Canadian electro-pop sensation LIGHTS
proves that defying boundaries and staying in-tune with your creative side are the surefire keys to a vibrant career. Take 2011's Siberia
— a sweeping blend of electro buzz, playful pop melodies, and dreamy synth, all rolled up in an indie mentality and delivered with the breath of inspired fusion music's been craving. Since then, she's kept up a tireless tour schedule, contributed her rendition of Talk Talk's "Living in Another World" to the upcoming tribute album
, and has been working on a special acoustic project for an upcoming release. Here, we catch up with her about the evolution of her sound, the beauty of cross-genre music, and why it's so important to be constantly be open to new inspiration.
PureVolume: You initially began playing music on the acoustic guitar. Can you talk about your progression from the guitar to the synth, and what you began to discover with that new world of music the synth opened up?
LIGHTS: One of the moments of note that marked my introduction into the world of electronic manipulation was the day I ran my boring electric piano through a distortion pedal. With that raunchy, pounding sound I created my first "electronic" song called "Supergirl." It was very primitive, but it felt like the world was mine; like the rules were severely trimmed down.
PV: It’s kind of a beautiful fusion that you create — dirty synth and pretty pop melodies — when did it first hit you that contrast could be an incredible thing?
L: Those two very different flavors — aggression and worship-like melody — are my two favourite things about music. It only seemed natural to place them together. It was definitely a conscious decision to pair them — especially on Siberia.
PV: To you, what is the greatest joy about blending or crossing genres?
L: The best thing about blending different sounds is that you can. If you like them, put them together, manipulate each of them to work as one. Learning to work within boundaries but without limits is a finicky task but a rewarding one!
PV: Your collaboration with Holy Fuck
was definitely a cross-genre affair. Can you talk about how that collaboration helped to shape what you would continue to do with your music?
L: Brian and Graham approach music in a beautiful way. They don't create to make hits or big money, they create for creation's sake. It was an awesome atmosphere to write in. They took the music where their fingers led them. If the sound was cool, we followed it. It took us to a new place and brought this messiness to perfect synth pop — or in other terms, this sort of new life to it. At first it felt too easy, but I guess that was the first...green flag?
PV: You’ve mentioned that you’re a huge fan of metal and that you were a Warped Tour
kid. Has the thought ever crossed your mind to collaborate with a metal or punk band to create a harder, electro sound?
L: I've done guest vocals on a few of my friends' bands within heavier genres, so that somewhat satiates my appetite for metal, but that's not to say I'll NEVER take my music there. Who knows? I've learned not to assume I'm always going to be one way. In the meantime I can live vicariously through my husband [Beau Bokan]
who is on Warped Tour now with his band Blessthefall
PV: You recently played Australia for the first time. As somebody who’s been all over the world, what was unique to you about traveling and performing there?
L: It's always great to play in new territory. Sometimes the best part about it is being humbled by starting from scratch, being reminded you have to work hard and win people over. That aspect never goes away. Keeps the music alive! The culture isn't incredibly different there from over in our neck of the woods, but the reality was this was new ground for us and that felt really special. On top of that, seeing people all the way on the other side of the world that already knew some of the stuff — that was an eye opener. Sweet, sweet Internet!
PV: In the past, you've mentioned your love for fantasy and gaming. Can you talk about how — if at all — you fuse that world with the music that you make?
L: Keeping my mind young and at an arm's length from too much logic I always percieve as healthy. You have to be a dreamer with childlike faith to truly tap into your creative resources, I think. Too much of the opposite gets you second guessing yourself and fearful of taking any kind of risk. Life is too short and this industry can become too stagnant for that. You just have to have fun. Wherever you can find inspiration, welcome it in.
PV: Aside from your extensive touring, what's next for you? Any plans to start work on a new album?
L: Working on a special project that will be coming out before any new album. It involves acoustics. The rest of the year will be spent touring on Siberia. [I'll] probably start working on something new next year, if inspiration allows it!
Buy Siberia on iTunes