Carolien Arends – Lilith to the music world – certainly has her own way of doing things. Clearly a creative and lateral thinker, her approach to music and life is at once simple and straightforward, and yet quite left of field. When we speak she answers from her new home in the German countryside, a small farm in a village of around one hundred people, 60km from the nearest highway, lord knows how many kilometres from the nearest club.
Lilith is at a rapidly blossoming stage in her career, with her productions gaining acclaim and rising into the illustrious Beatport Top 20, her touring schedule picking up and recently joining forces with Guerilla Agency. And yet this all comes just after her decision to leave the network and buzz of her hometown Amsterdam and move out into the country with her boyfriend and two German Shephard pups. It’s an unusual move, but one which has already paid dividends in the studio.
“I’m a loner a little bit in this scene… When I lived in the city I went out all the time, meeting up with people in clubs, but this didn’t really bring me the inspiration I need. Now I’m here, back to basics and doing the thing that I love the most; for me that’s making music, it’s what comes out of my heart.”
It seems that making bold decisions like the country move has shaped Lilith’s career for the better thus far. Going back to 2010, Lilith decided to part ways with her music partner of seven years, in the very same year they finally cracked onto the scene and released their first EP.
“We discovered everything for the first time together, practicing playing vinyl, playing in clubs like Studio 80 and festivals like Welcome to the Future. This period was the biggest learning curve for me. I learnt to develop my own identity and that experience together created powerful ideas that I might never have discovered alone.”
“But in the end I was more busy with the production side and my friend, she was more interested in playing, so we were not on the same level. It was the right time for change and that’s why we parted ways.”
Another great opportunity for Lilith, when she was invited to join legendary Dennis Ferrer’s Objektivity Tour, turned out to be another instance where a difficult decision had to be made…
“On the road we found out that my sound was just different than the Objektivity sound, so I had to decide, OK where do I go? Do I stay with this crew and play the music that fits within their point of view, or do I need to focus on myself and just do my own thing? That’s what I had to decide in the last six months, and it was not easy but I did it, and now I see that a lot of new things are coming my way.”
“We need to take risks to grow and change – and it provides us with surprises we otherwise miss out on. In the last six months I’ve made so many changes for my own career; it was very scary but I had to do it.”
Whilst her world is changing around her, Lilith finds direction and consistency in numeracy, especially its long-established close connection to music.
“Music & Math both share aspects of structure and form, patterns and rhythm. So when I create music, I apply this philosophy, and do so by using certain frequencies instead of keys… Everything in the universe has a frequency: colours, forms and of course sounds. And we come from this universe too, so I try to use this in my productions to touch the people on the dance floor – that’s the whole thing.”
“But my obsession with numbers goes a little deeper, and maybe more crazy than that, dare I say it. For several years now I have seen the numbers ’44’ on license plates, bill boards, phone numbers, addresses, digital clocks etc., at a specific moment in time, when something memorable or special has occurred.”
She goes on to describe an significant walk in the woods near her home, where her dog led her to discover a rock with an interesting marking on its face, in which she saw the number 44 three times. It was from this marking that the Lilith logo was born.
“When I see these numbers ’44’ I know that I’m following the right path, my thoughts on that moment are the right ones. I use it as a guidance so i know what my next step is. ’44’ shows me my path, and in a way my purpose in life. So when I don’t see those numbers for days I know I’m not following the right path.”
Her highly successful collaboration with David Gtronic to make Lagrimas del Sol, a mini album of originals which has since been re-released as remixes, had the numerical stamp of approval Lilith was looking for. After completing the mini-album she discovered the total playtime ran 44 minutes and 44 seconds. Freaky. Whether these connections find us or we search for them it’s hard to say, but having a belief in something beyond the mundane – numeracy or otherwise – enriches the art we make and certainly as much can be said for Lilith and her music.
Considering her unique and meticulous approach to production, I ask if it’s a strange feeling to hear her original tracks altered into someone else’s remix…
“Letting go is not the end, it’s the beginning of something new. I believe there is enough space for everybody and in my opinion nowadays everything is a remix. I love to share, I think in this scene that’s very important.”
And music isn’t the only thing Lilith is eager to share…
“I’m just a modern farmer girl and I try to grow my own food, not only for myself but for a greater community. One thing is for sure there are more DJs than farmers, but what is most likely – that the DJ needs to eat, or that the farmer needs to go to the club?”
Lilith has a remix coming out next month on Wrong State Recordings, and further remixes on the boil for release in the near future. You can catch her next in London at Plan B for Avant Garde on Saturday 8th March alongside Detlef LIVE, Anthea and Scott Kemp – or if you can’t wait for that, check out her exclusive mix for MEOKO here. Looking beyond that I think we can expect to hear a great deal yet from this agricultural and mathematical musician. Where 44 goes, Lilith follows.