Chloe Lilac is wise beyond her years. At 18-years-old, the native Brooklynite is using her artistry to evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly of her relationships, including romantically. "Douchebag," the title track of her new EP, is a testament to her growth in this department.
"When I went into the studio the day we wrote 'Douchebag,' I was initially going to write a sad song about it," Lilac tells NYLON. "As I was describing this situation to [co-writers] Grace Fulmer and Martin Wave, they were like, 'Ew, what the fuck? Who does this guy think he is?; They helped me realize, I’ve had too many situations like that with boys my age, and I’ve never quite written a true ‘fuck you’ song to any of them."
Thus, "Douchebag" was born — an ultimately uplifting track in its playful, rebellious attitude reflected in its pop-punk sensibility. "That’s a theme throughout this EP," Lilac says. "Self-esteem, coming to terms with the reality that not everything is romantic and glamorous, to laugh at yourself, and that it’s okay to know your worth and stand up for yourself."
Lilac has been sharing songs since 2017 with her first-ever release, "Reckless," which broke the Spotify Viral Chart's Top 5. Watch the video for "Douchebag," premiering exclusively on NYLON below, and read on for a chat with the songwriter:
What is "Douchebag" about?
"Douchebag" is about people (in my case, men, but anyone can be a douchebag) who will say anything to string you along and use you (whether that’s physically or emotionally) without making any legitimate commitments. When I was 16-18, I had a huge crush on this one guy who strung me along for months. It was really confusing and hurtful, because he’d say he felt a way about me, do some wild romantic gesture, then turn around and start dating someone else.
When I went into the studio the day we wrote "Douchebag," I was initially going to write a sad song about it. As I was describing this situation to Grace Fulmer and Martin Wave, they were like, “ew, what the fuck? Who does this guy think he is?” They helped me realize, I’ve had too many situations like that with boys my age, and I’ve never quite written a true ‘fuck you’ song to any of them. Grace just started singing, “I know it’s fun to be a douchebag” and there it was. That’s a theme throughout this EP. Self-esteem, coming to terms with the reality that not everything is romantic and glamorous, to laugh at yourself, and that it’s okay to know your worth and stand up for yourself.
What do you wish you knew about relationships when you were younger, that you know now?
I heard somewhere that ‘how someone treats you is more important than how you feel about them’. That really stuck with me. Personally, I think a lot of the situations with guys I’ve had up until very recently, I would lead with my emotions and my heart rather than legitimately how the other person was treating me. I think I was scared of a lot of things. The idea of being alone scared me for so long. I think also, if I was sad about a boy it gave a tangible reason as to why I was sad, when in reality, I was just sad. I was so afraid to confront that reality. Also, on the same energy of the earlier advice, someone once said to me, “when people show you who they are, believe them.” That one really stuck with me too. Generally, (there are exceptions, of course) people show you their true colors the first couple times you hang out. Really listen to what they say and how they treat you. Don’t stay with a douchebag just because you don't want to be alone. Everyone deserves better than that.
What do you hope fans take away from the new EP?
Writing and performing this EP on tour (when tour was still a thing) empowered me enough to say no to situations and people who don’t treat me the way I deserve. That’s my biggest hope for my fanbase as well! I was so afraid to say things how they were before I wrote this EP, but if someone’s a douchebag, call it like you see it. Writing this EP, I was reckoning with a lot of demons. Abandonment, insecurity, depression, etcetera. This EP really empowered me to work through those feelings, and helped me get stronger and more resilient as a result. I hope it does the same to my listeners. That would be so dope.
What was the process for the video?
This video was so much fun to make! I made it by myself in my garage in quarantine. I made a treatment and everything, got a greenscreen for $150 on Amazon and just sent it. It was my second video I’ve made on my own and oh my gosh. I loved it. The inspiration was making fun of shitty boys my age. It was honestly cathartic.