Imagine poring over an album for months only to scrap the entire thing and start over again. Now imagine that you're not in Limp Bizkit.
Lillix, the young female quartet from rural Cranbrook, British Columbia, predated Fred Durst's fickleness by more than a year, but instead of starting over with a new member in the band, the group started fresh with several folks who work their magic behind the scenes.
Falling Uphill, due Tuesday, was as painstaking to create as the title infers. It's the culmination of a two-year ordeal that paired bassist Louise Burns, drummer Kim Urhahn, guitarist Tasha-Ray Evin and her sister, keyboardist Lacey-Lee, with a host of songwriters and producers, including the Matrix (Avril Lavigne), Philip Steir (No Doubt), Linda Perry (Pink), John Shanks (Michelle Branch) and Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette).
"We basically started with one record and threw it away and started another one," 17-year-old Tasha-Ray explained.
"We were just trying to find the right producer that matched our work the best and best captured our sound," added Burns, also 17.
The process seems to have worked. After introducing themselves with a cover of the Romantics' 1980 favorite "What I Like About You," which served as the theme song for the WB TV series of the same name, the album's first single, "It's About Time," is a certified hit. The harmonic and hooky musical equivalent of hard candy has been a "TRL" staple for weeks, and the song is beginning to get momentum at pop radio.
The popularity surge has brought major changes to the group's lifestyle — not that long ago half the band probably would have been in fourth period rather than speaking with MTV News in the middle of the day last week. Success has also brought about some strange requests from media outlets that pay more attention to Lillix's looks than licks. During a recent photo shoot for a teen magazine, a stylist suggested they "do something crazy" and make "Home Alone" faces.
Needless to say, the ladies politely declined the opportunity to mimic Macaulay Culkin's signature expression from 1990.
"They always ask us to do crazy Avril Lavigne things," complained Burns, "and we're like, 'No. We're not that.' "
You get the sense that they'd sooner follow Culkin's footsteps and hang with Jacko's pet Bubbles the chimp than face another comparison to their "Complicated" Canadian compatriot. No one's pulling the parallels from the ether, however. Lillix sound like the sum of their songwriter-and-producer parts. "It's About Time" was even written with the assistance of the Matrix, the trio that also helped Lavigne get noticed beyond Napanee (see "Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne Fall Into The Matrix").
The major difference between Lillix and the artists their hired studio guns have made famous is the length of time each has dedicated to their craft. Despite their ages, Lillix have been a band for six years, Tasha-Ray has played guitar for nine, Urhahn has drummed for 12 and the Evin sisters began writing songs together shortly after they were able to hold a pen (see "Lillix Pair Angelic Voices With Rock Sensibilities On Debut").
"A lot of people assume that we were put together right after Avril Lavigne's success, but it wasn't like that at all," Burns explained. "It has nothing to do with a trend or anything. It just happens to be the best of times and the worst of times for us.
"We're a band, and [our record label] understands us," she added, "so there's no dance lessons or stuff like that. There's definitely pressure to look a certain way, but we're who we are."
Joe D'Angelo, with reporting by SuChin Pak