Interview: LIGHTS -- Indianapolis Music Scene
Josh: First off thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me.
Lights: No, thank you for having me!
Josh: So for the rest of this tour is there any date that you are really looking forward to? Obviously certain towns have special connections.
Lights: Well um New York was a big one, which was on Friday. It always kind of sets the bar for the next New York show. Those big city shows are always an indicator of where you are at in those areas, and it is always neat to see it grow. And it is interesting because we were there not even 6 months ago, so to see that you are able to bring out that many people is cool. Minneapolis should be good, I mean all these towns we don't get to come to THAT often, but the last time we were in Minneapolis it was packed and sold out really quickly. So we will see how that is when we go through it again.
Josh: With this tour you've had to switch out openers, has that thrown a wrench into the set or how did that transition go?
Lights: It has been interesting, it was a bum out because Ambassadors are amazing and it is just unfortunate that they can't be with us. I think things happen for a reason though. One example being that we were in West Chester, Pennsylvania and randomly Fred Mascherino (ex-Taking Back Sunday) was thrown into the slot. And that was huge for me because I've been listening to Taking Back Sunday for 10 years, and even his latest stuff with The Color Fred. I was in kind of disbelief when I got the text from my tour manager. I asked him like 10 times to make sure that it was real. That never would have happened, and we met another great band called Carousel who will be opening the rest of the tour.
Josh: This month has been a pretty big month for you. You just had a birthday, and you just released the iTunes Sessions EP. What kind of response are you getting from that so far?
Lights: It has been great, I was actually really shocked. They are live sessions so you kind of hope that people enjoy hearing things live. I mean generally things aren't as good live as they are on a record but I mean we put alot of effort into our show, I have a great band and we tour all the time so at the time of recording for that we had just come off of tour so things were still really tight and ready. It's cool that it is doing so well too because that means that you can do it live too, you know?
Josh: Yeah definitely. And on the birthday side of things, what has been the best stuff you've gotten so far.
Lights: Um, the best stuff I've gotten has been from fans. I seriously have the most loving fan base. Just a few days ago I got the paperwork that someone named a star after me, which is pretty awesome. I also got Rukia Kuchiki's katana basically, from Bleach which is a manga that I read. So that was pretty sweet. It is like an all white samurai sword basically, it is beautiful.
Josh: With your sound evolving the way it has over the years, I mean I've been following you since Warped Tour...
Lights: Oh so 2009, we are going on 3 years here now... (Laughs)
Josh: (Laughs) Yeah so I've kind of seen your sound progress, has it just been the natural flow or did you kind of make the conscious decision to make that leap?
Lights: Well it was kind of a combination of both. I mean you naturally evolve and change and your tastes grow and move on to the next thing. And you get better at what you do after touring so much. As a sidenote the music naturally gets heavier from doing live shows. Like I was saying about the band, they put their own spin on it, we just love having lots of energy on stage and it being loud and exciting for us to play. It naturally gets heavier so that definitely rubbed off on writing the next record. And also I think you do want to make a different record than the first, and that is a conscious decision that you have to make. Do you want to make the same record because it is sure fire or do you want to do something that matches up to where you are. That was the choice that I made.
Josh: Off of the new album, Siberia, what would you say the song that is getting the biggest response would be? Is there any one song that is head and shoulders over the others?
Lights: One that is going over really fun is Siberia itself because it is a different tempo than I normally use. Flux and Flow has kind of this aggressive appeal that isn't in any other song and I think people dig that as well. I dig it, its so fun to play.
Josh: I do too, it is one my favorite tracks on the album.
Lights: If it were up to me it would be a single, because it is so different than anything that is out there.
Josh: Definitely. This year you got to do "the bookends" for the Juno awards, how was it to perform not only to open the show but then again to close it with Deadmau5?
Lights: It was AWESOME! It definitely overshadowed the fact that we didn't take home the Juno. (Laughs) But yeah the Galla night is a huge honor to play, you are in front of all your peers and people from the industry that maybe don't normally get to see you. So it is a chance to show them what you've been doing and what you've been working on. Which is nerve racking because industry crowds are not only dead but they are sitting at a dinner so it is a totally different kind of show. A lot of great Canadians in that room. And closing the show with Deadmau5 was amazing, I am such a huge Deadmau5 fan and the song was beautiful. He hit me up not even 2 weeks before the show to ask me if I would do it, so it was a bit of cramming to get the part down but I think it was perfect.
Josh: Yeah, so speaking of the Junos is there anyone in that crowd that you were surprised that took home awards or didn't. Like for me I have been a huge fan of Dallas Green ever since Alexisonfire so to see him get the awards was big.
Lights: Yeah he has been taking home awards almost every year, it's awesome. And there are always surprises at the Junos for sure. One that I wish got the Juno was Coeur de pirate, I was hoping that she would take home the French album award but she didn't. Who was I surprised about? (pauses) I mean it is interesting that the Canadian Album Of The Year was a Christmas album from Michael Bubble. (Laughs) I mean I LOVE Michael Bubble but there have been some great records that came out, but that was obviously a sales situation so it is kind of a bummer.
Josh: So speaking of sales you are one of the few, Michael Bubble, you, Tegan And Sara, you guys have that international report...
Lights: oh well thank you ...
Josh: What do you see as far as differences between sales in the US and your fanbase in Canada?
Lights: It is an interesting thing. I don't actually pay that much attention to the sales, because that is not the indicator anymore. It's not the marker for success anymore, I look at ticket sales, who is picking up merch, how many views we get, so it seems like record sales are an after thought. Now ask some record exec and they will have different thoughts about it, but I don't care what he has to say! (Laughs) It's kind of funny because we probably have about the same amount between the US and Canada but the US is 10 times bigger, so it is an interesting ratio. The fanbase here is different though because they are here because they heard of you through word of mouth, or the internet, or recommended by iTunes. Whereas in Canada they are hearing it on the radio, and seeing it on Much Music. So it is a different attraction.
Josh: So with Much Music being what MTV was like 8 years ago here in the states...
Lights: Well we have MTV in Canada too but it is about the same as it is here in the US...
Josh: So it is all drama...
Lights: (Laughs) Yeah almost entirely...
Josh: Do you think that it is what is helping you to stay out there in the Canadian market so well?
Lights: They certainly have been an awesome ally. Everyone down there is just so invested and it feels like a family. They also give grants for music videos and things like that. They are so supportive of the industry. It is a great give and take because Much Music draws a much younger crowd than we would have here. So you are seeing some differences in the audiances that you are, and that I am. So the audiances in Canada are a much broader age difference than there is here.
Josh: Every year you have come out with a new EP and different material for fans, is there any plans for new material or something to tide fans over between full lengths?
Lights: Well the release I am hoping for would be an acoustic one, so that would just be a rehash of the material we already know, just in a chill form. I think that is the best way to showcase songwriting. Hopefully that can happen soon. On a little tangent I was part of a Talk Talk tribute album, which was cool cause I love Talk Talk and I got to work with an ex-member of the band on it. The song is called "Living In Another World" and that should be coming out in June.
Josh: Great, so speaking of you doing collab work. A couple of years ago you worked with Silverstein on a song. How was it to work with Shane and the guys?
Lights: It was awesome! It is kind of a funny story because I was a huge fan of them as a teenager, I would be front row at their shows, I even sent them fan mail. And years later you grow out of that, you are still a fan but you don't mail them letters and things. But I actually became friends with Bill, we were a part of some of the same circles in Toronto, and he eventually asked me to be a part of the record. And after I did all the vocals is when I told them how big of a fan I was. (Laughs) They are amazing dudes, and the songs are great. The song I worked on is an epic song, it is long, and has a lot of story to it.
Josh: I think that is what drew me into that song specifically was the 2 sides of the story.
Lights: It is like reading a book. He knows the storyline of the song, so he would tell me the feeling behind it and what the concept was and it was a really cool way to approach a record I think.
Josh: You are a huge gamer, WoW (World of Warcraft) especially. If you got to make one edit to WoW that took over all of Azeroth, what would it be?
Lights: That's a really good question. Blizzard has been amazing about fixing every little thing that kind of bugs you about it. Like if you would have asked me this a year or 2 ago I would have said the cooldown time of Hearthstones should be reduced, which they did. Getting a raid group together use to be much harder and time consuming it would take hours to get in one, and now you can book a raid. So those were the 2 main problems I had and they've fixed them. But even like the shadows, they weren't quite as good as they could have been and they went in and fixed all of those. So they are always improving and that's why I have stuck with WoW for so long. Every little qualm you have with it they some how understand the fanbase and work with it and make the changes. I really respect their whole customer service department.
Josh: And if I am not mistaken you got in on the Mists of Pandaria beta test. How is that going?
Lights: I did (pauses) but I haven't cracked into it yet, our bus internet is so bad I haven't been able to download the patch to even open my WoW account right now. Like right now I'm trying to download 47 megabytes of a file and it has taken about 30 minutes so far. (Laughs)
Josh: Is there anything you've seen in the patch notes for it that you are excited for? Other than being a panda.
Lights: (Smiles) Other than being a panda... umm I'm excited for the netural faction situation. I'm also looking forward to trying out the new class. Should be really cool. One of the most recent patches that I was excited about was the one with the Transmog ability. Which I thought was really cool because I mean The Twinblade Of The Phoenix (Points to her tattoo on her forearm) is a weapon that is worthless (laughs) but it is beautiful and now you can use it.
Josh: Awesome, well that really is about all I've got for you. So is there anything you want to say to the fans?
Lights: Well first that was a great interview, and you're awesome. Thank you.
Josh: Thank you.
Lights: To the fans, there will be lots of touring this year. A lot of summer festivals, and going to Australia for the first time. Then another big tour in the fall so keep checking back. So we will be back, people are always like "Why do you hate Texas" or "Why do you hate California". I don't hate you, we will be back, talk to the person that does our tour dates. (Laughs)