Lights is a singer, songwriter, synth, guitar and keytar player based out of Toronto. With her mix of pop hooks blending and falling into place with a bit of razor-edged electro beats, Lights creates a dynamic combination of sounds on her new record, Siberia. Here, she explains and gives some insight into the world of Lights.
1. How did you get involved with music and what made you want to pursue it?
When I was younger and my dad used to play his acoustic guitar while I was trying to fall asleep, I realized the power of music to change your state of mind, and put me at peace. He started teaching me the basics on guitar when I was eleven and I went from there.
2. What's your earliest memory of music?
I used to have these tapes, these musical stories, about a songbook and his family that went on adventures. I believe it was called Psalty the Singing Songbook. I used put on my huge headphones and listen to the tapes and sing along. Those are probably the first songs I coherently memorized.
3. Who or what are some of your inspirations?
What inspires me varies from visual art, like fantasy art, comics or video game graphics, to good song writing to creative production. It can come from anywhere at any time, you just have to be ready to reign it in and turn it into something great.
4. What is the song writing process like for you and do you get something different out of writing certain songs?
I will either sit there alone with my acoustic and pen a song from start to finish in one sitting, which usually comes at a time when I need it the most. Or I’ll sit in a studio setting with a trusted co-writer and build up a track based on a vibe. Once most of the song is sonically in place and melodies begin to fall into the cracks, I’ll go off that night and write the lyrics. More recently though, with Siberia, a new dynamic was thrown in with Holy Fuck in the picture. Some of the songs came after we patched together stand-out parts pulled from jam sessions recorded right off the floor. Really cool and alive. Each song comes from whatever mood you’re in when it’s written, and the lyrics are pretty respective to the vibe of the song, thusly following suit. They’re all honest, all cathartic in some way. I’ve never written a great song and felt nothing. Those ones just get lost.
5. How do you think winning the Juno for best new artist and being on Last Gang Records has differed or impacted things for you?
The Juno came at an interesting time. I only had an EP out and I was just getting started. It was a real sense of acknowledgment from fellow Canadian music-minds. It gave me an encouraging boost and probably put a few more eyes on me. With Last Gang, it’s just a perfect match for where I’m at right now and the vibe of the new record. Here’s a label with some great, cutting edge, sonically creative music, like DFA, Metric, Crystal Castles, Chromeo. It’s an honor to be among them.
6. What is the best and maybe worst parts of touring for you and do you plan out and make an attempt to check out a certain place in the city you're playing?
The best part of touring is playing in different cities every night, seeing the reach of the music you’ve created even though you’re so far from home. That’s invigorating. Plus, knowing that every day you’re getting better at what you do. The worst part is probably that it gets exhausting after a while. You go hard and long every day. When we have time and are in a good area we check stuff out in the respective cities, but most of the time the venues are a ways away from anything of interest so we just lurk around the bus area.
7. Who would you like to collaborate with at some point?
In my experience so far, I’ve found that the best collaborations are the ones that had little planning, the natural things that just come along. I’m mainly just waiting to see what happens! Though I wouldn’t mind a sing-along with Celine Dion. That also kind of rhymed.
8. What do you think you might be doing if you weren't doing this?
Something graphically oriented probably, like comic illustration or game design.
9. What do you enjoy doing that's non music related?
See above! On the side I release comic-book inspired paintings. I’m taking computer science courses and learning to tattoo. I also watch B-horrors movies and love it.
10. What is something random about yourself?
I used to take pop-up book making classes when I was 12.
11. What are some bands you are currently listening to?
Radiohead, Mew, Bon Iver, Crystal Castles.
Some old favourites/favourite records?
Face Value by Phil Collins, Breakfast in America – Supertramp, Joshua Tree- U2, King of Fools - Delirious
Anything you're looking forward to being released?
The new Tomb Raider game and the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, involving pandas. Possible Wonder Woman movie? Possible Warcraft movie?
Last cd/vinyl/digital purchased?
Bon Iver - Bon Iver.
Last movie you saw & show you went to?
“The Thing” (remake)