Eggplante interviewed LIGHTS during the Summer while she came through Toronto for Warped Tour, and I got back in contact with her now that she has her debut studio release The Listening out, and is heading back to Toronto for a concert next week. Here’s all that transpired:
Eggplante: Hi there! How are you?
LIGHTS: Hey! I’m good. I kinda just rolled out of the cavernous bunk area in the back of the bus.
E: The cavernous bunk area! I like that!
L: Yeah, it’s really dark; it’s like a bat cave and you wouldn’t know if it’s three in the afternoon or four in the morning.
E: Well that’s not a bad thing if you want to get some sleep at three in the afternoon, you can get some sleep, right?
L: Totally! And then the rumbling of the bus gets really comfortable after a while!
E: Well there you go, so it kinda rocks you to sleep automatically, right?
E: So I’ve got a question for you, right off the bat, I don’t know if you remember HMV in September, you did the signing right after your album came out. Do you remember Plush Russell?
L: Uhh, pardon, what’s that? [realization sets in] Oh my goodness, that’s you?!
[For those that don’t know, in September at her album signing, Eggplante gave LIGHTS a “Plush Russell”, a miniature stuffed version of her famous keytar that she plays on stage.]
E: That’s me!
L: Oh my goodness, nice to talk to you again! Okay, I’ll tell you a little story about that: my parents recently visited me and they saw this little Plush Russell and they were absolutely blown away by the details and I was very very proud of it, so thank you!
E: Awesome! So you’ve been working on your album for a while and you had the EP out to quell the fans and such, but why did it take so long to get a full length out there?
L: Umm, I wanted to wait until it was right. I didn’t make any plans to release a record until I had a record done. I didn’t say “I want to make a record and put it out September 22nd, that’s my deadline.” I just waited until I had everything made and then I did the plans for the record. It’s just a collection of songs I’ve written over the past couple of years including the year leading up to the EP release, so it’s really organic and natural. A little piece of me is invested in every song and I didn’t wanna rush that, you know?
E: So one of my favourite songs on the album is Lions! and it has the line in it “You don’t have to feel safe to feel unafraid” and that is my favourite line on the album. What does it mean to you?
L: That’s my favourite line on the record. The truth is, this is something that I’ve learned over the course of doing things that put you out of your comfort zone like moving away from home when you’re young and you don’t know anyone. You know, little things (or big things) like that that may feel like they’re compromising your safety, but that doesn’t mean you’re not safe. So it’s my idea that, just because something is a little bit scary doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. It’s good to put yourself out of that zone because otherwise you won’t take any risks and you won’t find yourself challenging yourself.
E: Well I’ll admit that I almost cried when I heard that one because, well, I don’t really know what to say about that song, but it’s a good one, so I’ll give you that!
L: Thank you. You know, that song has a lot of meaning for me in a lot of ways and I wanted it to come across with this sort of epic vibe, so I channeled my World of Warcraft characters for references as far as making it feel like there was a battle, so there are a lot of World of Warcraft references in there.
E: Well, speaking of a battle, your new Ice video launched last week, so where did the idea for Shadow Lights come from? I’m calling her Shadow Lights as an homage to the irony that a light could be shadowed.
L: I wanted a fight scene. I have this incredible ability when it comes to my music where I can close my eyes and listen to the song and know exactly what should be happening with the video, and that happened with Drive My Soul and February Air. Ice was always a fight scene; there was an old version I made a while ago that was really cheesy and homemade and I cut out all these figures for it, but at the core of it, it’s a little fight scene. I can never get away from that; this is just a glorified fight scene taken to the next level with Mortal Kombat-esque fighting. And I just basically got to have the power in my music video that I have been denied in real life!
E: Hey, that makes a lot of sense to me! So I know you’re a video game fanatic-slash-nerd-slash-whatever, so I’m not going to go there, but Rock Band is launching something called the Rock Band Network where artists can actually create their own music and upload them for other people to buy, so the record label won’t be too upset about this one.
L: I didn’t know that; that’s crazy!
E: Are we going to see LIGHTS on Rock Band? Would that be the ultimate form of flattery?
L: I would love that! Just in general, I would love to have my music involved in video games and video game scores and I would love to even go just beyond Rock Band. That would be the kind of obvious thing, right. I’d love to take it further and score an actual game. That would be a dream come true!
E: Audio Quest the Game? A movie deal, perhaps? Console, portable games? iPhone games!
L: Totally! But you know what’s next in line? A Captain LIGHTS calendar.
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E: Eh, you gotta start small, right?
L: Exactly, right? So that’s the next step; calendar then the video game.
E: So speaking of music, obviously being the big thing here, who is the person you would love to collaborate with the most. Is there a secret desire to collaborate with Shania Twain or Witney Houston or Hedley or something?
L: Well, if I’m gonna dream big here and collaborate with someone who is far out of my league, I would love… love, love, love… a stripped down, raw collaboration with Joni Mitchell. She’s a huge idol of mine and she’s a Canadian and an incredible songwriter and I sing her song everyday in sound check, so that would be a dream come true for sure.
E: So I can’t ask about peanut butter or Nutella because we covered that base at Warped Tour if you remember, but this one might be more difficult for you: what is your favourite tattoo of the ones you have?
L: Favourite tattoo is a hard question!
E: That’s why I asked it!
L: I wouldn’t get something I didn’t like. I still really, really love my Captain LIGHTS laser gun that’s the front of my stomach. It’s purple and yellow which are the colours of The Listening which marks this time in my life, plus it’s the exact replica of the Captain LIGHTS laser gun, so it makes me feel more like Captain LIGHTS.
E: Well you are Captain LIGHTS, right? You have to be!
L: At heart, yes.
E: So let’s do a little quick fire because I’ve only got a minute left; I’ll throw some things out there, just tell me what you think. Justin Bieber.
L: I actually have never heard his music, and maybe that puts me under a rock, but I’ve heard his voice on live performances; that kid can sing!
E: Lady GaGa?
L: Very creative. Her live ideas and her balls, and I don’t mean that in a literal way, I mean the girl’s got guts and she tries things that I would be mortified to try, so good on her for that.
L: The store? Costco is dangerous because they have the giant bags of beef jerky that I would probably die from eating ’cause I wouldn’t stop.
E: I am going to buy you a giant box of beef jerky from Costco and bring it to your concert next week. I’m just going to throw it on the stage and you are going to know exactly where it came from!
L: You’re going to knock me out!
E: So the last one that I think you’ll like is NASA.
L: I am a huge NASA fan. It’s one of those fantastical organizations that seems too good to be true. If I ever have the chance to do anything or get involved with them or even talk to a NASA secretary on the phone, I’m in!
E: Listen, I can’t thank you enough for your time, I know you’ve gotta run!
L: And thank you again for that amazing Plush Russell; I love it!
LIGHTS is one of those fun-loving, say what’s on your mind and find a way to reference World of Warcraft while you do it, kind of gals.
As usual, you can listen to the audio for the interview by clicking on the link below to hear even more about LIGHTS and how everything really went down.
LIGHTS Interview 11-17-09 (8.7MB)
You owe it to yourself to check out her concert next Thursday at Kool Haus. You can buy tickets here and be sure to stay tuned to Eggplante for some great photos and concert review coming soon!
You can follow LIGHTS on Twitter (@Lights) and of course, follow Eggplante while you’re at it (@Eggplante). See you real soon!