"I Was an Outsider Girl": How Lilly Palmer Went from Loving Death Metal to Deep House and Techno
Nov 21, 2022
Ana Monroy Yglesias
3 min read
Techno DJ and producer Lilly Palmer grew up in a small town near Nuremburg, Germany. In high school, she struggled to fit in and found community with the metal kids.
Palmer began to get a taste for dance music by age 17 as she found her way into local clubs, but it wasn't until she moved to Switzerland that she really fell in love with dance music. It was there that she got really into deep house, and later began DJing it herself.
"I was the outsider girl who was trying to make a lot of friends, but it didn't work. I ended up with metal friends, people that listen to death metal and rock. I felt super comfortable with those guys, so before I listened to techno, I listened to death metal and that was really fun," she told Gray Area with a smile.
Swedish band Arch Enemy was one of her favorites, and while she doesn't listen to metal anymore, but enjoys it when she hears it, along with the nostalgic trip it offers back to her teen years. Now, when she's at home or traveling, she listens to ambient music.
Palmer has been living near Amsterdam for four years now, and prior to that was based in Switzerland for six. It was there that she got much more into deep house, and later began DJing it herself. When asked which of the three locales has had the most impact on her sound, Palmer asserts it was Switzerland. She got her start playing deep house records at bars.
"My sets are sometimes still melodic," Palmer said. "But I just felt more and more that I had this energetic side in me, and that took over. I really like [deep house] still, and I would still go to clubs and listen to it. But now I prefer hard techno, even though a lot of people wouldn't consider my music as hard of techno as there is in Berlin. There, it's much harder than what I do."
And this is where the Spannung Records founder has found her sound, hard techno with intricate flourishes that hint at her love for melodic techno and deep house. And while she's found success in her DJ career with a steadily growing fan base, it wasn't easy finding support when she was starting out. In fact, she explains that most of male DJ friends ditched her when she began manning the decks, something she eventually figured was due to their unfortunate disapproval of her doing so.
"As soon as I started, I kind of lost all those male DJ friends who I had before," she told Gray Area. "So, I didn't have that support that a normal local male DJ has. He has his friends that are also DJs, that help each other, that give you a gig here, a gig there. With me, that didn't happen at all."