligan is performing at BIGSOUND in Brisbane 4th-7th September 2018. For more info and tickets go to their website bigsound.org.au
You can also catch Eilish performing in Sydney and Melbourne on the following dates:
August 24 - The World Bar, Sydney Get tickets here
August 26 - Memo Music Hall, St Kilda, Melbourne Get tickets here
August 31 - The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood, Melbourne Get tickets here
September 1 - The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood, Melbourne SOLD OUT