Her legal name is Lights and she's a sweetheart. Oh yeah, and she plays multiple instruments, writes her own music and is releasing a new record on Doghouse Records this fall. I caught up with Lights at Warped Tour 2009, and this is what she had to say.
So, Lights, is this your first time on Warped Tour?
Lights: Well actually I did a couple dates last year, but it has by far exceeded my expectations. I was kind of nervous before. I wasn't sure how I was going to be accepted. I think what people look for when they come to Warped Tour, because I went to Warped a ton before, is honesty and sincerity. I always strive to write that way. I think essentially when it comes down to that factor, my music is not so different than NOFX. But yeah, it's been really great. Great crowds that actually know my music. Making new fans and new friends. I feel really lucky.
That's awesome. And you play several different instruments. Tell me which ones you play.
Lights: I feel like I'm good at a number of different instruments, not particularly good at one. I started on guitar and then drums and keyboard and piano. And I also taught myself the cello. I don't know theory and I couldn't tell you the name of this chord, but I know what sounds right. And I don't feel limited in what I'm allowed to do according to music theory. I feel like I follow my heart more than my mind when I write music.
You use your instincts too.
Lights: Yeah, exactly. And it makes it that much more of a listening experience.
And I read on your bio that you use music as your crutch. Do you think you connect with your fans because music is how you communicate?
Lights: Oh, definitely. I have a particular way of seeing how my music comes out. It's always something dark, or comes out of a darker place. Being sad or distraught. Any feeling that's beyond normal. And in that sense, it's my crutch. I would be a miserable person if I couldn't write music [laughs]. I feel like it can do that for other people too. Not to overly romanticize any concept, but I just write the way I talk. I talk extremely fast, so especially on my new record, I've been utilizing a lot more lyrics packed into small spaces. Putting that much more into the way I speak on the record. I think anyone can relate to that.
So how has Doghouse [Records] been able to fulfill your vision?
Lights: I feel like the luckiest person. This started as my vision, coming out of my bedroom. Basically, that's why they signed me. They're a really cool label. They say, do what you want, and we'll make it happen. So they use their resources to get my vision across. And it has been amazing, so far.
So tell me about Toronto? God, it's been years since I've been up there. What's the music scene like now?
Lights: It's definitely one of the best cities in Canada for music. I lived in Vancouver for awhile and then I moved to Toronto a few years ago, because that's where everyone relocates [laughs]. So, Toronto has been a wonderful city. There are always shows going on. A lot of talent coming out the Montreal and Toronto area. You've got Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Stars, Chromeo and Dragonette. All these amazing acts. Alexisonfire, Sliverstein. All coming of that area. It says something about ... the water [laughs].
Something's in the water, guys. Something's in the water.
Lights: I think six months out the year, we're pretty much bound to our homes because it's so cold in the winter. So we have to find something to do indoors! So we write music. I dunno. [laughs] I'm just guessing.
That makes sense, though!
Lights: Right! Hibernation.
So what kind of advice can you give to females trying to work it in music?
Lights: Well, I'm gonna give you some advice that I use, and that's find out what's comfortable and what you want to make and what makes you most proud and what you want to show your friends. Figure that out. And once you have your sound, do it exactly the way you want it and then put it out online. Use these platforms. Don't rely on getting signed. They will find you.
Can you fill us in on what your future tour plans or recording plans are? Your album is coming out in September?
Exciting, very exciting.
Lights: So, I'm on Warped Tour this summer, but I'm not going to be on for the whole thing, unfortunately. Then the record comes out the end of September. I'm so excited! I wish September was now! Just waiting on that, working up to that. And then I'm going out with Keane, which is going to be really fun. I love Keane. And then we're going a full America tour, it's gonna be a headlining tour. And then I'm jumping on a tour - I won't name who it's with yet because it's not confirmed. Lots of touring to all the cities. And I'll have a new record with me. Also, and this is really cool, I'm working with a Marvel comic illustrator, because I'm a really big fan of comics. [Comics] really inspire me, just the artwork and the alternate world that's created. We are working to make these short funny animated episodes. Hopefully it's gonna come out in little two minute excerpts on MTV.