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Interview: Lights

Whilst over in Europe supporting Owl City, we managed to sit down with Canada's own Lights before she hit the stage at the sold out London Electric Ballroom.

Lights spoke to us about her new album, 'The Listening', touring with Owl City, her online cartoon series, 'Audio Quest' and more.

Alter The Press: How does it feel being back in the UK?
Lights: I missed this place! Everyone in my band loves it, everything always feels a little more laid back here, yet always really organized. Venues take shows really seriously and as a result everything usually runs very smooth. People seem thirsty for good music here and it makes me want to work harder to give it to them.

ATP: You're in Europe supporting Owl City, how did the two of you meet?
Lights: First time I met him was actually this tour, previous to this he was an online acquaintance. We knew of each other, supported what the other was doing, and when he asked me to support him on this tour I didn't even have to think about my answer.

ATP: How has the response been to the shows so far?
Lights: The response has been even better than I had hoped for. People come to the shows to hear a pile of good electro pop, and that's exactly what they get. It's easy to play for people that want to hear what you're giving them.

ATP: Would you say you've gained a lot of new fans so far?
Lights: I've definitely earned some new listeners on this tour already. Owl City has done so well as of late and all the shows have been sold out so far. I'm fortunate enough to have this captive audience every night to introduce myself to. And I always have such a good time up there, especially with fun loving crowds like these. People seem to respect the fact that I overtly enjoy what I do!

ATP: Is there talks already of a possible collaboration between the two of you?
Lights: I would love to work with him on a song or have his vocals on some of my work, he's got so much going on though that I wouldn't want to put that on him at this time. But we did each remix one of each other's songs.

ATP: Your new album, 'The Listening', was recorded in the space of three years. Why did it take so long?
Lights: I wanted to make sure all the right songs were there, the last thing I wanted was a rushed record just for the sake of putting it out. That would severely compromise the honesty and the careful thought put into each song. When I felt like I had 12 songs I was crazy proud of, that's when we made plans to put it out.

ATP: The album got to Number 7 in the Canadian Album Chart. Was anyone expecting this?
Lights: Hoped for but not expected. I always like to imagine the potential of what I create, and try to match that by what I put into it so that at the end, I feel my work would deserve to be up there if it ever was.

ATP: Have you been working on any new material?
Lights: I'm always working on new stuff. If I'm going to give the same attention to the next record as I did to 'The Listening' I best be writing when I can for at least another year or so!

ATP: You have you're own online cartoon series as well, 'Audio Quest'. How do you find the time?
Lights: My sessions with Tomm Coker were actually broken down into only about five or six meetings over all, both on the phone and in person. The first few were to establish story line and characters, and then go back and forth on some concepts and visuals. Once that was confirmed, everything was finished in just a few sittings. The shots for each frame were taken over the course of two meetings, and all the voice overs were in one session. You could say I'm a voice-over-animal. He's the one that puts in the time with the illustrations, semi-animation, and scripts. It's brilliant work, I'm essentially sitting back watching the magic come to fruition.

ATP: Four episodes aired on MTV, why not all of them?
Lights: The first four episodes aired on MTV as post/pre show bumpers to set up the American release of my record in October. It worked out perfectly.

ATP: When are you coming back to the UK? Anything confirmed as of yet?
Lights: A good couple weeks of UK tour action is confirmed for May, around the time the record will be officially released there. I'm not positive on the exact dates yet, but I know I'll be back! >:)

ATP: What is planned after the Owl City European run?
Lights: After the European stint with Owl City, we have some one-off shows in March, including SXSW in Texas, and possibly a new music video in the works as well. After that it's back out with the Owls for another 6 weeks.

'The Listening' is out now in US/Canada and will be released in the UK on May 17th via Warner Bros.

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!