Exclusive Interview With LIGHTS
For those of you who aren’t too familiar with this sensational artist (shame on you) then let me introduce you to the Princess of electro.
With over 300,000 followers on twitter, nearly 800,000 likes on her Facebook and close to 200,000 subscribers on YouTube.. This is an electro title that will not be taken from her easily. She has collaborated with big names like Holy fuck and Owl City. You all better get used to seeing her name because thing are only getting better for her as she has just been nominated for her second Juno award.
I had the amazing opportunity to get a chat with her before she performed in Belfast’s Speakeasy bar. As I arrive I find her setting up for her first performance in Ireland later that evening. She approached with dark skinny jeans and leather jacket looking effortlessly stunning with the biggest smile I have ever seen.
We had a brief chat and decided to get down to business and talk about her new album Siberia, fans and tour life:
Your new album Siberia is a change from your first album, your sound is now a little darker and grittier, why the change of sound?
It’s important to make the music that you like and to make music that interests you, a lot of the stuff I was listening too is grittier and electro with some dub step stuff. It’s a great mix of awesome melody great lyrics and something really gritty that brings a whole new life to it. Another really cool thing about Siberia is the collaborations with Holy Fuck, a lot of the songs were written live .. we were just jamming which brought this realness and rawness to it which is hard to find. It was written live and played live. There’s a realness to it that makes it special.
Do you find it hard as a girl to prove yourself and get yourself noticed in the music industry especially in this electro/dub step genre that seems to have mainly male artists?
It’s not so much a challenge because of the majority of guys in this industry/ genre, but it’s a challenge to get respect as a girl who’s doing it because some people automatically assume that you don’t have anything to do with your music that it was already written for you, which is not the case and never has been. There’s only so much you can get frustrated about, you just got to have fun and really enjoy it. Some people may think like that but some others won’t.
If you were remembered for one song on Siberia which song would it be?
Each song has its own life and thing I like about it but I think in general the title track Siberia, it’s just a sweet pop song with this grit that really represents Siberia that I never heard anything like before. It took some braveness for me to release the track as it was so gritty, it was big step for me and when I did it, it felt great!
Why the title Siberia?
There are a couple of reasons: one is that it’s one of the first tracks Holy Fuck and I wrote and really helped to turn the direction of the record. When making it, it felt really new like what we were doing was unexplored like just wondering around trying to find stuff, kind of scary but totally adventurous and exciting. So it felt like a Siberia type place.
What made you to release Banner as your next single?
When we first wrote this song it was very soft and low so I didn’t have to sing as high but it had this power in quality and lyrics that everyone can sing along to. Those songs are always easy to latch on to. There’s a reason why hymns were one of the first collaborative singing songs in history, they are anthems that’s kind of the idea of it. It’s the second single from the album, sometimes picking singles is not always your choice if I could pick a single it would be Flux and Flow but you have to bounce it off a few people, my team and management had a talk about it and it was a high contender for next single I released.
Loving your new video for banner, it reminds of the film Book of Eli, what made you want to go that way with the video?
When I tried to picture the Banner it came a lot harder than most songs, I always pictured this old school battle scene I pictured this ragged everyday warriors in it, I watched a few movies like Book of Eli that had this old vibe and resident evil Apocalypse and even walking dead. I love the clothes that looked a little bit beat and there’s this sort of unity in the lost world. So it just came from that.
You have seemed to step away from the Intergalactic themes from previous videos like Ice and Saviour, what made you want to change?
Every record should have a world of its own; when listening to my first album The listening the songs were very glittery perfect electronic sound and the videos should match it was more bright and intergalactic than the vibe of Siberia in general. Even the photos are approached differently as each record is a globe of its own. Like Cold play every record has a vibe of its own, what they are going through and what they are inspired by.
When listening to you music you can really feel you behind it and you participation with the record and the videos:
Everything has to be one thing. With Toes for example there was this new rawness and realness to the music so we thought let’s just do a video on the streets of Toronto, we shot the video in a subway station just waiting for people to go by. So its very much like the music, nothings to perfect nothing is too imaginative. Siberia is obviously a fiction story but it is still very gritty and real like the music, it’s all part of the same package.
So how does it feel being nominated for your second Juno award?
It’s crazy for such a different sounding record and being nominated in the Pop category with extremely pop acts. The record as far as I was concerned could barely be considered as a pop record, it’s like electro grunge. It’s different and it’s really cool that they were that open minded to put it in the pop category.
Well I think your in with a great chance of taking the Juno, with the new sound of Siberia you have attracted new fans because of your new sound:
That’s awesome I hope so, it’s kind of funny when you make a change it’s definitely a big decision to go in a new direction. It’s mostly important to be doing what you love that’s what people are drawn to in the first place, they know what you are doing is honest if I wasn’t doing what I love I would miserable while I was playing. You got to go with that because in regardless of people liking the first record people aren’t going to like the second you can’t win everybody.
Speaking of fans, you have the most dedicated and creative fan base ever!
There amazing, I’m so lucky. In the North American tour they put together two projects they worked together across the whole continent.
You even have your own guild on World Of Warcraft ( for non gaming folk, guild is a group of people on World of Warcraft who play and do quests together) would you play with your fans much?
I get on when I can when I have an internet connection, it’s hard when you on tour. I definitely do try thought I think it’s important and shows your dedication. Just recently my account got hacked ..it was terrible.
So games aside who would be your musical influences?
Well there’s a couple of different levels there’s the people that inspire you just on a large basis like Björk who has a genre of her own or Joni Mitchell who’s a great singer and song writer and is about powerful music. But then there are the influences of that moment that are injecting their influence into your music. Then there are the classic song writers that my Dad raised me on like Super Tramp and the Beatles.
How do you write a song,what influences you to write one?
It’s a bit of everything, sometimes you look at a really good lyric idea, I wrote a song called Drive my soul which was my first single in Canada and that was based on me thinking I heard in a another song with the words “drive my soul” but it wasn’t, then I thought that would make a great song. Songs like Cactus in the Valley was just something I needed to get off my chest and it was really natural. It comes in different ways but in general its things that you are experiencing you can’t just make up something it has to be something you are going through good or bad.
What comes first the lyrics or the sound?
The trick with song writing is making them together, if you make a piece of music and try to fit the lyrics in later it’s a little bit less married than doing them at the same time and vice versa because both of them come from the spark of inspiration they have to come together or it gets a little disconnected.
Is it a great feeling to have fans sing back your own lyrics and material, especially songs that are emotional or special to you?
It’s amazing to see fans singing back the times that it affects you the most is when you’re singing a song that was meaningful when you wrote it is when you are having a hard day or having a rough show. There’s a song called Last thing on your Mind there was a few shows that were tough or challenging, when that song came you had to hold back you really remember what the lyrics mean.
Siberia is very electro and gritty do you miss getting your guitar out and performing some acoustic songs?
Just because the record is like that it doesn’t mean that I play guitar any less, it doesn’t mean the songs weren’t written that way. I play my guitar just as much as I did before if not more. As soon as the record was done I went away for a week so that I could do it all acoustically, its important song writing wise that it can be stripped down.
What do you feel are the key ingredients to music and performing?
The most important is song writing that’s what people latch on to and understand it’s what they will remember. That’s why it’s important that things are stripped down acoustically and still work. Second one would have to be confidence that’s something that I didn’t always have so when you’re going on stage you can’t be afraid because everyone will see it and feel it. Ambition and vision of yourself as an artist is important. There obviously has to be a little talent there *laughs* and experience is an important one too if you spend enough time doing something you’ll be good at it. You can’t just say tomorrow I’ll be a song writer, it takes time.
What are the 3 things that would signify you, food or drink/song/item?
Food would probably have to be a Starbucks like a tea latte, the tea is great or white zinfandel.
The song would probably be Blindsided by Bon Iver because I’ve told so many people that this is going to be my wedding song.
The item would have to be my pet tarantula or World of Warcraft.
What are the three things you could not live without on tour?
My laptop, white zinfandel and face wipes.
How do you stay in shape on tour?
It’s a work out to do the show it’s like cardio you spend an hour as a team jumping around but we do sit ups and push ups before the show to get us pumped it really does help, you only need ten minutes a day of doing little things like that which will help keep you tight.
When was the last time you were embarrassed?
It’s hard to remember those times you kind of block them out, they happen all the time. Actually the last show we did the stage was so wobbly and bassie that my keyboards were just falling off the stand I was trying to hold them up, my wine was all round the cup rather than in it. I was so angry I pulled out one of my keyboard things and threw it across the floor then my keyboard kept turning off. You have to pretend that nothing is wrong but I did kind of lose it on stage it is embarrassing when things like that happen because you pride yourself on being a professional musician when things go wrong you just get frustrated and of course all your wine is gone *laughs*.
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(Images: Melissa Keizer, www.keizgoesboom.com, Iamlights)