The latest sonic adventure from Lili Aslo has arrived!
Knife Girl, the project of 23 year old songwriter/producer Lili Aslo, releases her new album CUM today (November 17th) via Soliti. CUM is a deeply personal record centred around Aslo’s experience of sex as a transgender woman. The album sees the ever evolving artist moving away from the indie-rock of her 2022 debut album Uniform, opting instead to straddle the technicolour worlds of hyperpop and dance music.
“Cum takes over the spaces of sexuality in just over half an hour. Aslo’s music includes an interest in both bedroom and party music, and there is also a clear understanding of creating both. It is largely for this reason that Cum is an entertaining and well-executed album” 4/5 Helsingin Sanomat
“CUM is a bold and high-level musical way out of a difficult subject. At the same time, it’s a go-to dance album.” 4/5 Kulttuuritoimitus
Knife Girl interview via Uuden musiikin X at YleX
“Orgasmisk hyperpop” 6/6 Gaffa.se
“I write more shamelessly about being trans and queer now” Read the Gaffa interview
“Cum-album is a raw, unrestrained and brave self-reflection of its creator in so many ways that it is a breath-taking experience.” 4/5 Soundi
“I was asked to do a version for UK radio that didn’t say tits and dick .That would dilute the whole point! I feel that as a trans musician it is important for me to provoke. I am so privileged to get exposure. I want to use it by talking about things and not just being a so-called good trans.” Read the Knife Girl interview via Soundi
“Diversity of sounds, colors and scents in production of CUM is not only thematically in line with expression of experiences, emotions and reality of being a human, a transgender one, but essential and characteristic part of hyperpop. CUM varies and renews those characteristics of Loose microgenre in exciting and refreshing manner” Totuus
Find “Knots” via Päivän Biisit’s tracks of the week “Knots is one of the gems of Knife Girl’s fine album”
“Topics such as sex and gender are explored in a very honest way, without embellishing or romanticizing anything.” 3FACH, Queertopia
“My alter-ego Knife Girl is a confident person who doesn’t care what anyone thinks.” Sweden’s QX interview Knife Girl here
“It’s packed full of energy from start to finish, a blink and you’ll miss it piece offered with a distorted high-pitched vocal side dish, and with a melody that will imprint on your brain.” Nordic Music Review on “Beautiful”
“CUM is about the huge changes I experienced with my sexuality and gender identity upon starting hormone replacement therapy. I wanted to explore those themes of sex and gender in a sincere way without sensationalising or romanticising my experience. Though sex and relationships are lovely, there is a greed and ugliness to it as well. And though my gender expression fills me with euphoria, the fear of violence and hate crimes haunts me daily,” says Aslo.
Releasing music under different guises since 2013, Lili Aslo has released 5 EPs and one album amassing more than 12 million listeners on various music platforms. The often chameleon-like nature of Aslo’s music has traversed genres such as bedroom pop, hyperpop, classic indie rock and more in an ever expanding and crafted oeuvre.
“This album’s sound expands on what I was doing on my OONA EP from 2021, I produced the songs with the idea of wanting them to be danceable live. The sound design is inspired by some of my favourite producers like SOPHIE and A.G.Cook.”
Aslo’s raw honesty makes for a moving and often confronting listen. ‘Knots’ speaks of the constant threat of hate crime that transgender people experience in day to day life. “It’s possible to feel a lot of internalised shame and guilt if something like that happens. You’ll catch yourself thinking that maybe if you hadn’t stayed out too late, or if you hadn’t put that skirt on, things would be different. Of course that isn’t true, usually there’s no logic to that sort of hate,” says Also.
‘Salvation’ is about a time when she tried to take her own life in 2019. “If I hadn’t failed, I would never have realised I’m trans,” she says. “On the track I sing to some higher power. Is it a gift to discover I’m trans? Is hating my body salvation? It truly was the realisation of my gender dysphoria that helped me realise I want to live.”
Album opener ‘Share Your Love’ deals with the painful feelings and situations Aslo has experienced as a polyamorous person. “I’m thankful for polyamory. It’s had a very big impact on my life and has brought with it much romantic and sexual exploration,” she says. “I was worried that by writing specifically about the pain that polyamory has caused me that I might be painting it in a solely negative light. But in the end I think it’s important I write music from the heart, so I won’t sugarcoat anything,” she continues.
Alongside the darkness there are moments of pure joy. Dance pop banger ‘Estrogen’ is an expression of gender euphoria. “When I wrote the lyrics ‘I love my t**s, I love my d**k’, I had to stop for a moment to think whether it was too provocative to say. But I realised: Why should it be provocative to anyone that I love my body? The lyrics keep looping over and over, an affirmation to myself. This is what loving myself sounds like,” she says.
‘Fragile’, one of CUM’s most exuberant and euphoric pop moments, is about looking for a deeper connection in a casual sex relationship. Similarly, ‘GUN = KISS + LOVE’, ‘Satisfied’ and ‘Good Boy’ are also centred around sex. Speaking of the latter, Aslo says “As a trans girl it can feel pretty scary to have sex with cis boys. They’ll often have some weird feelings they haven’t dealt with in regards to their own gender and sexuality, and they might end up saying something weird. This song is dedicated to the good boys who are respectful and lovely during sex.”
“I’m assuming many people will think of this album as shallow and gimmicky without giving it an honest chance. I purposefully named the album CUM to provoke those kinds of people. I’m writing songs about sex as an artistic choice, not because it’s an easy way out for me. I set out to create an openly sexual album explicitly from a trans perspective. I’m proud that I did that.”
KNIFE GIRL : CUM (SOLITI 107)
RELEASE DATE: 17TH NOVEMBER 2023
Share Your Love
GUN = KISS + LOVE
All songs except “Good Boy” Written, Composed, Produced, Mixed by Lili Aslo. Synth programming, Drum programming, Vocal mixing by Lili Aslo. “Good Boy” synth , drum programming by Lili Aslo, Saku Liimatainen, Aapo Lankinen
Knife Girl’s album release show is at DTM Helsinki on the 21st Dec. 2023 – tickets go onslae from 22nd Nov
Releasing music under different guises since 2013, 23yr old Lili Aslo (aka Knife Girl) has released 5 EP’s and one album collecting more than 12 million listeners on various music platforms. Knife Girl’s Metro EP from June 2021 caught the attention of tastemakers all over, further cemented by the OONA EP from November 2021. Knife Girl’s growing reputation as a producer and songwriter of adventurous sonic endeavours replenished with special melodic gifts was merely enhanced by her debut album Uniform released in Sept. 2022. Live shows have grown in stature from solo appearances to full on seven piece band dynamics with Aslo’s endearing personality shining through. The often chameleon-like nature of Aslo’s music has traversed genres such as bedroom pop, hyperpop, classic indie rock and more in an ever expanding and crafted oeuvre. These releases have garnered everything from Emmy nominations (Finnish Grammy), multiple indie award nominations, national broadcaster YleX’s Breakthrough Artist recognition and Impala’s one’s to watch for 2023.