Beach Bunny bringing hummable melodies, introspective lyrics to San Antonio this Sunday

The “Prom Queen" act is opening for pop singer Melanie Martinez at Frost Bank Center.

click to enlarge Beach Bunny is Lili Trifilio's one-woman project turned full band. - Ash Armitage
Ash Armitage
Beach Bunny is Lili Trifilio's one-woman project turned full band.
Beach Bunny frontwoman Lili Trifilio may not have been cut out for prom queen, as she sings in “Prom Queen,” her biggest hit to date. Just the same, it looks like she’s become one of the popular kids.

Beach Bunny, a one-woman project turned full band, will appear Sunday, June 23, at San Antonio’s Frost Bank Center as opener for artsy popster Melanie Martinez.

And as if that wasn’t success enough, singer-guitarist Trifilio and her band — billed first on the tour’s initial leg — recently got bumped up to middle act, meaning they get to play 35 minutes instead of 25. Sofia Isella will open the SA date.

While Trifilio’s songs feature introspective lyrics on topics such as body image and difficult relationships, it’s little surprise she’s finding mainstream pop appeal. The arrangements are simple and the melodies imminently hummable.

“Prom Queen” helped the act make converts on the social media app TikTok. Beyond the song’s accessibility, it’s a solid guess the directness of the lyrics also played a big part in winning over new fans.

Trifilio spent her formative years in Chicago, so no surprise that she has roots in indie rock and that her music has earned comparisons to genre stalwarts including Sebadoh and Velocity Girl. And she’s been listening to a lot of indie legends Redd Kross recently, in case you’re curious where her mind’s at these days.

We talked to the friendly Trifilio on Zoom. She was chilling in Dallas’ Reunion Arena ahead of that night’s show. “Life’s pretty good,” she said. “I just had a sandwich.”

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Melanie Martinez has very devoted fans, and having an opening slot for those kinds of artists can be tricky. How’s it going so far?

Honestly, everyone’s been super sweet and supportive. I think because of her following, a lot of people are like, “Oh well, if Melanie picked out Beach Bunny, then we gotta like her too.” So yeah, it’s been awesome. And all the fans and all the gigs are decked out head to toe with Melanie merch and dressed up like her. I feel honored that some of them know the words, and I’ve gotten some really sweet messages after.

There’s a vulnerability in your music. Is that difficult to project to such a huge room? You’re playing venues nearly as big as they get.

I think right now, because I’m in a good place, some of those songs just aren’t as relatable to me anymore. It’s kind of easy for me to just focus on having fun on stage. And I’m not really thinking about the lyrics. But in the past, when the songs were newer — or even when I was just putting them online — I’ve definitely been vulnerable. And then having to do interviews. Like, “What did I sign up for?”

Speaking of interviews, you have a journalism degree. How did being trained in “just the facts” writing influence your lyric writing?

Music’s hard, because you have a lot of metaphors, a lot of stretching and exaggerating. There’s definitely some songs that I have that I’m like, “Oh, wow, I’m being really dramatic here about some emotion.” So, I think it’s quite different from journalism. But in the same way that you want to be vulnerable in writing an article and very transparent, I guess I try to do that with my emotions for the most part. The biggest thing is just doing interviews now. I feel a little more prepared than I thought I would.

You kind of have a love-hate relationship with TikTok. On one hand, it’s really helped your career. On the other hand, you’ve said you’re not a big fan of making the brief videos that drive the site. How do you reconcile the two sides of that coin?

I’m still figuring it out. I think right now, it helps that there’s new music on the way. I feel like if I am active on social media, it’s because I’m doing my job. So, that’s kind of a good motivator. I guess I’m just trying to separate it, where if there’s not something to promote or something to talk about, then I truly can log off, and that’s OK. Nothing bad’s gonna happen. I think with the internet now, it has created sort of an atmosphere where you always need to be on, and you always need to be posting. That’s just not sustainable for me.

What’s the craziest gig you have ever played?

The ones on this tour have been so massive that it’s kind of hard to compare. I would say maybe LA of this tour, just in terms of sheer numbers. But maybe the most impactful for me was Lollapalooza. Growing up, I went pretty much every year from in my teens and early 20s. Getting to play that a couple times was surreal. And people came early, and I was like, “Yes, this is happening.”

Did you go into the backstage area and hobnob with Foo Fighters or Perry Farrell or whoever was there that year? Or were they like, “No, no, you’re too far down the bill.”

I definitely was back there, but I was trying to keep it cool. So doing some side glances.

You gotta wait for them to approach you.

Exactly. Maybe next time.

Variable pricing, 7 p.m. Sunday, June 23, Frost Bank Center, 1 Frost Bank Center Drive, (210) 440-5000,

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