Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: LILLA VARGEN

The Northern Irish singer-songwriter on her brand of “sad-pop”, and her biggest pinch-me moment so far.

Lilla Vargen for Wonderland online

Dress HILDUR YEOMAN

Lilla Vargen for Wonderland online
Dress HILDUR YEOMAN

The housing crisis in Ireland, unhealthy relationships, and the universal longing for the ones that got away. The music of Northern Irish singer-songwriter Lilla Vargen has that rare ability to emote, educate and transport.

From the deeply personal songwriting, tender but powerful vocal prowess, and gossamer production – tracks such as “The Shore”, “Why Wait” and “Solitary” have garnered fans from all over the world (keep an eye out for her forthcoming single “Cold”).

We caught up with the singer-songwriter and talked about her brand of “sad-pop”, her roots, and her biggest pinch-me moment so far…

When did you first realise you wanted to make music?
I’ve been writing songs since I can remember. The house I grew up in was home to an old piano that belonged to my gran, and I’d sit there for hours from a young age, working out songs other people were singing or making up my own melodies and words. At times it feels like less of a want and more of a necessity to me – writing music helps me to navigate some of the most difficult and testing moments in my life. 

Who did you grow up listening to?
Nina Simone, The Beatles, Elvis – I’m definitely hugely inspired by the greats. Outside of that, I love HAIM, Jai Paul, Tame Impala. 

How has your Northern Irish roots influenced your music? 
The scenery around where I grew up has certainly impacted on my music. The beautiful countryside near my house certainly inspires the sounds that go into the songs, and the atmospheric of the music. Portrush which is about 30 minutes from mine is one of my favourite places in the world – the stunning coastline really puts me at ease.

How would you describe your genre?
There’s certainly elements of pop to my songwriting – although everything is underpinned with an element of sadness and heartbreak. Let’s call it sad-pop.

Lilla Vargen for Wonderland online white coat
Lilla Vargen for Wonderland online leather

(LEFT) Bikini bra OCEANUS BEACHWEAR, coat ZENOSYNE
(RIGHT) Leather Blazer OCULARIS, top and underwear PRONOUNCE, trousers MILO MARIA

Lilla Vargen for Wonderland online white coat
Bikini bra OCEANUS BEACHWEAR, coat ZENOSYNE
Lilla Vargen for Wonderland online leather
Leather Blazer OCULARIS, top and underwear PRONOUNCE, trousers MILO MARIA

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Experiences within my life and the lives of those around me are the biggest influence. All my writing is about real life moments and feelings that I’ve encountered. It’s not all about me, but it’s definitely easier to write about your own relationships and situations.

What’s been your biggest “pinch me” moment so far?
I ended last year by supporting Dermot Kennedy around UK and Europe – it was pretty surreal when that was confirmed. We played some iconic venues along the way, two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo, an amazing evening in Brussels and then finished the tour with a couple of nights at Dublin’s 3Arena playing to 12,500 people each night. That’s certainly up there!

What’s been the best fan feedback you’ve ever had?
I’ve had tears at shows (from fans and myself!) which is always quite a bizarre experience – to know that you’ve reached people in that way. It’s great to know that the words I write in what can be the darkest times, are able to help other people who are feeling similar. 

Who would you love to collaborate with?
It’s always been a dream of mine to work with Tobias Jesso Jr. The way he writes really strikes a chord with me, and there’s an emotional poignancy in his songs that I really strive to find in my own.

What’s next for you?
There’s so much more music to come from me over the next few months. There’s a song I close my live set with called “Blueprints”, that I’ve been dying to release for quite some time, and we just put the finishing touches to that and it’s sounding like a dream. Aside from that, I’m going on my first headline tour in April, as well as playing my first few shows in the US. To think that writing songs sat on the floor of my bedroom would take me all around the world is pretty surreal.

Photography
Tana Kadlecova
Fashion
Raquel Fernand
Fashion assistants
Anna Mimieux, Jakub Matiasovic
NEW NOISE: LILLA VARGEN

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