Juno Award-winning Canadian Pop sensation. World of Warcraft fanatic. YouTube heart-melt. Lights Army Queen. Whether she’s armed with a keytar, an acoustic or the Twin Blades of Azeroth, Lights is fighting a winning battle across the world of electro-pop and social media, showing no signs of calming her storm. On the verge of releasing her second studio record, ‘Siberia’, we caught up to talk all things gaming, dating, blogging, record-writing and the in-between before it all comes down under in the 2012.
How you doing?
I’m not too bad, just chilling here eating some Jelly Bellies.
Sweet, you know this is my first interview actually with someone other than in a hardcore band.
This is awesome! Yeah I’m looking at the description here and it says ‘Punk and Hardcore News’ and I’m like ‘yeaaaaaah!’ I’m excited to be here.
Yeah and well actually this is the first time I’ve interviewed a girl before…
No way! (Laughing) There needs to be more girls in this industry!
Nah yeah it’s true. And especially a girl I’ve had a mega internet crush on for the past while…
Well I guess what’s so appealing about you aside from your music is your persona, like, there are so many elements that make up Lights. I mean a girl that legit plays video games?! What are you favourite video games right now?
Well Warcraft has always been a pretty big one, still pretty constant. I’m trying to get away from that game I’m telling you! I’ve been on Orcarina of Time for 3DS which has actually been really fun. And, there’s this game called Order and Chaos which is kind of a Warcraft rip-off, that’s on iPad. It’s actually a great original game, it’s pretty inspiring.
Woah okay! Well I know you play WoW and stuff, do you ever find your video game experiences reflected in your music?
Yeah! You know like I think it’s an escape, I think anything that’s artistic whether it’s listening to a record that really takes you away or… Yeah that’s really why this record is such a whole. It takes you to a place, and that’s why I wrote this music. That’s the experience I get out of video games and listening to a good record. No matter what is going on in my life, like if I’m so stressed I’ll get on Warcraft and it pushes it away for a minute and it feels pretty good especially in this day and age when so much stuff is going on, you know. And not only that but it’s inspiring; to see the invention and the creativity and the talent that goes into like, the graphics and the storyline and the lore, and the structure of dungeon systems and all that, it’s just genius. So there’s nothing short of inspiration coming from anything like that.
That’s so sick. I used to play WoW for a while before it got really –
I think everyone’s drowned in WoW once they get in! I’m surprised you got out of it actually.
Well it just got so noobed down man, it’s just so easy now. It isn’t like what it was before, like I used to play pre-Lich King.
Oh so you were like B.C, Burning Crusade?
Yeah, right. But if I was still I would probably be in your guild. Yeah I know you have a guild!
Haha! You’ve gotta join if you come back, come on. I won’t stop peer pressuring you, haha.
Haha. Nah but tell us about your guild on WoW!
It was literally started by fans. It’s called Lights Guild and I was just kind of playing in the game and I just started on my own, and started meeting people in the game. And when I started going on Twitter and kind of started talking about Warcraft and my character, then people started catching on and joining in my server. And eventually they started this guild and now we’ve got three hundred plus members and there are like application forms and stuff so, we don’t do much raiding like it’s a pretty casual guild but it’s really cool that you point that out. I mean I don’t have any sway like guild-master wise, but I’m like ranked as Queen and it’s pretty sweet haha.
That’s sweet! You see I reckon this whole guild-run-by-fans thing is just one reflection of your fans’ dedication and how they really, really involve themselves –
Totally! It’s sweet! One hundred per cent, it’s a cool way to interact with people too like you just get on and people can chat with you and say ‘hi’ or something. And despite all these forms of social media – it’s a little overwhelming sometimes because I do handle so much of my social media, you know Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Youtube, everything so on Warcraft it’s literally one on one chat sometimes and it’s really nice.
That’s so sick, and I know I’ve seen from videos and stuff that that’s not the only way that they involve themselves with you. Like, lining up for meet and greets at shows, you’ve got your own fan club that make you gifts and stuff…
Yeah, it’s pretty remarkable the way that the community has really come together. And it’s a result of the way that we kind of wanted things to go. I remember when we were building that website one of the things we wanted to do was to create a community and a platform where people could all become friends and meet each other through the “common love of music” or whatever it may be, and really watching it bloom and expand is cool. Lights Army community has been so insane at each show, and that’s why I’m excited about this tour coming up I mean, you get to see it all in action and it makes you feel really good, like your music is really doing something you know?
Yeah for sure, and I guess when your Siberia dropped this month they were all pretty stoked? How’s the reaction been?
Oh man, I was so nervous. Because when you make your first record you don’t have fans, you don’t have anyone expecting something to sound a certain way. So when Siberia came out especially when I took kind of a different direction – making things a little heavier – I was nervous, my palms were sweaty, and I was like “listen I’m alive and this is the way that you should feel when you are putting your music out.” You’re not going to give people the same stuff every single time and certainly there are people that want it you know… so it was totally nerve-racking. But, with everyone, the response for Siberia has been beyond what I ever imagined. It’s crazy. It makes me so happy I’ve been over the moon for the past week since it came out.
That’s amazing, and you said that Siberia has kind of gone in a different direction; what were your biggest influences for this record compared to The Listening and previous releases?
Well, obviously over the past few years there’s been a few things that haven’t changed in my influences and my tastes. I mean one of them being, having toured The Listening for so long, it was the natural progression for the way that the songs started to sound live. Which is always a little heavier. Our shows have always been kind of like a rock show, and been a lot heavier than the way they’re heard on the record. So going back and listening to the record it’s like, “man check out how soft this is.” So that was one inclination that was already naturally going to happen on this second record. And then I started listening to a lot of heavier, heavier stuff. And I’ve always kind of been into that stuff because before I got into pop I was like in a punk, a pop/punk band and like a metal band so I was testing the waves a little later. But progression has always been going sort of a little darker: I started listening to Crystal Castles and some pop a lot more. Even like dub-step started to inspire me just because of the dark, gritty half-time elements and it’s actually pretty sparse, there’s not a lot going on. But it’s like groovy, hard electro and I thought “this is really cool, how can I marry these with my like soft melodies and stuff” and that was the natural direction that the record started to take. And then I brought in Holy Fuck to kind of grate everything up and that was just a collaboration from heaven, it was the perfect timing and the perfect people in the same room and it just worked so naturally and so cool.
Sweet, and in Australia I know that this will be out in October at the end of this month.
Yeah, but you’ve put out a whole bunch of records before this but NONE in our country yet. What’s going on with that man where’s the love?
I know, that’s what I question! Actually, you’d be surprised to see how many emails I send out like “when are we going to be releasing in Australia?!” Haha. But, you see there are a lot more politics and stuff involved in it, which there was, which has been plagued for years even with just getting this record out. So I’m just so thankful that I’ve even been able to get it out. But luckily now we are finally getting stuff out over there. I’m hopefully coming next year.
Yeah that’s totally cool. I guess although you haven’t had a huge amount of press around here the internet has done a lot of work in your sleep. Like, with your own youtube blog and stuff.
Totally! Totally, that’s the amazing thing about being able to be so active on social media and that’s where I think it all comes into play. Like I’m starting to see fans pop up in countries I’ve never even thought of – I’m still waiting to see a fan from Siberia but that will come haha. But like even when I first started playing in the States I had no record label there, like we’d go down and the people coming to shows were purely there based on finding me on the internet, finding music on the internet. And that’s just been such a blessing to me, especially having built up this great community online. So I’m hoping that it’s starting to happen over there.
That’s so sweet, and you know it’s sick that you’ve been doing your blog, and even though you’ve been so busy you’ve kept updating it.
Yeah I think it’s super important. Yeah I used to do a lot more video blogs, like it was a bit less, a bit less hectic and I had more time to kind of weird out and just hang out. Also, like your humour starts to change and the things that you want to show people start to change so the blogs are being evolved just like my music and I have. But I’m gonna keep doing them, like I put up a video blog, I put one up the other day and I have this like little, crappy flipcam and I put it on my Mac and you press the file down and it gets uploaded really quickly. And people are all complaining ‘cus it’s too low quality but they didn’t complain when I first started! You know I think people are just getting spoiled haha! …With good quality and blu-ray and all this stuff, it’ll be the death of me.
Nah! You know I’ve seen heaps of people commenting being all like you know, “I love um, I love how it’s kind of like dodgey quality ‘cus it’s just really raw and I can experience Lights.” And I’ve seen comments like that and I’ve been like “that’s cool”.
That’s the way I feel about it too! C’mon, it’s like “get real!”
Yeah! But seriously though –
And then when you give them something that’s like good quality they’re like “ahhh you sold out!” Like, “remember when your videos were all crappy?!” haha.
That’s right so you just gotta stick it old school, do it how you’ve always done it. But yeah I’ve actually got my own food blog that I kinda chow down with cool people on. Like mainly dudes in bands I like that come down here. We should definitely do a bite when you’re in Sydney.
Oh cool! That’s awesome, yeah I’m in that sounds so fun!
Yeah, just because I’ve seen you’ve done a whole bunch of collabs with like, Ten Second Epic, Silverstein, Bring Me The Horizon, Epic Meal Time… what’s been the most memorable experience for you?
Everything’s cool I mean, the greatest thing about every collaboration I’ve taken part in is that they’re all friends. Everyone, we work together because we’re friends and we have each other, we support each other, and that’s the way it should be. It’s none of these like, prescribed-by-record-labels kind of collaborations, and that’s why the collaboration with Holy Fuck worked out, that’s how it was with Bring Me The Horizon. I met those guys randomly a few years ago when we were both stranded in Rhode Island and we just kind of started talking and they started asking me via Facebook to be part of the record. And Ten Second Epic, man they used to tour into my small town and I used to go to local shows and I met them then, and we’ve been talking ever since and been close friends. Silverstein as well, it’s all just purely because we know each other and it’s this community of… you gotta support each other, you know!
And you’ve got all these boy bands and boy youtubers that are champing at the bit to be involved with you somehow but now I heard a little rumour that someone has really got a ring on you! …Bless the Fall dude?
Hahahahaha. Uhhh, yeah! It’s actually true.
Well now that the secret’s out I’m sure there are a whole lot of heartbroken dudes out there… but that’s cool, I know Siberia is and will be raising spirits everywhere and when you get here next year you’ll be making a storm.
Hahaha. Oh thank you, that means a lot. I can’t wait, I seriously can’t wait.
So having said that are there any final words you have for your Australian fans before you get here?
I have no idea, but all I know is that I’ve wanted to come forever and I mean, I know lots of my friends’ bands that have come down there and played and it’s like this, ‘mystical land of great shows and good looking people’ so I can’t wait.