Ashley Osborn

In Conversation With Lilith Czar – The Voice of a Generation

Once the entire world finds out about Lilith Czar and she is no longer rock’s best kept secret…. Well, all we can say is that life will never be the same.

Gloriously dangerous and dangerously glorious, Lilith Czar is already on the verge of changing life as we know it with just a single album. That’s right, under the powerhouse’s reinvented belt is an army of inspired, “liberated” humans filling a void not simply within themselves, but in society as a whole. We’re living in a world that charges the innocent for speaking up, speaking out, being themselves, falling in love, finding their path. Lilith Czar challenges that with stars in her black-rimmed eyes. A daring, sensual, and heavy character to play, but a vital one nonetheless, Lilith Czar (formerly Juliet Simms) throws sensitivities out the window and uses her voice to guide and heal. Her aura is dark, her voice is strong, and her art is destined for greatness.

This singer-songwriter knew she needed a rebranding, but did she know it would come at the most penitent, most indispensable of times in music, culture, and life? Created From Filth And Dust is an enriching concept record, an album that is grounded in perfectly imperfect rock and roll, and an original piece of music that is incredible to listen to, imperative to experience live, and emboldening to live by. (There’s a reason it made it onto our coveted Top Albums of 2021 list.) On tour currently with Godsmack, Black Veil Brides, Three Days Grace, and Wage War, soon hitting the road with Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, and others, as well as playing the festival circuit to fans new and old, Lilith Czar has quite the 2022 in the books already, meaning she’s already well on her way to having another impressive year after that of her debut album. It’s all not without meaning, though, and there is care laced into every moment – personal and professional. How do we know? Aside from her artistic, glittering stage presence and heartwarming corner of the online world, she told us herself for this exclusive interview.

You just closed out one tour last night, right around the corner from us in Philadelphia, and as you said, it was unreal. Your set, the whole night, and every minute was riveting, raw rock and roll. With a lineup like that one and the various tour-mates you have coming up, what are you looking forward to or bringing to the table?

The camaraderie is really important. In my earlier years of touring, and for many, you’re more focused on what you look like and what you have to do to put on the best show. When you’re first coming up, it’s very much like ‘me, me, me.’ I’ve come to this kind of touring life where I very much want my show to acknowledge the other people who are on the tour with me. For instance, touring with Evanescence and Halestorm – I wanted to learn from these women. I want to watch them every night. I want to take notes. I want to pick their brains. Having this friendship kind of bloom on the tour with each other makes it very much this magical night where friends are supporting friends and we all want each other to do their best and put on the best show possible and we want each other to succeed and win. There’s like just a sisterhood in that aspect and you can feel that.

Then jumping on this tour where it’s predominantly men, it’s a little bit different, but there’s definitely a brotherly vibe that I get within the band and the crew. Their crews have just taken us under their wing and help us with things, because when you’re opening for a tour this big, you don’t have as many crew members and you don’t have all the necessities of having a successful show every night. Making friends with everybody and having them step in and help us when we needed, it was real and it felt very much like they cared about us and were wanting us to be at the level that they were at. It’s very much like a family.

That must be so heartwarming to have a sense of love on the road with and within your camp.

It is. The boys in Black Veil, I’ve known them now for about 12 years and a bunch of their crew has been with them for years, so it was like getting to tour with family

That is so special and hopefully people continue to pick up on. You know, Lilith, I’m seeing these tour announcements come out and it doesn’t even look like there is a true supporting act on the bill. So many of these shows you’re embarking on seems like everyone is equals in a way and that everyone is there for the right reasons: to show the world impassioned rock and roll night after night.

Yeah, it’s so true. I don’t know if it’s this specific genre of music because it’s the first time that I’ve really experienced this feeling of, “Oh, this person wants me to do well. This person genuinely wants me to succeed.” There’s just been other vibes that I’ve gotten in the past on tours in different lanes where you didn’t have that sense of, “Let me take you under my wing and help you through this.” So it’s definitely there this time, and it’s, like you said before, palpable.

I’m so glad. Speaking on this lane you’re in here and now, you’ve been making music and making your mark in the variety of different ways over the years, but we are knee deep in the Lilith Czar era. So far it’s filled with the most beautiful community of peers and artists and fans. As Lilith herself, what about this time right now sticks out to you? Outside of, you know, reintroducing yourself during a global pandemic.

[Laughs] Well, I would say that the thing that sticks out the most to me is that I’m getting to be exactly who I want to be. I’m getting to say exactly what I want to say. I’m getting to have conviction behind the things I’m passionate about and help people through that. I think that is the thing that I would say sticks out the most in this whole transformation, coming out as Lilith, releasing the record, and everything. It has helped people make changes in themselves. If there’s one thing that I get every single day, whether it’s on social media in comments or through cameos or talking to fans in person, the thing I get told the most is, “This helped me get through A or B, this helped me make this change I needed.” I would say that is the most important and that is the thing that has happened through all of it and it’s the thing that sticks out the most from releasing the album and touring: really connecting with people and helping them with music.

You already know about my love of this album, but my two favorite songs from it are “Lola” and “Feed My Chaos.” They’re both hard hitting, but almost ethereal in a sense that when you’re playing these songs, they surround you and they fill the air. “Anarchy,” of course, is one of those. When these songs come to life on stage, now that they’re getting a chance to, do they come to life in a different way than when you first put them together?

It’s so funny you say that, because all the time, I’m like, “I wish that I could write a record and then I could go out and tour it for like half a year and then come back and record it.” [Laughs] Because what happens is you’ll write a song with your concept in mind and the lyrics and what it mean, but when you’re singing it for the first time… well, you’re still exploring its life and the world that it’s in. Once you get on the road and you start playing these songs, they start to take on different meanings again because they start to represent different things for different people. That’s something you’ll get told by fans and in messages, so then you start to understand what it means to other people. No matter how it starts, the song grows into something completely different than its origin. And, so they absolutely take on new life. During this record so far, every single night I am learning something new about it or having a different feelings about the song that I’m performing.

As people, we are constantly evolving and that keeps life exciting for us, so when you’re playing the same songs over and over every night, it definitely keeps it extra exciting for us as a performer to be able to play it in almost a new way every [show]. It’s not like you’re singing the song backwards. You’re not changing the lyrics. You’re not fully changing the melodies or anything like that, but you are almost like you are performing it through the eyes of a person who is experiencing it for the first time – if that makes sense.

It does! It’s like every intricate lyric and every guitar riff and every impeccable melody is almost encapsulating the night as a whole, rather than the album as a whole.

Yeah, absolutely. Wow. 100%.

Created From Filth And Dust is a new experience on stage and it’s worth every minute of it, whether you’re a headliner or an opener or a blip in a festival’s radar. You’re doing it justice and then some.

Thank you. Gosh, that makes me so happy.

Something else that I adore that you do is your playlist on Spotify, “Lilith’s Air,” which is open for public consumption You regularly include seemingly imperative songs to it and to your repertoire as both a musician and a fan of music. I just would love to know what does that playlist is for you and curating it means to you.

Well, first of all, thank you. I’m so glad that it’s being taken so well. When I first started that playlist, I wanted to include the songs that changed me in some fashion, whether that was like vocally or just at a point in my life it was there for me when I needed it, or it shaped me in this way or whatever. It was the songs that made me. That’s kind of how it started and that’s why I titled the playlist “Lilith’s Air,” because it’s like my oxygen – it’s what has kept me moving and going and growing and changing. It started off with that and slowly, over the course of the last year-and-a-half that it’s been up, I’ve just been adding songs like, “Oh yeah, I remember that! My gosh, I remember I used to listen to that all the time, like a hundred times straight when I first heard it! This song has a place in my heart.” Adding new stuff to the playlist, new things that I’m listening to or new discoveries or just anything really that makes a mark on me, has been great. I want to put on there a piece of me, so if a song is that, I include it [on] the playlist because… I don’t know. I feel like if you’re gonna get to know me at all through music, and if it’s not gonna be through my music, there are these records and these songs that helped me find me and make me, so hopefully they can do the same thing for you.

I think it is. I’ve seen some posts online about how people are gravitating toward the playlist as means of being inspired to rock out and be an artist like yourself… and its just good music to listen to, too.

That means so much to me. I’m so glad I could make a playlist that people enjoy.

You are. It’s an escape artistically, as well. It may be online, but it’s something peaceful and inspiring. We’re living in an age where social media and streamable music and the internet is prevailing – for better or for worse. You’ve made great strides online and have made your space meaningful, creative, and interactive as an artist and a person. When it comes to being a performer and utilizing the internet as a platform to be artistic and connecting, do you believe it’s more of a positive or a negative? Because you really seem to have a grasp on how vulnerable and genuine you can be with it, which many can learn from in and out of the entertainment industry.

I think that it has its pros and it has its cons. The cons for me, for a while at least and not so much anymore, was just that, t’s very hard as an artist to have critiques about everything. You know what I mean? Whether it’s your song or how you look or your makeup that day or whatever it is, you’re constantly being critiqued. In the past, that was something that affected me. When social media really started to boom that was when I used to be very insecure and I had that sort of criticism kind of stick with me for a while. Once I learned to not let that bother me and really just listen to me, I grew more confident. I started loving who I was. I started to actually just focus on my art and the messages and the lyrics ane just really pour my attention into the things that I love that kind of fell by the wayside. Now that hasn’t really been something that’s affected me in the last few years, so I can say that once you can get past those voices on social media, being able to connect with your fans so easily in the way that we can is amazing.

When I was a child, you, the only way that you could ever hear from your idols was like through a magazine or on TV or by listening to the radio. Now to be able to send a message right away… like if I came up with a poem or if I came up with a video that I want to show people or I made some artistic thing, I’m able to give that to fans right away. I would’ve killed for that when I was a kid. Now, with Lilith Czar and this era and everything that’s been going on, the response back is just as powerful as what I feel like I’m doing. Getting to hear to hear that is is having an affect on people the way that it’s affecting them; that the response to my art is like my my fuel. I think that if I didn’t have this kind of connection with my fan base and I couldn’t read these letters and read these messages and see these videos and hear are all the things that they’re saying, it would almost be like, “Why am I doing this?” For me to be able to see all of that, it’s just as valuable to me as I hope that my music is to other people. It’s really liberating to share and connect with emotion and art. That’s what I want my corner of the internet to be for people, my music to be for people – and for myself – a place of empowerment and liberation.