Let's start off the interview by stating your name and what you do.
I'm LIGHTS, and I make electro-pop music.
Why the decision to use prominent Auto-Tune on this album?
Auto-tune is to me just another vocal effect like delay or reverb. Like anything, over-use is a bad idea, but if used tastefully it can enhance the production of the song and the sentiment of the lyrics. For example, the verses of my song "Saviour" are about feeling bound and held down. Using auto-tune on those parts keeps the voice feeling tight and constricted. By the time the chorus hits, the effect drops out allowing the chorus to break out and take off.
How would you describe the new album?
The album is a collection of my best: lush, energetic and honest songs that are intended to be simple enough to sing with but left field enough to bring some different sounds to your ears.
What made you decide to re-record some of the EP songs for the full length?
I actually didn't re-record any of the EP songs. They were remastered to blend in with the newer songs better, and one ('Ice') was remixed to give it a bit more bang. Otherwise, everything is the same. The EP was actually intended to be a taste test for the full length, so it only made sense to include them in the main course!
How/at what point do the songs go from being created to a full-band product?
After I finish building up the track in the studio with either Tawgs or Dave (the two talented mammals I made the record with) I pass it on to Adam and Maurie (the guys in my live band) and they learn their parts and put their own dynamic spin on it for live.
How was Warped Tour and the tour with Keane?
Each amazing and successful, and incredibly different from the other. Warped had a much younger audience, but I learned to tailor my performance to suit a crowd that wants to get energetic and involved. Keane's fans are absolute music lovers and just want to see some good songs played well, so that tour gave me a chance to focus on and showcase that.
What is the difference between your live audience in Canada and the US?
Canadian crowds are definitely bigger at this point, but both countries are equally enthusiastic and varied age wise.
How did you get signed to Doghouse / Warner?
After independently building up my own fan base via online platforms like Myspace, a few record labels became interested. My manager and I spent a good year tediously visiting them all and getting to know all the people at each one. It was about finding other people that we loved and were passionate about what we were doing, and would give me artistic autonomy in everything I did. The people at Doghouse and Warner proved to be just that. Even to this day their creativity and support is incredible.
What's your favorite city to play at?
Toronto is always amazing to play because I have a good number of loyal listeners that know the music like the back of their hand (cough*YES,Ididjustquotemyownsong*c ough). I also really look forward to anywhere in Texas (total music lovers there), Seattle, Philly, and London (UK).
Did you ever expect to be as popular as you are now?
It wasn't that I ever expected myself to become known, but I always kind of knew that my music could reach a good number of people, and that gave me the drive to make it as good as it could be.
What are your favorite albums of 2009 so far?
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
La Roux - La Roux
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Owl City - Ocean Eyes
You did guest vocals on Silverstein & Ten Second Epic's latest albums, any other guest appearances in the near future?
I love reaching out of what I normally do and trying new genres and styles of singing, so I'm almost positive there will be more collaborative efforts in the future. I recently laid down some vocals for Aaron from Copeland, and for The Secret Handshake. You never know if they'll go anywhere though. I'm also planning on making some tracks myself to feature others' guest vox.
What were the bands that you listened to when you were younger?
The music I liked when I was younger came and went in phases. Pre-age 11 I was all over Celine Dion and Mariah Carey, it basically got my voice rolling. My mid teen years were spent in and out of bands, I was a guitar player in a metal band named Shovelface (LOL) and during that time I was listening to Cradle of Filth, RATM, Hatebreed, Mudvayne, and Gwar. My tastes morphed more in the Warped Tour direction after that and I was all about Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, From Autumn to Ashes, Underoath, and Blindside. Electronic sounds started to set in and Bjork, TATU, Metric, and The Knife started making a mark.
What are your musical influences?
Bjork is a big music influence, not only her music but the essence of what she is: entirely her own thing, style, genre, everything. She is uncompromised and does what she love, and no matter how quirky it is it still sounds beautiful. That's inspiring to me. Good songwriting is important, so the influence of The Beatles, Abba, Michael Jackson, Supertramp, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins has lent to my music greatly over the years.
What other games are you into other than WoW?
Xbox is great for me when I'm home, I dabble with Deadspace, UFC and Mortal Kombat vs. DCU. I take my DS out on the road and play FF: Ring of Fates and the classics like Super Mario and DK.
You said your parents were missionaries. Does faith still have a place in your life?
Faith is definitely an important part of my life, it effects the way I perceive the world and how to deal with the situations in it. Definitely inspires what I do, thought I never write specifically about it, everyone believes in different things.
What are you going to be for Halloween?
Probably something super mundane and inanimate like a shelf, or a speaker (looking around my apartment right now). Oooh maybe I'll be a spider (*looks at her pet tarantula, Lance*).
Are there any local bands from Canada that you recommend?
If you're a fan of metal, definitely Protest the Hero and A Textbook Tragedy. In a more pop direction, scope The Februarys, Everlea and Midway State. For the indie rock people, you'll love The Arkells and Stars. In the electronic world you'll love Chromeo and Dragonette.
Anything else you would like to add?
Lots of cool stuff to come, including tons of touring, more episodes of Audio Quest (my semi-animated comic featuring Captain Lights!), sweet new remixes (including one by Tim Armstrong from Rancid!) and a new video on the way. Info will always come up in the news feed on my website www.IAMLIGHTS.com.
"My mid teen years were spent in and out of bands, I was a guitar player in a metal band named Shovelface (LOL) and during that time I was listening to Cradle of Filth, RATM, Hatebreed, Mudvayne, and Gwar. My tastes morphed more in the Warped Tour direction after that and I was all about Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, From Autumn to Ashes, Underoath, and Blindside."
Awesome!!! Why can't there be any girls on my college campus with music tastes like this??