Alter The Press!


Interview: Lights - 21/07/09

Alter The Press' own Kristin Stubblefield managed to sit down with Canada's own Lights whilst in Boston for this years Vans Warped Tour.

The two spoke about being on this years Warped Tour, Canada, influences, her upcoming cartoon to build up the forthcoming album, Tim Armstrong remixing a track, comic books and more.

Alter The Press: You’re just wrapping up Warped tour, what have been some of your most memorable experiences so far?
Lights: Aside from making a lot of friends and meeting fans and seeing some really good shows, there are these moments that are funny. Like, our bus broke down in the middle of a desert coming from Phoenix, Arizona! That was some trouble for sure! One of the nights a bunch of the bands all went bowling for a fundraiser and that was really really fun. It's little moments like that that make Warped Tour just like a summer camp. Such a fun experience!

ATP: Like a party all the time?
L: Absolutely!

ATP: Did you have any particular expectations upon the start of the tour? Were you nervous?
L: I was a little. I did two dates last year and I was sick and on a really fresh stage that didn't really have what we needed to make our sound right, so it was kind of like.. intimidating for me. Like "well that was tough, how am I going to do a whole month?!" But I seriously got into this with low expectations of myself. I just wanted to do a good show and that's all I was expecting to get out of it, and it exceeded every single expectation I had. It's been so amazing. The crowds have been great, people come knowing the songs, the sounds good, we haven't had any issues with that. I thought, socially, you know, with all of the bands on the tour in an enclosed environment there would be drama, but there's been no drama! It's just like, everyone supports each other and that's really cool.

ATP: So, in your opinion, what are the best and worst things about playing a tour of this caliber?
L: The best thing is being exposed to that whole crowd everyday, and people who maybe wouldn't otherwise come out to your show, whether or not they know who you are, and then they walk by and stop and then you're just exposed to that many more people. It's really been manifested in like, the numbers on myspace and everything. Since Warped Tour started, things have been going up and it's been so great!
One of the negative sides of it is that it's an exhausting tour. You're going, going, going and you don't, you know...get to shower or anything like that. And you have to go to the bathroom in a porta-potty every time you want to go [laughs]. So there are downsides, but they definitely don't exceed the upsides! Plus, you get to watch some amazing bands everyday; there's so many bands that I love on this tour!

ATP: Definitely. I was going to ask, who have been some of your favorite bands to watch?
L: Well, there are the bands I've been a fan of for a long time like Less Than Jake and UnderOath.The Devil Wears Prada are awesome! And Alexisonfire! But there's also new stuff that I've discovered that I'm in love with. Like Gallows and Inner Party System, and P.O.S.; there's so much talent on this tour.

ATP: So, you play a number of different instruments such as piano, drums and even cello. Have you ever actually taken lessons or are you completely self taught?
L: Honestly, I don't even consider that I know [how to play] the instruments, it's just that I know enough to write songs with them and play them on stage. I don't even know what I'm doing. If you ask me what that chord is I'm like "uhhhhhhm?" [laughs] But, essentially, the only lessons I ever got were from my dad, and he knows barely as much I do about music. He basically just taught me probably the most valuable lesson that I know, which is playing by ear. Iif you want to find a certain sound, then just make it. Make it happen. That really taught me to write from my heart and from whatever my instincts told me, as opposed to a book or a theory. So, even though I'm not some well versed musician, I still write stuff that makes me happy.

ATP: That's what's important!
L: Exactly!

ATP: Recently, more and more Canadian bands have been getting recognition across the border-
L: I hope so! There's always good stuff coming out of Canada!

ATP: Agreed - Why do you think that is, personally?
L: There are a few different factors that benefit Canadian artists, one of them being that the government is really supportive of Canadian music. They treat it as an export, so if you apply and you show promise, they'll give you tour support and pay for a percentage of your music videos for free. Money you don't have to pay back, which is FANTASTIC! So there's that, which really encourages the music scene in Canada a lot. Plus, we're pretty much constricted to our homes for six months out of the year because of winter [laughs] so if we don't start playing video games or reading, we'll be making music or painting or something! Also, I think it's a really supportive environment, the Canadian music industry. And I've made note of this quite a few times; once you're in it, its very small. So, there's so much support and chance for collaboration and learning that you don't feel disconnected from the rest of the country, cause we're generally pretty small.

ATP: Do you see yourself ever moving to the states or are you content living in Canada?
L: I love Canada, but I've spent my whole life moving all over the place. My moving counts at 26! I grew up in the Philippines and Jamaica, so I'm definitely not opposed to moving somewhere else. I would love to spend some time in New York, but for me, I don't think I'll ever be somewhere permanently. I'll always be drifting; I'm just a drifter [laughs]. A nomad!

ATP: Ultimately, what are your biggest musical inspirations of all time?
L: Of all time? Bjork, for sure. And I've made reference to her a lot. Songwriters are really inspiring to me, and the way that people approach lyrics and approach emotions and concepts of lyrics; ABBA, Phil Collins, Supertramp, Cyndi Lauper. All of these artists that have lasted so long; there's got to be a reason why, you know?

ATP: Definitely. What have you been listening to lately?
L: Let me think of what's rotating right now! Hmmm, M83, Gallows, Architechs from the UK; love that band! The new Kayne West record, new Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Inner Party System, who I discovered on Warped Tour!

ATP: So, what can we expect from LIGHTS for the remainder of 2009?
L: The new record comes out at the end of September. I'm VERY excited about that! And then, in a sort of build up towards the record, I'm working with a Marvel Comic illustrator - Tom Coker.

ATP: Nice!
L: Yeah, I'm so excited! We're constructing 10 two-minute episodes. They're semi-animated, very sci-fi oriented. The main character is "Captain Lights" and I'm doing all of the voice over’s for it and [hesitantly excited] there's a good chance that the narrations will be done by Tim Armstrong from Rancid!

ATP: Whoa!
L: Yes, which will rule! [laughs] He's pretty sweet! Also, I'm going to put out an EP with a remix of Ice; it's called The Icepack, and there's a Tim Armstrong remix on there as well as a couple other really great remixes. And then the record! I'm going out [on tour] with Keane in September, and then full on touring for the rest of the year. I'm doing V-Fest in the UK as well, at the end of August, and one off festival in Ontario, and the rest of the time I'll be touring! In December I'm going out with Never Shout Never all across America!

ATP: What are some of your favorite comics?
L: There are 3 specific ones that I read, I do collect Wonder Woman, I have a lot of Wonder Woman comics I do collect Magnus Robot Fighter; generally the older ones, before they were reprinted in the 80's. And then, Space Adventures! I also love those old romance comics that like, you can tell inspired Roy Lichensteins pop art. It's kind of inspiring and sad and so sappy, but it's so fun to read!

ATP: They're really neat to look at too; illustration wise.
L: Oh I know, totally! They're so simple, but there's so much emotion. The captions and the art are so cool!

ATP: Like Ultimate X-Men from the 60's!
L: Oh my goodness, yeah! You read the X-Men? That's amazing; Marvel!

ATP: I’d love to get the first 10.
L: Oh I know, I know! I'm definitely working my way towards that. I have Wonder Woman #5 and that's like, my prize! [laughs]

ATP: That's awesome! Well, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule for us. Enjoy the rest of your time on Warped!
L: Thank you so much!

Alter The Press!