LIGHTS Interview Part 2: LIGHTS The Musician

By Darryl Kaye on August 30, 2009, 12:00AM EDT

LIGHTS has really started to make a name for herself recently in the music industry, and after she released an EP, she started work on a new project called The Listening.

It comes out on the 22nd of September, 2009 in Canada and the 6th of October, 2009 in the US. There's no designated date for any other territories at the moment though.

This is the second part of Gaming Union's interview with LIGHTS, and this part focuses on: her musical career, how she got started, and where she's going to go from here.

Part One: LIGHTS Interview Part 1: LIGHTS The Gamer

Please feel free to visit LIGHTS' official website.

Gaming Union: How do you get started in music?

LIGHTS: That's a loaded question! It's just one of those things that's always been part of my life, and not as something I knew and needed to do to make it a job, but because it was something I relied on to survive. I grew up moving around all over the world and my dad would play his acoustic guitar before I went to bed in the basement and it took away my fear. And just stuff like that; you wanted to rely on music, to express your feelings and to save you from feeling certain things. I quickly discovered that there's a lot to be said through music, so I started to play and I wrote my first song when I was 11. Then I started expanding my ideas beyond just song writing and into production so I bought an 8-track. Not the 8-track as in the player, but a Roland 8-track mixer where you could record 8 different things.

GU: I actually have a Yamaha one

LIGHTS: Oh, you do? That's so cool. When I did it, it was on zip disc.

GU: Ahh, mine was a mini disc

LIGHTS: That would have been so nice, as zip disc went obsolete one year later! But doing that was a chance to explore wrapping my songs with cool production ideas and different synthetic textures and really broaden my horizons as far as music goes. So just over the past 10-12 years I've been getting that much better at what I do and that is essentially in the fewest words, how I got started.

GU: Is there anyone that served as your biggest inspiration?

LIGHTS: Over the years they've always changed. I went into so many different places in music as I was in a metal band for a while, then a pop/punk band, then I did an acoustic thing followed by RnB and finally a few years ago I wrote February Air and I landed upon an electro sound that really was all encompassing. It covered all of my emotions and I could think of the craziest sound and make it a reality because if you mess with your instrument enough you can make it real. It felt really great and I realised then that I was really proud of my music and I was proud to show my friends. I also had the right people around me. My manager is amazing and I met him when I was 15 and having a great team around me allows me to make great music and they help to make the doors clean for me. I feel so lucky that it's all really fallen into place and that's really contributed to how I got to where I am now. I just make music and it's awesome!

GU: Sounds like a dream career!

LIGHT: Yea! It feels great!

GU: So what's your favourite song that you've written so far?

LIGHTS: That's a hard one because I used to write a ton of music, but now I only write what I love. So it's quality over quantity for sure. That being said, I love every song on my new record and every song on the EP. But there are some that are closer to my head, one of which is Saviour, which is my newest single. Simply because it was written in a moment that I was feeling very dire and it was a chance for me to just come out of that. Even listening back to it I feel like I was saved from that. There's also a song on the record called Quiet - that's the second last song - and that's one of my favourites too. It's one of the only times I've written about romance, which I never write about. boy/girl stuff, I never touch that, but that was one of the only songs I've written in that place.

GU: Has anyone been really supportive of you in terms of musicians?

LIGHTS: There's been tons of support and that's the beauty of it. Especially in the Canadian music scene because as much as it's a large country, once you get down to it it's a very small industry and once you get into it you know everybody. Everyone is so close to everyone that you can't hate, it's just love and support, so I've just felt nothing but support from everyone that I've met in the industry. There are particular people that have shown extra support like my friend's bands growing up: Textbook Tragedy, Ten Second Epic and The Februarys. Bands that you grew up with and you see succeed around you and it's just a very incubating environment for creativity.

GU: You won quite a major award in March, has you changed your life in any way?

LIGHTS: It was the Juno, which is kinda the Canadian Grammy and the cool thing about it is that it's not a fan choice award - not that that's a bad thing at all - but it's picked by the industry people and the great music minds of Canada

GU: Recognition from your peers

LIGHTS: Exactly that, it's recognition from people who know music really well and appreciate talent. Up until then it had been an independent project where I was doing what I loved and I wasn't focusing on numbers or how many people were listening. It was just putting music out there that I feel like I've invested my whole heart in and being given a nod of approval for that by people who know what they're talking to was a really cool moment. It's changed me in the sense that I feel like I'm doing the right thing, it's just one of those things along the way that tells you you're doing the right thing. It didn't make any drastic changes in my life.

GU: What's it been like producing your new album?

LIGHTS: So good! It's done; it's all finished and ready to go. It was the same process as the EP where, like I said, I write a ton of music every time I'm feeling inspired or dark or emotion and I need to pour it all out. That all then gets narrowed down by me and my team around me and my friends and family, then the best ones are selected for the album. So it's a very organic selection. It wasn't like I booked two weeks off to record a record.

GU: It's done when it's done, right?

LIGHTS: Yea, organic and it feels great. I really put a lot of thought into the way it was all organised, so there's a certain story to be told through the record where you get a climax at a certain point and then a dip and then a good end. It's also the same with the artwork that went with it. If you look at a piece of art and listen to the music it should set up the sort of emotion you're meant to get from the record. It was very much like a zombie flick meets Sailor Moon. It's like darkness juxtaposed with electro-super heroism.

GU: So after your album [The Listening] is released in September in Canada, what's next?

LIGHTS: There will be a lot of touring. I'm actually touring next with Keane in September in Canada - another UK band that I love. Then I'll be doing an American tour in October, Canadian tour in November, more American again in December and I'm back here [in the UK] early next year. Plus, I'm also working on a cartoon with Tom Kocher from Marvel Digital Comics...

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