Drummer Lily Pesikoff keeps her own tempo with Enny Owl and the Backroom Rumors

Lily Pesikoff
Photo courtesy of Lily Pesikoff.

At 18 years old, drummer and singer Lily Pesikoff (first year) is not even old enough to get into the clubs she plays at. Pesikoff first played the drums for British indie-folk singer Enny Owl at Permanent Roadhouse Records, a club in Cypress Park last fall.

“I had to stand outside in the cold for about an hour, and then our set happened and I got to go inside, and then when our set ended they made me go back outside again,” Pesikoff said. “That was my first show in LA and I remember FaceTiming my parents and they were like, ‘How is it…Where are you? Why is your back against the building right now?’”

Pesikoff has played local venues throughout LA and her hometown of Houston, Texas. Her most recent show was Jan. 27, when she played the drums for Enny Owl at The Goldfish on York Boulevard.

Lily Pesikoff
Photo courtesy of Lily Pesikoff.

Pesikoff said pianist Matan Birnbaum (sophomore), who’s played with Enny Owl previously, introduced the two when Enny Owl was looking for a local female drummer.

“I did think I got the gig because I’m a woman who plays the drums, which I’m not angry about,” Pesikoff said. “It’s a niche I’m happy to fill.”

According to Birnbaum, Lily executed the Enny Owl shows well despite Owl’s soft folk style.

“Lily mostly plays indie rock. And [Enny Owl] is like very soft folk music. And so it’s like both her and I kind of have to rewire our brains to fit in with Enny,” said Birnbaum. “It’s one thing to know how to play. But it’s another thing to hear what somebody else is playing and being able to not play, or being able to match that. Which Lily is really good at.”

Pesikoff said that she took up the drums in second grade, and that she formed her first band, Claremont Heir, with classmate Bo Farnell in the summer before eighth grade. When Claremont Heir folded at the end of her senior year of high school, Pesikoff turned her focus to drumming and singing in her current band: The Backroom Rumors.

“I’ve been in two bands, both with Bo and they’ve been wildly different,” said Pesikoff. “The first band was more of a cover band… with a couple of originals in there that I wrote. But I wasn’t singing in that band, and then this one, it’s like all originals.”

The Backroom Rumors are composed of Evan Loftin on bass and baritone guitar, Farnell on lead guitar and Pesikoff on drums and vocals.

“If I had to call it a genre I would call it indie, indie-rock, which is just super general,” Farnell said. “It leans towards shoegaze.”

Lily Pesikoff
Lily Pesikoff (first year) plays with drumsticks in the Olive Grove at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 3, 2023. Grace Meadows/The Occidental

Pesikoff characterized the sound of the group as a mix of the rock they listened to as kids, the jazz they learned growing up and the indie music she now listens to.

“Every song is either going to have a bass riff that’s gonna get stuck in your head or a guitar riff that’s going to get stuck in your head,” Pesikoff said. “There’s gonna be something intricate going on in that sound.”

Farnell said Pesikoff does a great job at not overcommitting to any single genre that has influenced her.

“Most people either end up going for something that’s super simple and a bit boring or way over the top, just musical flexing. Lily does a very effective job of going straight between those,” said Farnell. “She maintained a dedication to creating something that’s very listenable and almost pop-y.”

Pesikoff said she draws inspiration from Phoebe Bridgers from a lyrical standpoint.

“There are no songs that are being dropped on this album that’s coming out soon that are necessarily happy,” Pesikoff said. “My songs on the album are a lot of things I wish I could tell the people they’re about in person.”

Farnell said he cites Pesikoff’s diligence to seek out venues to play at as part of her success.

“The best part about playing with Lily is that she books so many gigs,” Farnell said. “She just emails everyone. Everyone and their brother this side of the Mississippi gets an email. It’s just like holy cow.”

Lily Pesikoff
Lili Pesikoff (first year) plays her guitar in her colorful room at Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. Jan. 31, 2023. Grace Meadows/The Occidental

The sound, lyrics and availability have landed Pesikoff and The Backroom Rumors a fanbase, particularly in the D.I.Y. music scene in Pesikoff’s native Houston. According to Pesikoff, the Houston D.I.Y. music scene has offered both an audience and a community for her and her bandmates.

“The people that come to the shows are singing the words back. There were more people there I didn’t know than people there that I knew,” Pesikoff said. “Not only do I get to play, if I’m not playing my, best friend is playing. And if they’re not playing, we’re going together to see our third best friend.”

Farnell said The Backroom Rumors will continue to perform over winter and summer breaks. Because of Pesikoff’s diligence and intensity, Farnell said he’s impressed yet not surprised at her progress in the LA club scene.

“Lily’s deal is that she has what she wants to do, and once she’s decided that it gets done,” Farnell said. “It’s fun to have that working for you.”

The Backroom Rumors releases its next single, Rubber Band, in March.

Contact Jimmy Miller at jmiller4@oxy.edu


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