I recently had the chance to chat on the phone with Canadian singer-songwriter, LIGHTS while she’s out on the road with Warped Tour 2009. She currently has a 6-song EP under her belt and over 12 million hits on her Myspace page. She’ll be releasing her full-length album in September, but until then, catch her on Warped Tour (until July 26th) and then a brief ten day tour with Keane. I think it’s safe to say we should be expecting great things from this girl!
Let’s get the stereotypical question out of the way. Who’s your favorite band to see or hangout with at Warped?
Well, there’s so many good bands on tour this run. There are different bands that I just want to see for different reasons. UnderOATH I’ve always been a big fan of and they’re one of the headliners on this tour and I love to watch them along with Less Than Jake who are like, the soundtrack to my summer for the past seven years. And also, one of the newer bands that I’ve been really enjoying are Breathe Carolina and the reasoning being is that my music essentially started itself on Myspace and so did theirs. We kinda started a Myspace at the same time and over the past years it’s just really, really worked out so we kinda encourage each other at a distance for the past year and now we finally get to be on this tour together and watch each other play all the time. I’m just so proud of them and situations like that where there are different degrees of stokedness and enjoyment of different music but all-in-all, there’s so much talent on the tour.
You went from having your songs on commercials for Old Navy to playing the pits at Warped. How do you explain that? What was the transition?
Well, I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a transition. I just feel like it’s really important to keep your audience broad. Tackle different things even if you don’t think it will automatically be assumed that you fit there. Old Navy was definitely a fantastic way to show the world my music. I love the juxtaposition I get to have with all of these different associations. Warped Tour is just one branch of that. And I’m going out to tour with Keane soon which is just completely different and one of the other ways to keep everything diverse and keep your audience broad and show people that you’re not just one thing.
Your songs on myspace have hit what I last checked to be over 12 million plays. Is Warped the perfect chance to mingle with all these people that gave you the 12 million plays? Do you hope to turn them into fans who will buy your album?
Absolutely and that’s one of the things that’s I’ve spent my time doing on this tour. I do my set and then I go straight to my merch table and meet everybody and I’m mean sometimes I’m there, for example, in Dallas I was there for two and a half hours just meeting people. I mean, obviously these people are the reason I’m here and they’re the priority and it’s so cool meeting people and seeing you know, whether A.) they just heard of me for the first time and they’re going to become a fan or B.) if they’ve been listening for two years and it’s changed their life. And it’s the coolest thing ever to be on Warped Tour and to get the chance to see all these people and that’s what I enjoy most about it actually.
You consider yourself to be a very visual artist. Can you explain what that means?
Every time I do something musically, I always have a visual accompaniment in my mind when I write or when I come up with the melody. That being said, the lyrics are very relateable and very common. For example, I like the way that I talk. They’re not very Sci-fi-y lyrics, but rather the Sci-fi world that I’ve kinda created comes through in the production of my music ““ kind of quirky and lush sounds that take you to another world and that’s even more highly and obviously manifested in the videos and the artwork I’m doing and my website design and everything . Like, my videos are very sci-fi oriented and clearly about me going to different planets. Like, all these things collectively I’ve created sort of an alternate universe and this very visual world to go with my music. And rather than actually writing about sci-fi characters, it’s visual, it’s the hints, the fantastical elements of my music.
You have another album in the works for a fall release date. Can we continue to expect those same visual aspects?
The album will be out in September and ABSOLUTELY! There’s more of these cool sounds that I’ve been experimenting with just wrapping around my songs but still maintaining the concept that if you’ve got a good song at the core of it then you start wrapping it up in like, strings of stars or all these cool little creative things that really adds a lot of feeling and ambiance to the music. Plus, one of the things I’ve really come to embrace over the past couple of years is that I talk, really, really, really fast in real life and I wanted to embrace that in my lyrics and there’s a lot more lyrics in small spaces. I first discovered that in one of the songs in my EP ““ it’s called “Ice” and it in the bridge I talk really fast and that’s when I realized “whoa, I can sing as fast as I talk! I gotta do this more!” So there’s more of that on the record, too.
Once this new album drops, can we expect a really cool video like with some of the concepts you have going on in your mind?
Oh yeah, definitely. I’m actually a video the day after I get off Warped for the first single, “Saviour” which is track one on the record. It’s kind of a bummer that’s it’s the day I get off Warped, I’m going to look so beat, but it’s going to be really fun and the concepts are really cool.
Once all that happens, what’s next? Do you have a tour in the works?
Definitely, after Warped I’m doing a bunch of festivals everything, then I’m going out on the road with Keane in September for ten days I think and then probably an excessive tour on the record when it comes out.
If you had to play one of your songs to somebody who hasn’t heard of you before, what song would you choose to play to describe LIGHTS?
I would probably pick, at this point, I’ve never written anything that I that I don’t enjoy playing or thing isn’t a good representation of my music, however, at this point, I’d pick “Saviour” to play for somebody because it’s a little of everything I do in it. You know, cool sound, heartfelt lyrics, came from a sad place but turned it around into something hopeful and a lot of cool ambiance surrounding it and it’s going to be the next single so that’s what I would share with somebody, I think!
Why should fans come see you on Warped Tour?
Um, I think you should come check me out at because it’s a little different than what you may normally see at Warped Tour and you’ll get to see a keytar in action and it will cool you down because most of the Warped Tour dates are very hot and I sing cool things 50% of the time, haha.
Anything else to add?
I think that about covers it!
LIGHTS’ first single off of her new album hits radio today in Canada! Be sure to call and request “Saviour” if you live up there!